I understand you might be suffering from withdrawal since I haven't written about shoes in a while. That's all about to change right now!
I picked up a pair of Inov-8s on sale a little while ago (yes, another pair of running shoes -- but these fell within my ~$60 "why not?" price-point). They're made with an innovative (ha! get it?) design philosophy and are much less supportive than most other trail runners, while still being all grippy. The basic theory is that the shoe gets out of your way to let you run more naturally and efficiently. In those terms, they're very similar to my favorite, super-inexpensive, super-reliable Vitruvians, only the Inov-8s are meant for off-road running.
Unfortunately for my calves and IT band, the Inov-8s take the "natural" running theory a little farther than my Vitruvians. Since they have such a low heel and not much built-in support, you need to gradually get used to them so that your muscles can adjust. Needless to say, I spent no time adapting and dove right in -- wearing them exclusively for three days, including a couple hour walk on Sunday (after I had already worked myself over with a tough bike and run on Saturday).
So, I'm sore. My right achilles is really tender. And my IT band pain is flaring up again. Nothing like waiting until a few days before a big event (the Grand Canyon hike in this case) to try something new! That hike's still far enough out that I should be healed up, but in the meantime, I'm back to aggressive rehab for my achilles and IT band and I'll be back in my favorite old pair of trail runners for our trip to England.
Those shoes have been through a lot, including our first hike in the Grand Canyon, our hike in St. John and numerous shorter walks and runs through the woods (or brush, in the case of Texas). They're probably at the end of their active life, but I keep pulling them back out because they keep performing. Who knew $40 on sale at EMS a few years ago was going to be such a good buy?
I don't know why I'm so attached to a pair of sneakers. It might be because the reason I have my $60 "why not?" price point is a result of these shoes being so awesome for so long for so little money.
It might also be because I'm weird.
On a slightly less weird note, I'm sure you're saddened to know that many of those shoes in the above picture are no longer with us (or, more specifically, they're not with me -- they're still with us in a landfill somewhere). I'll also be donating any other non-frequently worn shoes to either Soles 4 Souls or a similar charity in Doylestown, PA.