13 December 2013

road review: nike shox turbo oz

i bet that emil zatopek never tried to run in high heels.

given my love for second-hand shopping, and the fact that i believe only one or two pairs of shoes currently part of my training rotation are winter-worthy (remember, i'll be facing 10-20cm of snow quite regularly and -15°C to -25°C over the next few months), i found a pair of nike shox turbo oz at the local goodwill store on 50% off footwear day.
(left side, top to bottom:  adidas trainers of some sort, skora phase, skechers gorun 2, inov-8 bare-x 180
right side, top to bottom:  asics gel galaxy 4, merrell road glove, new balance 1400v2)

while feeling like a bit of a traitor to the cause of minimalist runners everywhere, i decided to add these shoes to my repertoire.  as a bit of a spoiler, i've run once in the nike shox and decided to retire them to my local running free shoe re-use program drop-off box.  i recognize that this may feel like pronouncing a premature judgment on these shoes (after only about 10k) but allow me to still flesh out the pros and cons leading to this short and torrid relationship.
  • fit - having previously worked several years with nike, i've almost always had to go to a size 10.5 for a proper fit.  these shox turbo oz were a size 10, and to my surprise they fit fantastically, both in terms of length and toebox width.  it may have been that their previous owner(s) had stretched the synthetic leather out a bit, but it didn't appear as if there were significant stress marks on them.
  • upper construction - it appears that they have a fairly resilient synthetic leather upper that while not being weatherproof will provide a better-than-average barrier against the cold and snow/slush.  they also have enough protection to not get immediately beat-up by the copious amounts of road salt that the city lays down around here.
  • outsole design and traction - the semi-knobby look of the forefoot (reading:  landing) pad on the shox turbo oz leads me to believe that they would provide sufficient grip on the wintery roads.

  • weight - ok, here's where things start to go south.  these bad boys tip the kitchen scale at a whopping 13 oz.  by comparison my next heaviest pair of shoes (the asics gel galaxy 4) are a mere 11 oz.  add to that the collection of snow/slush/ice that can sneak into the shox plate area, and now i'm definitely giving zatopek a run for his money.
  • heel-to-toe drop - you probably don't have guess very hard at where i'm going with this comment.  dominic grossman at irunfar.com says in a passing comment that the nike shox turbo exceeds a drop differential of 15mm.  jinkies!  this totally made for an almost debilitating experience for me - with every forefoot strike it felt like my foot was prevented from actually dynamically compressing the way that it should on impact because of the ramp effect.  it could have been that as more forefoot was landing and sinking somewhat into the snow that the heel/shox plate was not depressing into the snow to an equal extent, exaggerating the degree of incline.  afterwards my calves were killing in a way that they hadn't since i first transitioned to forefoot striking ... honestly, it was like running in a combination of high-heeled platforms and jump-training shoes.

  • shox technology - even when i deliberately tried landing on my heel to alleviate some of the excess (and static) pressure on my forefoot, the shox absorption unit provided me with the sensation that it was encouraging/forcing my feet to pronate excessively.  it was a nasty feeling.
all told, i have to chalk this up as being perhaps the worst $6.00 that i've spent on running gear.  i have no problem mixing up the styles of my running shoes, but this turned out to be just a bit too extreme.  as much as i still feel some allegiances to my former employer, i have to give these shoes a measly two footprints out of five.

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