My writing career began about the time I first learned to write, though I was unaware at the time that I might one day have an audience. This is the first of many entries in the Blog for Running Product Reviews. Presently, I have several topics which fall into categories which will determine their placement here in the Blog. The first of these is from a column I wrote for my first professional assignment, which was called “Mostly Shoes.” There will be other topics and features as things get rolling, which will highlight the various categories on the site. Check back frequently!
Mostly Shoes: Fall 1996
It has been said that running is among the simplest of sports, only requiring good shoes, a minimum of apparel, and the ability to put one foot in front of the other. This means that when it comes to a runner’s basic equipment, it’s mostly shoes.
This year marks my thirtieth year of participation in our sport. During this time, I have run just under 350 miles for each of the 75 pairs of running shoes I have owned. Keen observation of athletic footwear has been my practice since running my first competitive steps. The quality, features, and materials of the running shoes available has followed the same radical curve of improvement that technology has exerted on other consumer products. The emergence of fierce competition among shoemakers and the perceived market of runners has further caused the excellence of shoes to rise to new levels.
The running shoes which have shielded my feet represent 18 different brands. A wide variety of shoes have successfully worked for me. This has been principally because of careful selection of shoes with the features, materials, and structure I required. The point is not brand loyalty, but “foot loyalty.” The shoe companies recognize that there are differences between feet (not just left and right) and they have responded with no small variety of models. This was not always the case. My first interschool competitive race was run in shoes which resembled mutated canvas Converse All Stars. The resemblance was not surprising because it was a Converse product (I believe it was the “Track Star”). Selection of shoe brands and models in the southern San Joaquin Valley during the mid 1960’s could easily be counted on one hand, without the thumb or index finger! Many factors have contributed to the change in this condition. Primarily, someone saw a chance to make a buck, and the race was on. Every runner wants shoes which they can rely on to perform adequately (or better) for them. It is the most vital key to their continued athletic performance on the track, road, or trail. In the coming months this column will attempt to educate, inform, and perhaps entertain you with factoids, trivia, and stuff about shoes. My hope is to assist you in finding the shoes which will make it possible to perform your best without cursing your feet.