I have been on the search for better shoes. I have worn the same style Asics Gel Cumulus for several years now and they have served me well. But, I am a believer in natural running. I have personally seen my pace improve when I practice good form and can increase my cadence. I have dabbled with Newton Sir Isaacs with some success but find them a little hard on my feet for longer runs. Anyway, I have been a pretty loyal Road Runner Sports customer for at least a couple of years. I even pay to be a VIP member to save money on my purchases. I bought a pair of Saucony Kinvara's from RRS a little while back and after one very short run in them I knew that they were definitely not the shoe for me. Much too narrow for my wide duck-like feet.
Coach Jeff had been talking about the Altra Instinct zero drop shoes available from the Natural Running Store. I read up on them a little and I like that they spoke of a larger toe box so that your feet can spread out in them rather than having your toes crammed together. So...I pulled the trigger. I went online and was even able to get a little bit of a discount at the time. The Instincts retail for $99, really not out of the ball park for a good pair of shoes. As soon as I registered on their site and placed my order I received a video email from Patton Gleason, the President of Natural Running store, thanking me for my order. You may view the actual video here. You can learn more about Patton here.
|You can click on image to see the actual video.|
Later that same day, I received another video email from Patton telling me that my shoes were on their way.
It's pretty humorous, I suggest you listen to it here.
My shoes arrived in just a few days and here is what I found....
Inside the box of shoes was an additional pair of inserts, one is labeled support, the other strengthen, there was a tasty sample size LARABAR, and on the lid of the box are some brief notes about the Altra's describing The Technique, The Transition, and The Fit.
The box states that they should feel like you are wearing slippers, I will vouch for that!
Ok, so what, they have a couple of cheesy videos and they shipped my shoes pretty quickly.
Let me tell you.
Here, in my opinion is what sets them apart from the competition. There was one more item in my box, it was a hand written thank you note.
|Really, a thank you note for buying a pair of shoes!|
But wait...that's not it. The day after my shoes arrived I received a personal email from John asking about my training and goals.
As a side note, I really don't have anything against RRS. They have always been pleasant on the phone, they have a huge selection of running shoes, clothing, and other accessories. But the personal service that I received from the Natural Running Store was second to none and if they start carrying clothing along with their shoes, I will be hard pressed to go anywhere else.
You can learn more about the Altra Instinct here.