oscillot’s AchillesBlog

Entries from March 2016

Achilles-friendly running shoes

March 22nd, 2016 · 8 Comments

Achilles blog, I can’t quit you. The anniversary of my rupture is fast approaching. Single leg heel raises are slowly but surely improving. I think I’ll start incorporating two-legged raises off a step, as well.

I’ve retired from marathons (tendonitis) and basketball (can’t go through this again), but have filled the void with other interesting activities (hiking, beginner gymnastics, and mountain biking), which have made me a more well-rounded athlete. With a ROUNDER waistline, too, haha - I’m still working off that Cinnabon weight.

What actually inspired me to post today is how impressed I’ve been with my new hiking / trail running sneakers, the Under Armour SpeedForm XC Mid Trail. I think they came out a while ago, because they are hard to find and expensive. I bought mine for $180 from a guy in Lithuania off eBay.

What’s so great about them is the upper is a built-in brace that wraps, supports, and protects your ankle and Achilles. It also serves as a gator, keeping rocks and dirt out of your shoe, and is barely noticeable when running with no “hot spots.” The sole is lighter than it looks, moderately cushioned, and very flexible. I’m so impressed with them that I’m thinking of buying another pair for when these wear out. They’re a better performing sneaker for running and walking than the Kobes I posted about earlier, and in the black colorway, they aren’t obnoxiously styled.

Under Armour made a similar sneaker called the FTHR Shield TRC Storm last year, but it must have been a limited run for the niche mud running market, because they are even harder to find. If anyone sees a pair of these in size 13, or knows of a similarly-designed running shoe, please let me know in the comments!

Oh yeah, one more product endorsement. When I had the boot on, it was really tough to make it to the gym, so I used dumbbells and elastic bands for resistance training. Those are better than nothing, but I have also been really impressed with the $40 WOSS Attack trainer I bought off Amazon. If you’ve heard of TRX, it’s the same thing, but ~$200 cheaper. Basically, you suspend some heavy duty straps with handles in an outward-facing door jam or around a tree, and use your body weight to do chest, shoulder, back, and core movements. The lower and slower you go, the harder it is, up to your full body weight. For me, it’s 90% as good as the cable setup they have at my gym, which for $40 is a tremendous value. I used YouTube and experimentation to settle on my favorite movements - atomic pushups are killer!

(this isn’t me in the picture)

Hope this helps, guys. To you new members in the club, hang in there and stay positive. Happy healing, everyone!

6/26/16 UPDATE: Got myself a pair of Hoka Clifton 1 running shoes, and these are better for the road. Not the most stylish shoe by any stretch, but the extra foam really does help reduce impact on the joints including the Achilles. No more tendonitis, thank you!

The Under Armours are still useful on the trail, where loose dirt and mud serve as natural cushioning, and the high upper helps keep dirt and rocks out.

Now that I’m running pain-free again, I’m hoping to work myself back to a half marathon at 18 months post-ATR.

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