Today's throwback is one part book review and one part reminder of the way things used to be. The book is Rob Hadgraft's excellent biography of the old school Ultra Marathoner, Arthur Newton. Titled "Tea With Mr. Newton: 100,000 Miles the Longest Protest March in History,” it refers to government bureaucracy at its stoggiest, and Newton's hope for a platform of celebrity to speak to his financial mistreatment.
The connection to running shoes is reflected in Newton’s relating a story about a footwear problem he experienced: “At the time I was using chrome-tanned leather shoes. My footgear needed repairing so I set out for a 19-mile run to leave them at the shop I always patronised, proposing to pick up a new pair which I understood were ready for me there. As these were always made to measure I reckoned that breaking them in would spell no more than an odd blister or two. I tried the new ones and they seemed perfectly comfortable. To make doubly sure I had them well oiled all over. Leaving the old ones to be mended, I started off home. After some eight or nine miles the right shoe seemed to be uncomfortable at the toe, and at a gate I had to go through I stopped for a memento to investigate and consider. As it was about as far to return to the shop, as it was to get home, where I had other shoes, I decided to continue. The trouble got worse very rapidly and eventually I tried running without the shoe, only to find it impossible, owing to the very rough country roads. So I put the thing on again and struggled home.” He did discover three bruised toenails and probably ended up losing some.
These adidas shoes were similar to the shoes Arthur Newton wore, and feature Chromed leather - a process that uses chromium sulfate to accelerate the tanning, while also lending its name.