We interviewed James Whipple, director of the Sono Half and
experienced ultra-runner, to find his go-to shoes for running. No
surprise here--James owns over 40 pairs of sneakers, and alternates
between 2 to 3 during his training periods. James showed us the
shoes he loves most for both trail and road running, and what makes
them the best tool for a healthier run! Read on to find out how
James prepares for a race, and the shoes that keep him on his
James crossing the finish line at
Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run with his family.
How often do you replace your running
"On average, it is wise to replace your shoes every 300-350 miles.
Trail shoes may wear out faster if you have sections of road on
your trail run, since pavement wears down the treads a bit
How long does it take to break in a new pair of
"The approximate break in period for most shoes is 20-30 miles.
However, lighter, more minimalist type shoes require much less wear
to break them in. It is crucial to get a feel for the shoes before
you buy them! Spend some time walking around the store and make
sure you do not feel any hot spots that could become painful
blisters when you are running in them."
I want to try trail running; do I need different shoes
for trail and road?
"There are road specific running shoes and a trail running shoes;
each have their own benefits depending on the surface and terrain
you'll be running on. If you're just trying out trail running for
the first time, a crossover shoe is a great option because it's
made to perform in both situations."
Do you have any advice for people who are planning to
run a marathon?
"Have a plan! Be consistent! There are many terrific beginner
training programs available online. Find one that works well with
your schedule and follow it consistently. Keep most of your running
easy and comfortable to build your fitness and avoid injury. Be
patient! I do a lot of my training on the treadmill at home in
order to spend more quality time with my family. This also allows
me to control my pace and incline, so there is less risk of
What are some important factors to consider when buying
"The length of your run, your experience level and your foot's
flexibility help break down the difference between running shoes.
Your pedorthist can check based on flexing and twisting your foot
whether it is rigid or flexible to reveal the amount of support you
need. If you're running for longer distances a shoe with more
support can protect your arch and absorb shock. I recommend the new
brand Hoka for its lightweight and sturdier soles."
Our on-staff pedorthist Arlo Tarr will take measurements and
examine your foot type, carefully to help you pick the perfect pair
of running shoes for your feet. This is crucial to ensuring that
you have a fun and safe running experience; everyone runs
differently, so the same shoe is not necessarily the best shoe for
everyone. With a pedorthic background, he can examine your feet and
point out potential issues that you might not realize effect your
running style, and also recommend a supportive insole to help tweak
James and his daughter Mia at the New
York City 10K last year.
James shared with us his favorite
running shoes, for trail running and road running. Here are his top
picks in each category:
Hoka Clifton 2
Although Hoka is a relatively new brand, it has already
become incredibly popular in the ultrarunning community, with
around 75% of ultrarunners using them. They have even become
increasingly popular for all distances because of their thick soles
that offer maximum cushioning. James likes to use these shoes on
his recovery runs of about 8-10 miles; he says, "They keep your
legs fresh and absorb shock." They are very lightweight (around 6.6
ounces) and have unique midsoles. Hokas have 2.5 times the midsole
volume of a standard running shoe, and they incorporate Meta-Rocker
geometry, meaning a sculpted outsole radius in the heel and toe
which supports a runner's form. This shoe comes in men's and
Salomon Speedcross 3
James' favorite thing about these shoes is the incredible lacing
system: one-pull tightening is quick and easy, and there is a lace
pocket on the tongue where you can quickly tuck away the pull tab.
He also mentioned that it's incredibly comfortable: "it feels like
a glove on your foot." A protective layer all around the base of
the shoe protects against mud, and an anti-debris mesh keeps the
area between your foot and the footbed free of debris. The deep
tread on the outsoles provides the ultimate grip no matter what the
conditions. This shoe comes in men's and women's.
Other Road Shoes we
Asics Gel Nimbus
This shoe incorporates a gel cushioning system in the rear foot
and forefoot that gives it an incredibly smooth ride. The shoe is
constructed of seamless materials, and the elimination of seams and
stitching also eliminates the risk of irritating friction and
scratching. This shoe comes in men's and women's.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS
A full-length segmented crash pad allows for smooth
transitions from your heel to your toe, and the Progressive
Diagonal Rollbar adds stability to the shoe. The midsole is
designed to be great for people with moderate pronation, and for
those with flat to medium arches. Your feet will stay dry and cool
thanks to the moisture-management mesh upper. This shoe comes in
men's and women's.
Other Trail Shoes we
This aggressive trail shoe will carry you over technical terrain
with ease. The outsole incorporates FriXion® XF, LaSportiva's
"stickiest running shoe sole compound," which provides superior
traction. This shoe offers stability and grip on the roughest
terrain, along with cushioning to keep your feet going longer. This
shoe comes in men's and women's.
North Face Ultra Cardiac
This is an excellent shoe for beginner trail runners, with a low
price point and a stable fit. If your trail run includes portions
of road, this is the shoe for you, as it is made to perform on any
surface. It makes a great crossover shoe for anyone going from road
to trail for the first time. It is flexible and light, but also
protective, with a wide platform for added stability. Sticky
threads give you traction on your uphill climbs, while the midsole
cushioning protects your feet on the descent. This shoe comes in
men's and women's.