New Shoes: Karhu

Twitter is bad for my blogging. I’ve gotten into the habit of posting little things to Twitter as they happen — in 140 characters or less, of course — instead of telling the tale in paragraph form. This is perhaps a good thing. I tend to ramble and my life isn’t necessarily thrilling…how much does everyone really need to hear about my kid? My training (or lack thereof)? Did I mention the kid? I have a really cute kid. He’s sort of the focus of everything…

…EXCEPT, about two months ago, when I was focusing entirely too much energy and time on finding running shoes. In case you weren’t following on Twitter, I left the old, crusty, smelly pair behind in Florida, which had the benefit of keeping me from running too soon on a sprained ankle but unfortunately meant that I would need to buy a new pair before I could start running again.

That’s easy, right? There are 3 stores that sell running shoes within 20 minutes of my house. In true Megan fashion, however, I got sidetracked. All of the shoes were pink. PINK! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, unless you’re me and have a slightly ridiculous aversion to the color. Over several weeks, I visited my go-to running store THREE TIMES. Each time, I’d try on the shoes they had available in one of my two usual brands (Mizuno or Brooks). I even talked with the sales guy to see if there were alternate colors available in my size in one of their other stores. No dice. I finally almost, almost broke my “no pink” rule because I was desperate to run.

Through it all, there was an alternate possibility running through my mind. For quite some time, I’d been following a running shoe brand from Finland on Twitter. It’s called “Karhu,” and they’d appeared on my radar because one of their sponsored athletes is my brother’s high school rival,  Joe Moore. I thought their “runners traveling across the country in an airstream” marketing campaign was fun, their blog posts about ant invasions during the trip hilarious, and their shoes kind of cool. When I failed to win a pair of Karhus from an online giveaway, they were nice enough to send me a coupon code should I ever want to place an order.

I did…but I wasn’t sure. Buy shoes off the Internet? RUNNING shoes? From a brand that I only knew about because of SOCIAL MEDIA? That I couldn’t even try on beforehand because the only place in Kansas City that sells them didn’t have my size? It all seemed a bit crazy.

After battling with myself for weeks (and getting teased on Twitter for my shopping efficiency), I finally texted Scott at work. He’s the official gauge of when I’m being too crazy, so I figured he’d tell me to go buy some pink shoes and get back to running.

Me: I kinda wanna buy running shoes from Finland. Too weird?

Scott: Sounds Fin-omenal!

Man, I love him. Not only did I pass the “is this crazy?” test, but he made me giggle. I finally placed my order at Karhu, and then realized — crud! — that I was going to have to wait. (This should have been something that occurred to me PRIOR to placing an order on the Internet, but I suppose I was expecting a magical shoe fairy to materialize on my doorstep with a pair of size 6’s.) I’m not good at waiting. I was excited to see the tracking number land in my inbox, then dismayed to see that the estimated delivery date was the day I was scheduled to leave for South Carolina on a business trip. Maybe they’ll show up a day early, I thought. (Of course they didn’t.) Maybe they’ll get here before I have to leave for the airport, I hoped. (They didn’t…no matter where I live, UPS makes deliveries at 4:00pm or later. What’s up with that?) Well, at least it’s just a 2-day trip to SC, I reasoned. You’ll be back to the shoes in no time. (I wasn’t…because Blizzard #1 of the year struck Kansas City while I was away, delaying my return.)

Never has the simple act of buying shoes been more (needlessly) (overly) dramatic.

At long last, I returned home…to 12 inches of snow, my loving husband and son, and the brand new Flow3 Trainers from Karhu. (insert girlish squeal here) Scott hadn’t opened them, so it was a Christmas morning moment, as I hoped that (1) they fit, because it would just be the saddest thing ever to get SO CLOSE to running shoes and have to send them back and (2) that the color would be closer to the “light blue” I was picturing in my head, and not the “light purple” I had seen on the website. “Light purple” being a bit too close to pink for comfort, obviously.

I opened the box and may or may not have grabbed a shoe and hugged it close. They’re adorable! Light blue and fluorescent green, I loved them instantly.

I tried them on, and they fit. WHEW! Not only that, but because of two little cushions on either side of the heel (you can see one of them inside the shoe in the picture above), they fit more snuggly around my narrow heels than any other shoe I’ve ever worn. This was promising. I ran around the house for a bit, marveling to Scott at how light and pretty they were, then moved on to the more grown-up responsibilities of unpacking from my trip.

Ten minutes later, I was back in the living room…this time in running clothes. “I know this is silly,” I told Scott, “and I know it’s only 18 degrees outside and the roads are a mess, but I’ve got to go try them out.” He and the LilRunr waved “bye-bye” to me, and I was out the door.

The first run...captured via Twitter, of course.

The first run…captured via Twitter, of course.

Guys: I love these shoes. They’re like this perfect happy medium between the lightness of a racing flat and the cushioning of a heavier trainer. I normally wear the sturdier, traditional “running” shoe (Mizuno Wave Rider, Brooks Ghost, and Adidas Boston Classic have all been previous picks), so I was a little worried that the lighter Flow3 would wind up being too minimalist for me. Obviously, I can’t say how they’ll hold up over the long term, but so far they have been nothing but kind to my feet. There have been no blisters, no callouses, no weird pains while getting used to them, no wish for more cushioning…these are very, very comfortable shoes that I forget I’m wearing during a run.

I feel a little unfair saying this, because since they’re completely different than anything I’ve trained in before it’s like comparing apples to oranges, but I’m gonna say it anyway — these are my favorite running shoes. Ever. They were definitely worth the wait.

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