I must say that I have been surprised by the resiliency of these 13 little clouds. They look so simple in design that I half expected them to deteriorate quickly. I mean, they are the only things touching the ground so they should be expected to wear out rapidly, right? The answer is no. There is a little sketch of a cloud on each of the individual clouds. They are all still as visible on mile 100 as they were coming out of the box. If I actually cleaned my shoes up a bit, it would be darn near impossible to tell the wear and miles logged.
While I will admit that I am not a “technical” person by nature (i.e. if I feel comfortable in shoes/clothing/gear, the measurements are of less concern to me), I imagine that this feat has something to do with their shoe technology promising to transform the momentum from the stride and strike and balance it out over the entirety of the shoe, all while providing a cushion. Whatever it is, I can’t imagine that these shoes are going to wear out any quicker than a typical pair of running shoes.
2. I am a heel-striker. Bad. All of my Dress shoes are worn through in the heel. Will the back two heel clouds be diminished to nothing in the blink of an eye?
The answer to this initial concern was addressed a little in #1. None of the clouds are worn out, not even wear that my old running shoes typically start showing right about now.
I should probably make clear that the clouds, especially those 9 in the front, are becoming more flexible. When I first received the shoes, those were stiff and I couldn’t really push them in. However, they now are malleable enough to push together. I believe this is normal and expected, as what would be expected from 180 pounds of man striking the ground thousands of time, over and over?
This flexibility in the front clouds has had no effect on my running as far as I can tell. I didn’t even notice until I started writing this and did a once over them. The back 4 clouds are still strong and as rigid as day 1, which really surprised me due to my heelstriking tendencies. I feel that they must be constructed in a way to keep me moving forward more than I normally do and transfer the energy across the entirety of the shoe instead of on the heel.
3. I really don’t want to feel like I am bouncing along the road instead of feeling like I am actually running on road.
Putting these shoes on for the first time honestly did not feel like as much of a change as I anticipated. I remember at my first run in these shoes at the Cascade Half Marathon, I was very conscious of the way they felt on my feet pre-race. I was convinced I was going to be doing nothing on the 13.1 mile course but thinking about how different they felt on my feet. HOWEVER, this never happened. I forgot that I was even wearing new shoes until I was nearing the finish line. My feet and knees felt good, I felt I was propelling forward a little more than usual, though the difference is imperceptible when running and focused elsewhere. I don’t want to give the impression that the shoes were launching me forward and throwing off my stride – the forward momentum is small and welcome.
There has been no feelings of bouncing or concerns about not being able to “feel” the road. When I run, I don’t think about my shoes – which is how I think it should be.
4. I am worried that with a limited amount of surface area touching the pavement, I am going to struggle with grip in wet conditions. That would not be good for a runner in the Pacific Northwest…
I will admit that the wet pavement at the Cascade Half did led me to take turns a little more gingerly than I otherwise would have. During that race, it felt there were a few “mini-slips”, where I felt that traction was not all that it could be. While I initially expected this to be an ongoing concern, after a lot of wet runs, this is not even on my mind anymore. I am chalking up those first run “slips” to the fact that I literally had brand new shoes with brand new rubber clouds. Now that they have been worked in, all is well.
5. Will I be able to run on all terrains in these shoes? Those clouds look like they could be a magnet for rocks and pebbles…
I have done runs on a myriad of terrain in these shoes: pavement, trail, sand, gravel/dirt, and even some mini-scrambling mountain sections complete with ideal rock-wedging capabilities. End result = not a single rock finding their way into, or between, the clouds. Success.
Stay tuned for a future follow-up on these shoes and how they treated me over the upcoming months! If you want a pair of your own, they are available at Fit Right and Road Runner Sports stores.
Total shoe miles in January = 48
Total shoe miles in February = 100
Total shoe miles in March = 18