The Humble Daily Trainer
The Humble Daily Trainer…
Part 1 of our 3-part series on your shoe rotation starts with the humble daily trainer.
Often left out of the conversation by the shoe geeks as it isn’t that exciting. These shoes are on our feet 90% of the week. Built for protection and comfort this category of shoe is made to absorb long mileage while making up for any gait anomalies we might have. Protecting us from both surfaces and loading forces.
Daily training is our slower-paced easy runs, long and short. Meaning more ground contact time and more time spent sinking into the shoes. With that comes the need for a stable base, not to be confused with structure (although for some both may be needed).
For me, a stable base is one where there is a shoe available wherever and whenever your foot loads it in full stance. Doing our best to make sure we aren’t spilling over the sides. When our medial arch is under full load, we are feeling stable and not compromised.
Outsole – Where the rubber meets the road (or trail). The outsole to our daily trainer should have a higher abrasion rubber. Made for durability and maximum life. It offers grip on all surfaces but also protects the more vulnerable midsole materials. The outsole pattern can also enhance or restrict flexibility on toe off depending on your needs. The tradeoff here is rubber is heavy. More rubber makes for a heavier shoe, but one that “should” last longer.
Midsole – Personal preference comes into play here, but for our daily trainer some padding is always nice. Remembering that the quantity of material doesn’t always mean the softest and is the softest even what we need. For me, I like a medium softness, slightly responsive midsole material, a wider base, and an 8mm-10mm pitch. I don’t like anything with a stack height much more than 30mm in the back. Keep in mind this will differ for your average mileage, body weight, foot strike, and surface. When you stand, feet shoulder-width apart and nice and relaxed, you should feel like there is a shoe under most of your foot. Not like you are falling off the back, or sides, or being made to fall dramatically in or out (unless you have a valid reason or referral from a physio/pod/doc). The midsole componentry is also what will act and react to our gait loading patterns. Helping the shoe to wear evenly over its life. Your heel should feel cupper, arch held and toes free to spread but not slide around.
Upper – Believe it or not the upper is what we feel most. It can make the shoe feel stiffer than the midsole might be. It is also responsible for holding us on top of the midsole. This ultimately becomes more important the higher the stack height, the faster we are going, or the technicality of the trail we are on.
Our humble daily trainer upper should be a little heavier than its racing shoe sibling. I’m always looking for a few more overlays or inlays for stability (particularly around the midfoot), a good heat-welded toe cap, and durability in the forefoot flex. A comfortable and secure heel counter with no bits rubbing. Again, the more durable materials will mean the better daily trainers are up around 270g+ (for women’s sizes) and 300g (for men’s sizes).
To summarize, daily trainers aren’t sexy, they don’t feel that fast and they are made with maximum durability and protection in mind. But as we spend 90% of our week in a pair they need to be just right. Softer and higher here doesn’t always mean better. Extra ground contact means we need to make sure they are stable and suitable to your foot strike and loading patterns.
As always if you have any questions just reach out and happy training.