During my last 5K, I couldn’t help but notice the number of people jumping nimbly about in their racing flats and/or trainers. It honestly made me feel a little underdressed. Sort of like going to a black dress cocktail hour that you thought was a costume party. Suddenly your pregnant hobo costume is not as much fun when people are laughing AT you rather than WITH you. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t lacing up any Converse All Stars or anything. In fact, I even wore a wicking shirt! Although, I still had cotton basketball shorts on – fail. It got me thinking about the possibility of getting a pair of racing flats or trainers.
Racing flats or trainers are shoes that have been stripped of padding that would normally be used for longer distances. As a result, these shoes are lighter and a bit less supportive to run in. Since I’m a numbers guy, I tried to find out exactly how much I would be gaining from spending the $100 for a racing only pair of shoes. Of course, I found a lot of “it depends”, but one source said that you gain 1 second per mile per ounce. So, my shoes weigh 15oz and the trainers that I am looking at weigh 10 oz. During a 5K, that’d be a savings of around 16 seconds. 30 seconds saved on a 10k. Hmm.
The problem is that it seems really wasteful to spend $100 on shoes that I can only wear a few times a month / year. I suppose that I could wear them during fast training, but since they are far less supportive, I’d hate to get hurt during training.
I don’t consider myself a fast runner. I’m faster than some, but certainly not fast enough to necessitate all sorts of expensive “gear”. So, the real question is – how fast is fast enough (to justify buying racing shoes)? For the runners out there – what are your thoughts? Do you wear racing flats or trainers? (Especially if you have mild pronation.)