Most helpful positive review
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
It's Gotta be the Shoes!
on December 13, 2010
First - I was pretty skeptical about this or any other new-fad shoe design but was looking for something (anything) to try other than the standard shoes I have been running in for years.
Quick background - I starting running for fitness and the challenge about 3 years ago, namely distances of 5 miles plus. It started as way to lose the excess 35 lbs I had gained over some years and then became about the mental challenge of pursuing a goal - to run a full marathon. Long story short, I lost all the weight, got in shape and ran my first full marathon (first race / organized run ever actually) 3 years ago. I quickly learned that my right knee is plagued by ITBS - Inter-Tibial Band Syndrome. It basically (for me) causes the tendon running from your hip to your knee to swell and then inhibits the knee's bending while causing extreme pain over distance or continuous impact running...as confirmed last year with my 2nd Marathon where my knee "locked" up at mile 18...that last 8 miles with a knee brace and hobbling was almost enough to end my running right there.
I don't concede easily and after buying all of the high-end top name shoes, treadmill video gait checks, correcting my stride, fixing my form, trying the "barefoot" five-fingers for awhile trail running (natural) and wearing a knee brace - after a 16 mile run my knee just quits on me. From core-strengthening, to yoga to hip-flexor strengthening exercises too with cross-training, nothing helped at all.
I saw an ad for these some time ago and knew a couple of people who had them, but never really gave it another thought. 2 weeks out from this year's Marathon, I decided to give them a go...what do I have to lose. Ordered the Zig Energy (trust me - confusing, I know...the different type are generally just different materials...some for toning, some for running, etc; the soles all appear to be the same) and literally only put 30 mins on a treadmill for a quick hot-spot / fit check and another 6 miles outside when I ran out of run time that day. That was it for "break-in".
So, the final test: I did what I know better and tried something new on Race Day & ran my 3rd Full Marathon in Italy 2 weeks ago in them, untested (fully). It was cold and raining all day while I racked up the miles waiting for the 16 mile mark and imminent knee failure. 17 miles. 18 miles....no knee pain at ALL. Picked up the pace - 21, 22...these shoes are AMAZING! Ran my fastest Marathon time ever (03:44 - a PR for me at least!) on wet, cobblestone roads for 26.2 miles absolutely pain free for my first distance run ever. I am sold, no kidding, no BS. Works as advertised.
A few notes: The fit is right...I have a Wide Foot, but generally would wear an 8.5E (XW)...they didn't have it so I opted for the 9D (US size) and it fit perfectly. I worried about foot swell over distance (causing pain and blisters in the "toe-box" in narrow shoes), but while it did get snug, I didn't get a single blister or hot spot (seamless upper too helped I'm sure). I DID however due to foot lengthening / impact get 3 black toenails (impact blood blisters under the nail itself - they are lost after awhile). I have experienced this in boots and many other shoes as well...distance running just can cause this without a perfectly matched shoes tried and tested. I wore some high-end socks that I trained in for running and had no pain overall.
For Runners: Your foot-strike...this is designed to be a heel-strike shoe, FYI. I had to re-learn how to "improperly" run again after months of training otherwise (mid-fore foot). I kept my stride and gait about the same, but forced heel first impact unless I was passing other runners with some speed. It's it the design and again - regardless - it works. The only thing for me I significantly changed over 3 years, and it really works.
I have already ordered others for friends and passed the word to everyone I know. I want to find some for my kids too for Xmas...as trendy as they may seem, you can customize them completely in any color mix and even put your name on them (through Reebok for extra $$). I will be ordering a less flashy pair (black) for work as the black and bright yellow stands out a bit too much post marathon attire.
I am a dedicated customer and when a company makes something true to its claims and serves me well, I spread business by word of mouth (it goes both ways though!).
Buy them - you won't regret it. Read the other reviews - I did and had them proven correct.