Nu shooz: Brooks Ghost 9 and the online bargain bin

It’s not every day that I buy three pairs of running shoes. However, that is exactly what I did one day in December.

When the outside of my right knee started bothering me again last month, I consulted the all-wise and all-knowing internet for a diagnosis. I learned that the culprit was likely a tight and inflamed IT band. The cause? For me it was probably a combination of too many miles without enough rest, running on canted surfaces (I have a bad habit of running one route the same direction every time), and worn shoes. My self-proscribed treatment included a couple weeks off and a new pair of running shoes.

Though my pair of Ghost 8s were worn, I did not think they were that worn. A long time ago I read that running shoes should be replaced every 500 miles. I ran a lot this last summer and fall, as well as early in 2016, but I doubt I ran 500 miles. Maybe I did, though; it’s hard to tell because I don’t keep track of my miles, just the amount of time I run. However, as those in the wet shaving community say, “YMMV” — your mileage may vary. Perhaps I wear out shoes quickly. I am, after all, 30 pounds overweight so that may have a lot to do with it. Also, my shoes do not wear evenly since I have a bad habit of slouching. While the back half of my shoes show minimal wear, the fronts will be ground down to the point where the layers beneath the sole are showing. Though my Ghost 8s are not worn that badly, I decided to relegate them to everyday walking shoes.

Having found steeply discounted pairs of Ghosts on the Brooks website in the past, I checked there for new shoes first. Late model Ghost 8s were on sale for 42 percent off. Wooo! I could not pass that up and snagged two pairs, one blue and orange and the other the same gray and lime that I had worn all year.

Feeling guilty that I did not support a local shop, I decided to buy another pair in person. With the demise of Running Wild, the only local, running-specific store we have in the area is now We Run in North Liberty. Having never been there, I battled evening rush hour traffic to pay a visit. (Traffic was hell! I can’t believe 965 is still just a two-lane road between Coralville and North Liberty. It should have been upgraded to a four-lane highway long ago.) It was a nice place and the guy working there was very helpful and knowledgeable. I couldn’t help but buy a pair of the new (or at least new to me) Ghost 9s there.

The great thing about having three pairs of running shoes at the same time is: I won’t be wearing any of them out very quickly.

What’s the difference between the Ghost 9 and the Ghost 8? Good question! Thankfully, not as much of a difference as there was between the 7 and 8. The 9 seems to be a better fit for me; I have not had to use a bunion lace yet. Perhaps the toe box is looser because the lace initially runs through a tab in the middle before being threaded through holes. On the 9, there is also no notch for the heel in the opening. I’m a fan of the notch so I hope it returns with subsequent versions.

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