Awful Choices: Numb Feet, No Grip, or No Cushioning

Three weeks ago I wrote that my then new one-week old NB shoes were still giving me troubles. I figured I just needed to break them in a little more. Well, 150+ km later, my feet are still going numb after an hour of easy running. Both feet are going numb. I’ve concluded that they are too narrow for my feet. I was so looking forward to the lightness and grip (and “happy” colours) for the upcoming race.

But with an expected 12 hours on my feet, numb feet is not something I would even contemplate.


So since I don’t have time to break in another pair of shoes, I will have to go with an older pair for Saturday’s race. My choices are my Asics road shoes and my Pearl Isumi trail shoes. Both have well over 800 km on them, maybe 1000 km, and both are severely lacking in grip. If the trail is dry they might have sufficient grip, but will definitely be short on cushioning. The trail is very rocky so the cushioning would be very nice.

Thicker socks? Backup socks? Band aids for blisters? Insoles? Grin and bear it?


(Here’s my initial grumblings of the NB shoes after a few days of use.)

Author: Kevin

Just a trail runner in Calgary and beyond

6 thoughts on “Awful Choices: Numb Feet, No Grip, or No Cushioning”

  1. Bummer on the shoes! But I wouldn’t run with tight shoes either. I’d take both older pairs, and put one pair in your drop bag so you can switch mid-race if you need to. And extra socks.

    My experience is that thicker socks don’t provide any extra comfort. And they retain more moisture, especially when crossing creeks/swamps. And your feet will swell late in the race, which could make things tight. So if you want cushioning, I suggest new insoles. You can get them at any running store and trim them to fit. They work well for me.

    Also – this is a bit of a longshot, but I’ve heard stories of people wearing brand new Hokas to ultras and doing fine. I will say my pair was very comfortable from the start, although they have a couple of hot spots, so I tape my toes in those areas. They’re also good on rocks.

    Good luck on Saturday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a tough issue to resolve. As a straight road runner, shoe choice is important for me – but it must be absolutely critical for a trail runner. I’d go with the Pearl Izumi on the basis that although they might have a few km under their belt and might not be as resilient as when they were young, they are probably sure to not be disastrous. You know they must be at least OK. I’d put those New Balance shoes in the charity bin now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I ran in the road shoes this afternoon and I will try out the izumi shoes too one more time before Saturday. I think it will work out one way or the other.


  3. Sounds like they are not the right size? I was always told if a shoe fits properly you do not have to “break them in” and they should fit like a glove. That’s my motto for trying new shoes. You know when you put them on 🙂 Good luck with your race this weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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