Not all shoes are created equal. I used to look for shoes with the most support and the latest and greatest gimmicky thing. That is, until the hub did a lot of research (as he does with everything) on shoes and running and found that "barefoot running" was the way to go. Now, I wouldn't actually go running barefoot, but the thought behind it makes so much sense. If you are interested in reading more about the study of barefoot running, here is an excellent read: Barefoot Running.
Ever since I decided to switch to a different style of running and a different style of shoe, my athletic life has changed completely! My first pair of "minimalist" shoes were my Nike Frees. They were so super comfortable from the first second I slipped my foot into them. It's like walking around barefoot! Well, more like walking around in socks. All you need on your feet while running is a protective barrier between you and nasty stuff on the ground (i.e. rocks, thorns, hot dirt/asphalt, etc.).
At first, my calves and the muscles in my feet/ankles were dead. They were so tight and so sore for about a week. Reason being, I wasn't used to running on my toes/midfoot. These muscles hadn't really been used in such a way. Once the hubby switched his stride up, his shin splints even went away! Heel striking while running is very hard on your joints. When you run on the balls of your feet, your muscles absorb much more of the impact than your joints do.
I loved my first pair of Nike Frees so much that I went and bought a second pair, of the exact same shoe, in all black so I could wear them to work! I choose them over all the other shoes in my closet because they are so comfortable.
Most recently I bought a pair of Merrell Run Pace Glove 2s. As much as I loved my Nikes, they just were not good on the trails. The tread is not conducive to hiking and going up and down slick rocks. My new Merrells on the other hand are A-MAZING! The tread on the toes allows me to go up and down slick rocks with minimal effort. They are my new favorite shoes. They are well worth the investment.
After wearing my new minimalist shoes I attempted to go back to my old tennis shoes. BAD idea! They hurt my feet just to wear around the house. I am forever a fan of minimalist shoes.
See you on the trails!