Runners are more loyal to their shoe brand than their alma mater. Seriously, how much money do you spend per year on a particular running shoe while wholesale ignoring the repeated high-gloss mailings begging for a small annual contribution? Sure, you may root for them on Fall Saturdays and even be lucky enough to have a basketball team worth its salt and therefore extend the spectating season until March, but no check is sent off to the College of Fancy Letters or the School of Legoeering. Yet, without fail, around every 250 to 500 miles the same brand gets another donation. And I am no exception.
Which is why, when the outstanding folks at Online Shoes give me the opportunity to road test a new pair of shoes—any brand of shoes my wild little heart desired—I elected to test a pair of the bard I know and love so well…Asics. I always alternate between a pair of the 2100 series (that is, until they elected to eliminate the series and/or rename it) and either the Nimbus or the Gel-Kayano. I rotated to the new Gel-Kayano 19. This Gel-Kayanos are a little sturdier than the 2100 series, with added cushioning and a slightly different lace wrap.
Like all new pairs of shoes, I break them in easily with a few easy 3 to 5 mile runs. But you never really know a pair of shoes until you take them out for some speed work. So, after several comfortable easy runs totaling around 20 miles I gave the new pair, the Grey Starks as I’ve named them, a go on a six mile tempo run. And, because the running gods are aware that no running kindness (the ability to try out a new pair of awesome Men’s Asics shoes for free) goes unnoticed, they elected to infuse my run with a combination of rain turning into sleet which turned into hail. Yep, little frozen balls of water hurtling down from the skies in an attempt to strike you with sufficient force as to produce an audible thwacking sound. This meant quickly deteriorating running surface conditions during a speed workout. Ugh!
But the Gel-Kayanos were superb. They handled the rapidly changing conditions and I was able to pull off my best tempo run of the training cycle. Best of all, as I finished my last mile the clouds broke and the setting sun shone triumphantly down upon me. No joke, Michigan weather is just that stupid.
What I feel makes the Gel-Kayanos such an excellent running shoe is its ability to take a severe beating while still delivering comfort with every foot strike. This is something I never felt about my Saucony Kinvaras. And so, a speed workout done and the Gel-Kayanos having proven themselves, I look forward to the remainder of my training cycle with my Grey Starks.