Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shhh...

Impatience trumped frugality and I couldn't wait for my Brooks ID discount in order to try this new shoe. Besides, it was quite different from what I normally run in so I needed to try them on first. Green Silence: the name sounds like a super hero--some sort eco-ninja perhaps. The shoe's name comes from the post-consumer and biodegradable material used in its construction. While I'm probably one of the last to jump on the whole "green" bandwagon, something about these shoes attracted me and I'd been anticipating their arrival since I'd first learned of them.

I have odd-shaped feet, but Brook's Adrenaline shoes in EE width seem to accommodate my overly wide forefoot with mismatched, narrow heel. I was skeptical about trying a shoe that didn't come in width sizing. I was pleasantly surprised. Going up a half-size in order to compensate for width has, in past, resulted in slippage either just in the back or of my whole foot within the shoe. However, the unique design and lacing pattern of the Green Silence seemed to wrap my foot and eliminate the slipping. There was also an extra eye-hole to help secure my heel. Happy with the fit, I made the purchase. Thanks Don and Gillian!

Of course, the real test would be on the run. The soles of these shoes are almost completely flat so their use would be relegated to roads and relatively smooth trails. My plan for the day called for 4 miles of road and 6 on soft dirt and gravel paths. I was happy to find that my custom orthotics fit the shoes just fine without altering their extremely light and flexible they feel. Overall, the shoes performed great and I experienced no pain in either my feet or joints during the run. This was especially surprising because previous attempts to use a more neutral shoe caused some knee pain on my right side.

For someone used to a "support" shoe, it seems a little strange that this "racing flat" would work better than a shoe which originated as a spin off of my usual model. I haven't run enough in these to come to any solid conclusions, but I believe it has to do with the midsole height. The Green Silence has the lowest midsole (18mm heel, 10mm toe) as well as the smallest heel-to-toe ratio (8mm offset) of any shoe in Brook's line. Though I have no science to back this up, its possible this low-to-the-ground design doesn't give my foot as much space to overpronate through its range of motion. Having less cushioning also keeps me from striking too hard on my heel. It felt a little bit like barefoot running.

I've done a bit of barefoot running and also used the Vibram Fivefingers in the past. While nice training tools, I doubt I will ever dispense with my trusted running shoes. Going barefoot does help toughen the feet and works all those supporting muscles. However, when I run sans shoes for more than 5-6 miles or for a few days in a row, my calves become incredibly tight. It's possible that I just need to build up more slowly, but my training is so time-limited as it is that I don't need any more reasons to limit my mileage. With the Green Silence I felt similar to how I feel after about 3-4 miles running barefoot when, actually, I'd run much longer than that.

In the end, I guess that one fact pretty much says it all: I had planned only 10 miles for the day, but ran more than 12 simply because it felt good and I wanted to keep going.


4 comments:

Doin the Math said...

Great review! Thanks!

Boris T. said...

Nice review.

Sydney Harbour Cruise said...

interesting post!

olga said...

I was thinking about this shoe. May be I'll shed a few bucks...