Best Running Shoes of 2019 Part 2 with Derek Wun from A Runner’s Mind

Best Running Shoes of 2019

We choose different running shoes for terrain, weather, price, ability, etc. In the second of this 2 part series we are talking with Derek Wun, running shoe expert in California as we continue our search into the best running shoes of 2019.  Derek will add to what started with Ross Martinson, from Philadelphia Runner Stores last week with his California based choices of the best running shoes of the year.

Derek Wun – A Runner’s Mind Stores’ Favorite Shoes of 2019

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When it comes to shoes, Derek has made a career out of all the aspects of running that make for good footwear. As an engineer, running shoe buyer, and avid runner himself, he looks at shoes from more perspectives than most of us could ever imagine. This benefits all of us when we purchase our perfect running shoe.

Derek Wun is the footwear buyer for A Runner’s Mind in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been in the industry for many years now having held most of the different running store roles from store associate to manager to buyer.  While not having started with the normal cross country and track backgrounds like a lot of others in the industry, he has been a lifelong athlete, dabbling in many other sports before deciding that running was the one for him.

Road training, trail running, racing and more

From road training shoes to trail running, from road racing to ultra trail racing, and a couple of Derek’s personal favorites we’ll see how shoes vary from coast to coast and from one expert to another. Derek has a wealth of knowledge and will share with our listeners.

Derek was brought into the running scene through the medium of obstacle course racing which has pushed him to compete in and chase longer and longer endurance events.  He brings a unique background of sneaker and streetwear culture as well as one in science having studied Mechanical Engineering at UCLA and previously working in the biotech world, resulting in a cultural and analytical approach to the rapidly changing industry of footwear.

Questions Derek is asked:

3:42 First Four:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. Where do you live now?
  4. What is your favorite race distance or type of race?

5:20 How did you transition from engineering to running?

6:24 How have you been able to use your engineering background in the running industry?

7:36 How and when did you get into obstacle racing?

8:21 Did you race on a team or on your own?

9:00 What shoes are best for obstacle racing?

10:17 What is A Runner’s Mind and how did you get connected to them?

11:02 When did you become the shoe buyer for them?

11:54 What are the hot brands for 2019 and what innovations are you seeing?

12:58 What are your favorite road trainers?

15:43 What are your favorite trail / combo shoes?

18:58 Have you been able to try most of these shoes?

19:55 How many stores do you have and what’s the benefit of being an independent store?

20:57 What about road and trail racing flats?

25:35 What are some of your personal favorites that you use?

27:48 Do any elite or high-level athletes use any of these shoes?

30:34 What else can you tell us about shoes in general in 2019?

31:54 What shoes do you think we’ll see in Boston next month?

32:09 Anything you’d like to share with us?

35:25 Final Kick Round:

  1. What is your favorite local training run or outing (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
  2. Favorite shoe related book(s) or resource?
  3. Words of Wisdom or Humor?
  4. Who or what would you like to have featured on the Run To The Top podcast?

Quotes by Derek:

“I know a lot of brands are coming out with some really, really cool things trying to either, one up each other or trying to come out with the next big marathon racer…A lot of these brands are putting a lot of research and development into putting a lot of the coolest stuff out there.”

“Being where we are in the San Francisco Bay Area in Silicon Valley pretty much everything’s taken an analytical approach these days.”

“Ever since Nike came out with their Vapor Fly 4% everyone is trying to compete with that or at least come out with their version of that in order to compete in that market.”

“Even your more traditional brands are doing such innovative things which has been amazing to see.”

“Everyone was trending in such a minimal direction, HOKA kind of went in the opposite direction. They gave you as much cushion as they could but still keeping it super light.”

“Shoes in 2019 are going to be a big trend in kind of putting out new and innovative product more so than any other year thus far.”


Take a Listen on Your Next Run


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Mentioned in this podcast:

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

RunnersConnect 2019 Running Retreats

A Runner’s Mind Homepage

Nike Vapor Fly 4%

Brooks Adrenaline 19

Mizuno Wave Inspire 15

Hoka Challenger ATR 5

Saucony Freedom V2

On Running

On Cloudventure

Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit

Altra Superior 4

Saucony Switchback ISO

On Cloudsurfer

Desiree Linden

Nike’s Breaking 2 Project

Brooks Glycerin

Chris McDougal TED Talk


Follow Derek on:


A Runner’s Mind Instagram


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