Spartan Race

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spira Striker Review

Let me first say two things before I get into the details about this shoe. First, I like quirky shoes - I've been running in a combination of Mizuno Wave Nirvanas and Wave Creations for about as long as Mizuno has been making them. Second, I wanted to like this shoe. The concept (mechanical spring in lieu of foam or plastic or gel in the sole) seemed to make good sense. As I am never really in danger of slipping up and winning a race, I didn't really think that the USATF's ban on spring loaded devices would really have much of an impact on me. I'd seen the Spira's at few different races, most notably the Disney Endurance series, and thought I'd give them a try.
I bought a pair of the Spira SRS 111 Striker Performance Runners with the hopes that they might become my new shoe. I have no complaints with the quality of the shoe. The sole is well made, and I believe Spira's claim that the spring will outlast the shoe. The upper is fairly detailed and seems well tailored. It did not, however, work very well for my particular foot. For whatever reason, the sides seem to come up too far around my ankle. I also found the toe box a bit cramped. The shoes were a little hard to get in to as well.
I used them on several training runs, and, frankly, they just didn't work for me. I have heard folks complain that the springs hurt their feet, which wasn't at all the case for me on a 12 mile run. What did happen, however, was that my hamstrings and glutes got tired very quickly compared to normal, and were also sore the next day.
I'm not sure what to make of the purported energy return. They felt pretty much like regular shoes most of the time. I think they were actually working, but my hamstrings and glutes were somehow cancelling them out - hence the fatigue and soreness. Every once in a while though, particularly on a downhill, it did seem like their was a little something extra in my step. I found myself altering my running style quite a bit while I was wearing them to try to get the spring back. Every once in a while I'd be successful, but I think there is a fairly steep learning curve associated with these shoes. My experiemce reminded me of the articles I've read about people in the early stages of learning how to run barefoot.
In a nutshell, I have a feeling that this is the type of shoe that one has to run in for a while, maybe even altering their stride, in order reap benefits from. The energy return felt really good when I hit it just right, but it was an infrequent thing for my running style. At this point, I'm not willing to change my stride (to be totally frank, largely because of the uncomfortable uppers rather than the weird soles). I'm going to stick with my Mizunos, but I'll probably try them again later in the spring.

1 comment:

  1. My Spira shoe spring broke early on in my use. The shoe squeeked loudly. BE WARNED The company would not stand behind it's product that had a manufacturing defect.