Love at First Try
I am smitten. And cutting right to the chase, here are the big takeaways from my first run in the all-new Saucony Hattori minimalist running shoe:
- Hit the ground and I took off… flying!
- The road – I feel like I am all but barefoot.
- More nimble, lighter on my feet.
- I keep going faster.
- No socks. No hot spots. No blisters.
- I don’t want to stop.
- My calves – yes, they’ll be “talking” to me later.
- Did I mention I am faster?!
I LOVE my Saucony Hattoris! And I can’t wait to lace them up again. Rather, make that wiggle my feet in and secure the velcro straps. These minimalist shoes are minimal all around: fabric, sole, and weight. They fit like a glove. At 3.8 ounces for the women’s (I’ve worn heavier flip-flops) and a zero heel-to-toe drop, you’re darn close to ground level. A thin, and what initially promises to be durable, well-tractioned sole protects you. Plus, these shoes have some pizzazz on the style front. All around, I am tickled pink with my black & pink Hattoris.
Listen for the Buzz
The running world is buzzing about the Saucony Hattori. The shoe officially hits store shelves on May 1st (although a quick call to the Marathon Sports Boston store proves you can snag a pair now). A Boston Marathon Expo early release landed them on my feet. Getting Saucony’s personal lowdown on minimalist running and valuable consultation from the development team, I zeroed in on the Hattori.
Full disclosure: I have a predisposition to really want to like the Hattori. I am a huge fan of Saucony. They’ve been my go-to running shoe for years. And now, with one year of natural running under my belt with Newton (of which I remain a big fan), I am taking my natural running to the next step, going even more minimalist with the Hattori. In fact, I’ll likely regularly cross-train in both the Newton and Saucony Hattori. Loyalties aside, my goal is to remain objective as any running shoe over time may or may not work for me.
Enough said. “Run Smart” – that is the mantra when it comes to minimalist/natural running. Team Saucony preaches it. Team Newton preaches it. You can injure yourself. It’s a running style and shoe you have to transition into. And it’s not for everyone.
So, how “smart” was I in my Hattoris? Well… as smart as I could be. I wrestled with serious temptation to just keep running. I was giddy, smiling ear-to-ear, loving – loving - the feel of running almost barefoot. It was so easy to pick up my pace. And I am not about speed. But shaving 1-1/2 minutes off my average mile first time out – WOW! I haven’t run that fast in a looong time (injured knee). I was having an unbelievable run. It was so very tempting to keep going and not do the shoe-switcheroo mid-run.
I finally heeded the mantra – and my sensibilities to not push my healing knee too far – and switched out about four miles in. Probably should have done so at two miles. I was forewarned that my calves would be sore. Indeed. Sore when I switched out and even more so in the following hours. Nothing that some restorative yoga didn’t help alleviate. (You might recall from previous blogs that natural running and restorative yoga have been key in helping me recover from a knee injury.)
Needless to say, I am initially very impressed and pleased with the performance and comfort of the Saucony Hattori. I am landing midfoot/forefoot. Team Saucony said if I landed on my heel, I wouldn’t want to keep doing so. They were right. For a few strides I consciously tried out some heel strikes. Was rather uncomfortable – unnatural – to do so. Simply more easy and natural to have the desired midfoot/forefoot stride in the Hattori.
A Marathon vs a Sprint
You’ve likely heard variations of the “sprint/marathon” phrase, and I’ll apply my version here: if there is one thing I have learned as I continue to perfect my minimalist/natural running style, is that it’s not a sprint, but a marathon. Need to log more miles to see how the Saucony Hattori ultimately plays out for me. I am taking it one run at a time. And loving it!