Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Save the Landreth's!

When I started training for triathlon in the winter of 2006, I went to my local RoadRunner sports and hopped on their magic foot analyzing machine. I'm pretty sure I didn't run on it the way I normally run, but it spit out that I needed a "neutral" shoe, and the helpful sales girl put me in the 2007 Asics Landreth 3. I did not know it at the time, but this would end up being my favorite running shoe. I ran in the Landreth 3 all winter, and raced in it all through the 2007 season. I probably put 1000 miles on the shoes - which is NOT recommended by anyone who knows about running footwear. When they finally bit the bullet, I went back to RoadRunner to pick up a new pair. I was told that the shoe was discontinued, and that Asics was notorious for that, and they put me in the "replacement" shoe - the Asics Cumulus 10.
My first run in the Cumulus 10 was disappointing, the shoes felt clunky. Heavy. After three months of running in them I had shin splints, a severe ankle problem, and knee pain. I hated those f'ing shoes.
I decided that Asics wasn't going to work for me if they discontinue their shoes that often, and that RoadRunner maybe wasn't as trustworthy as I thought. I went to a local high end running "institute" and got an evaluation. They also determined that a neutral shoe is right for me, and put me into a pair of Brooks Ghost, which are strange. They have weird posts on the forefoot, but I ended up liking them. I did Ironman in them, and have probably put 1000 miles on those as well - they are completely worn out right now.
I was dreading finding a new shoe, and started doing some research. I discovered that the Landreth line of shoes had NOT been discontinued like RoadRunner had told me. In fact, there was a Landreth 4 that was created in 2008 and a Landreth 5 for 2009. Fantastic! I was floating on cloud 9.... for about 2 minutes. Then I read more about the Landreth series of shoes. It turns out that my favorite shoe, the Landreth 3, was a stark departure from the Landreth 2 - and was quite unpopular. L3 was 20% lighter than L2, and the thin cushioning made most people hate it. So L4 got more cushion, and a complete re-design of the upper part of the shoe - and it gained weight. L5 was another huge change from L4, and again it gained weight. The weights are hard to verify, but the best info I can get (from Asics web site) says:
Landreth 2: 10.6 oz
Landreth 3: 8.5 oz
Landreth 4: 11.3 oz
Landreth 5: 11.9 oz
Cumulus 10: 11.8 oz

So the light neutral shoe I loved in the L3, has morphed into the same nearly 12 oz piece of crap that I hated and injured me in the Landreth 5. Eff me!
I looked online, and while some stores showed the Landreth 3 in the catalog, none of them had them in stock. I finally ebay'd the last 3 pairs in my size on the planet (possibly exaggerating this) which you can see here - next to my original beloved pair.

Good news is that I have about 18 months of happy feet in the nearly extinct Landreth 3's! The bad news is that 18 months from now, you'll have to read about how miserable I am that I need to go shopping for running shoes again.


live better said...

I heard that Asics has a reputation for discontinuing a model of shoe and/or changing it to the next version which is not like the previous one in the series. I have been running in new Balance for years and the last time I went to the local running store they talked me into a pair of Asics Gel-Fortitude 3. So far I like them but I worry I will not be able to buy another pair when these wear out.

Anonymous said...

Landreth is my favorite shoe. The Landreth 1 and 2 were the best. I also like the new Landreth 7 but for me the only version I hated was the Landreth 3. It was terrible. Oh well.