Friday, September 6, 2013

Brooks Ravenna 4 Review

When I was home a couple weeks ago, my mom offered to split the cost of a new pair of running shoes with me. I was torn between the Saucony ProGrid 5 (what I wear now) and the Brooks Ravenna 4. After running around the store (literally) and hearing of Dick's 90 day return policy, even if I wear the shoes on a run, I brought home my first pair of Brooks.

Note: The following review is a reflection of my personal opinions. I purchased these Brooks and am reviewing them on my own accord.

I was only looking at shoes with "neutral" gait because that's what Running Zone analyzed me as when I got my last pair of shoes in February. My mom saw that the Brooks Ravenna 4 were labeled as a "Best Runners Buy" and encouraged me to try them on even though they were a stability shoe. I grabbed 3 other pairs of shoes and asked for them in my size. Apparently, the two other shoes were popular with people who have small feet (I wear a 6.5 in running shoes), so I had to choose between the Saucony ProGrid 5 and the Brooks Ravenna 4.

Saucony (left) Brooks (right) source

Because I have Saucony ProGrids currently, I was sure that I was going to choose them because I have had no problems with my pair. However, when I put them on, they felt weird on my feet. I was having an issue with the lacings, but I did a test run in them anyways. Next, I tried on the Brooks Ravenna 4 and despite being a bulkier looking shoe, they felt much lighter on my feet. I ran around the store in them and liked how they felt. Because I was still unsure, I put one of each shoe on and did another run. I decided to take home the Brooks Ravenna 4s and give them a trial run because Dick's Sporting Goods assured me that I could return them if I did not like them.

I have run in these shoes for a little over a week, and I really like them. My feet don't slip and rub, so I haven't had any new blisters yet. In my Saucony's, there were pressure points where I was consistently getting blisters on blisters. Knock on wood, that hasn't happened with the Brooks, yet. My legs also have not felt heavy after a run with these shoes. Sometimes my legs feel like lead, but I haven't experienced that yet with my Brooks. Because my legs have felt great with these stability shoes, I'm wondering if I was misanalyzed at my last fitting. Or maybe Brooks are just great shoes. 

Another thing I really like are the bright yellow shoelaces:

(Ignore the horrible photo quality)

I love that the shoelaces look like they are glowing in the dark when I am running in the pitch black. It makes me feel safer that cars can see me, even if I'm running on the sidewalk. I wasn't sure about the colors of the shoe (purple and black are kind of boring), but they've definitely grown on me. Besides, the Tower of Terror 10-Miler is a villain-themed race and my villain is Ursula (should be a given with my obsession with Ariel), and my mom said 'THESE WILL GO GREAT WITH YOUR VILLAIN RACE!' Mom knows the key to my heart <3

The only complaint that I have about these shoes is that my calves have been really sore after ALL runs. I can't pinpoint the exact reasoning for this, but they are constantly tight. I foam roll and stretch, but it doesn't seem to help. I think the drop is slightly greater (would it be lower?) in the Brooks, so I'm thinking that might be the cause for my calf tightness. Hopefully I will adjust soon! 

I would definitely recommend these shoes if you are neutral but still looking for more stability. The description on Dick's Sporting Good's Website says these are ideal for mild pronators, which I'm thinking might actually be my case. Hopefully more fun colors will be available soon!

What brand of running shoes are you currently wearing? Do you pronate? What do you look for in a running shoe?