A few months back Kirk wanted to get new shoes for the treadmill and gym workouts, so we stopped into a runner’s store in Bellingham, Wa. My workout shoes were mostly worn out, so I decided to look. There was a college guy working who I got, and we chatted about better workout shoes. Turned out he is in college for sports medicine…for foot injuries. He noted that the constant pain in my feet was mostly likely a case of Morton’s Neuroma. He wasn’t wrong. It explained my chronic foot pain. But after dealing with that (I have special insoles now) we talked about better fitting shoes. After wearing Keen Voyagers for the past 14 or so years, they just were not wearing well on my feet anymore. I’d replace them every 6 months or so, but of the past 2 years something wasn’t right anymore. Has the fit changed? I don’t know. Or is it my feet changed? Even after losing a lot of weight, it didn’t improve. Keen’s were one of the few shoes with a wider toe box, but they didn’t feel as wide anymore. I was rubbing against the sides in the latest pairs.
Talking with the guy at the shoe store, he brought out a couple of brands for me to try. The only one that felt right was Topo Athletic. It felt almost normal suddenly. They fit my toes and my feet with internal support.
I brought home a pair of Topo Athletic Women’s Ultraventure 2 shoes.
They have a wide toe box, where your toes sit as they would barefoot. No cramping. No tightly packed toes. But they have a normal heel cup – if I buy wide shoes, my heel slops all over, and that can lead to blisters. The shoes are not cheap, at around $135.00, but for me it was well worth the cost. I have kept these as my indoor shoes to wear when on the treadmill, crossramp and for other workouts I do. They are however designed for trail running with an excellent rugged sole.
When we decided to go to Mexico I decided to spend the money and buy an upgrade to my hiking boots, and to retire my Keen ones. All my Keen boots were heavy in general. And all were a year old and ready to be retired.
I picked up a pair of TrailVenture boots.
They are very light overall, and it might throw you at first. Yet the soles are Vibram and well built. It’s solid where it matters. The uppers breathe and I was never uncomfortable in them in the desert heat.
A rear-foot rock plate offers protection on rocky terrain, while medial side drainage ports in the durable rip-stop mesh upper allow for quick water release are two features they boast.
They boast excellent traction, on both versions I bought.
Changing brands of shoes can be a hard thing, especially if you are not sure – and one can waste money doing this (I had tried other brands and nothing worked). For me finding a store with a fitter who knew what he was doing, that was a big part of it. I probably wouldn’t have made the jump to a new brand had I not gone into the store. But if you need a wider toe box, you might consider Topo.
FTC Disclaimer: All shoes were bought by us, and the review above is our thoughts.