Saucony changed their philosophy on how they design and develop shoe lines. They've dropped the distance between the heel and the toe on many of the most popular models to better mimic the minimalist/barefoot running experience. Sure, the shoes may have quite a bit more cushioning than actual minimalist or barefoot shoes, but the change in the drop of the heel to toe is still pretty radical in the grand scheme of running shoes. And, unfortunately for me, I think I need to be radically traditional when it comes to running shoes.
Truthfully, I love how the new philosophy has manifested itself in Saucony shoes. I ran a half marathon in Kinvara 3s on Thanksgiving weekend and my feet felt great all 13.1 of the miles I travelled. But with the realization that even mock minimalist/barefoot running isn't for everyone I believe I'm going back to shoes with more of a heel to toe drop than less.
The question is which shoes should I use? Here are a few candidates:
Asics Gel-Kayano 19
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10mm
Price (as of 1/4/13): $134.95
Comments: Asics has been releasing some really fun and colorful looking shoes recently. The Kayanos in this picture are one of the more tame color schemes, in fact. I also loved my old Gel-Cumulus shoes, but one of the updates was too radical of a change and they didn't agree with me so I had to turn elsewhere (hey there, Saucony). The heel-to-toe drop isn't ridiculously high or low at 10mm and they're not too heavy, so they may make a good choice for a full-featured, full-foot supporting running shoe. The big drawback? The price. $134.95? Yikes. Even the latest model of the Cumulus is up to $110.
Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 14mm
Comments: The heaviest of the candidates and with an insanely high heel-to-toe drop of 14mm. It'd be like running with wedge under your heel I'd imagine. However, it offers a tremendous amount of support so maybe it'd be the shoe that offers someone like me the lowest risk of foot injury?
Saucony Hurricane 14
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
Comments: I have to have at least one from Saucony in here. I have some experience with older versions of the Hurricane and wasn't really impressed. The shoes I tried made me feel like I was running through mud when I wore them. But that's been a few years now, so who knows. This shoe has the lowest drop, which may or may not benefit me for what I want to do, and it's by far the least expensive of the candidates. However, it's only as cheap as it is because it's an endangered shoe with the release of the Hurricane 15 imminent. And who knows what that model will be like. Also, the new model will be $129.95. That's not really a bargain.
Summary: I'm still a couple weeks away from fully recovering from injury and returning to running, but I'm very seriously considering giving Asics shoes another try. I need to scrape some pennies up though, because that price tag... whew.