Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I’m not really sure why I’m blogging today, since there’s not much going on. I ended up taking yesterday off. It was one of those things that wasn’t really planned, but given the 20 miler the day before, I didn’t really mind. This morning I ran an easy 10 miles in Hyland Park.

I not usually one for gear review, but I bought some new shoes recently that I really like. If you like neutral cushioned shoes, like the Asics Landreth or Cumulus or Adidas Supernova Cushion, then check out the Asics Stratus. I only have a few runs on mine, but so far I really like them.

Speaking of shoes, since I don’t have anything else to say, here’s a little article I wrote for a local newsletter.

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to come right out with it. I like shoes. Yes, I’m a guy and I like shoes.

I’m not exactly sure when it started, but it was probably when I was in junior high school. At first it was mainly basketball shoes. But when I reached high school as a 5’ 2” freshman weighing 92 pounds, the hopes of any kind of future in basketball were, as they say, “Slim and none – and Slim just left.” Luckily I started running at an early age and was able to turn my shoe obsession towards running shoes. It didn’t matter if they were training shoes, racing flats or cross-country spikes; I had my favorites over the years. While I have no idea how many pairs of running shoes I’ve had over the years, there are definitely some that stand out more than others. Here’s a look back at some that come to mind.

Even though it was nearly 28 years ago, I still remember my first pair of running shoes; Brooks Vantage. They were a “lovely” shade of royal blue with a white stripe. The stripe was made out of vinyl and it would crack and peel apart. While they weren’t the most fashionable shoes ever, I still remember them to be the most comfortable shoes I ever owned. Maybe that’s just because, up to that point, I was used to either running around barefoot or wearing baseball cleats at that age – any running shoe would’ve felt great.

Growing up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, there weren’t a lot of options for buying shoes. I can’t remember the Shoe Shack ever carrying a pair of running shoes and Watland’s wasn’t much better. We either had to make a road trip to Duluth to buy our running shoes, or order them through the mail via those market place ads in the back of Runner’s World.

Imagine my surprise one day when I walked into Watlund’s and not only found a pair of running shoes on the shelf, but a pair of the all-time great racing flats. The Nike Eagles were gray and black and they were the lightest shoe I had ever felt. They were my first must have pair of shoes. It didn’t matter that the closest size was a half size too small. I made them fit!!!

As a growing 12 or 13 year old, you can imagine these already too small shoes didn’t last too long. Luckily for me, Nike came out with an even better racing flat – maybe the best ever; American Eagles. As the name implies, these were red, white and blue. How could any all-American boy say no to them? I couldn’t. I had to have them. They were so awesome I ended up with two pairs over the years.

By now I was running high school cross-country, so of course, I needed to have a pair of spikes. Now the Nike Flames may not be on the all-time-best-spikes-ever list, but they are the top of the coolest-looking-running-shoes-ever list. As you may guess from the name, they were yellow at the toe, orange in the forefoot and red in the heel. Now that I think about it, I can remember wearing these to class on occasion. I’d be slipping all over the hallways due to the plastic spike plate under the toe box. Unfortunately, I forgot these shoes at a track meet one day; otherwise I’d probably be wearing them to work on casual Fridays.

Before joining the Navy, I bought a pair of Nike Air Max to wear during boot camp. When I got out of the service four years later, I was still wearing Nike Air Max – the same pair! It’s probably no wonder I was so beat up during my first year of college. Running shoes were not meant to last for four years – even if it appears that they haven’t worn out yet.

Believe it or not, this is not an ad for Nike. In college I went through a phase where I only wore Adidas, because they were not Nike. Now I care much less about brand and more about fit. Coolness is towards the bottom of the list. And I can’t remember my last must have pair of shoes.

Although I’ve (probably) scaled back my emotional attachment to shoes, now that I’m an adult, I still enjoy when it’s time to get that new pair of running shoes. If there’s ever a reason to run more miles, it’s to buy more shoes. Right? Well maybe not, but I’m sure Adam and the staff at TC Running Company would like us to think like that.

Quote of the day;

“The hard part isn’t the work. It’s knowing what not to do, and why, and for how long – then heeding those limits.” – Joe Henderson

1 comment:

Evan Roberts said...

the Flames! My first pair of spikes too. I think I threw them out after the spike plate separated from the rest of the shoe. The intersection of New Zealand cross country being very muddy and poorer shoe construction in those days did them in after about 4 seasons of double duty in track and cross.