I completed my longest run yet in the Grits yesterday. A couple clicks north of 20 miles with about 5,600 ft of elevation change out at Blowing Springs trails in Bella Vista. Legs and feet felt better afterwards than they did after the 15 miler at Slaughter Pen the previous week. Sore but not beat up. Honestly, I would have to say the soreness comes on more quickly than in my Pearl Izumi Iso-Seek shoes. But today that soreness reached a certain point and then stopped about midway through the run. Part of the improvement has to be the smoother, less technical trails. Hopefully, part of it is also my body becoming accustomed to these shoes. My right achilles was pretty sore but feels back to normal this morning. And no blisters, or real hot spots on my toes. I used my Experia socks (with Thorlo cushioning) and they worked well. I prefer thin socks but these are the thickest I have and seemed to work well. The shoes are a hair big on me but the next size down was simply too small, had to compromise. There were some muddy, sloppy sections and the Grit performed as well as any shoe I have tried. A couple spots would have been slick for anything short of a monster truck. The Grits gripped as well as my buddies Salomon Crossmax shoes in the muck.
I wore the Grit for the first two loops at RR50 and felt pretty good about them in some regards. The course was uber wet and muddy following a couple of inches of rain at the start. I had no more issues with traction than any other swinging Tom, Dick or Jane out there. The only place it lacked bite was on the clay slopes where everyone had issues regardless of shoe choice. Even on the several wooden bridges I was good. I did change shoes for the final loop. I did so for a couple of reasons, my feet were soaked and starting to get sore. I had slacked off wearing the Grit in my training and I think this showed in that my feet weren't up to going 50 miles in them yet. My buddy, Mike Rush, wore them the entire distance on his way to a top 10 finish and loved them. I did perform a little experiment after the race. While cleaning my shoes in the tub I filled the Grits and Saucony Peregrines with water to see which drained faster. The Peregrine won that contest hands down. Not very scientific but there you go. The course at Rocky Raccoon is not technical at all and I saw several other runners wearing them. I would have no worries lacing these babies up again down in Huntsville nest year.
Likely this will be my final update on the Grit. I have abandoned wearing them for anything more than very short, non-technical runs. A couple of weeks following RR50 I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my right foot. Despite my slow and careful attempt at a transition to a more minimalist shoes the Grit is too far out of my comfort zone. I believe the lack of lateral support is the issue with me. The shoes twist laterally quite easily and that seems to be an issue with my anatomy. I am assuming that as my legs get fatigued and lose the ability to absorb impact more and more is transferred to my ligaments resulting in bad things. I also found that I prefer to have a rock plate in my shoes. Wearing slightly more substantial shoes (Saucony Peregrine and Patagonia Tsali) seem to work much better for me on longer, more technical runs. If the Grit or something even less works for you I think that is great. Everyone has his or her sweet spot and mine is over the other way a little bit. They do, however, make one helluva comfortable pair of shoes for knocking around in from time to time.