Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Shoe Buying Adventure


I bought these shoes from Shoe Carnival a little over two years ago. I liked them because they were discretely black, and therefore could be safely worn with anything, and they were only $65.99. The bright orange box they came in said that they were running shoes. In two years I've put close to a thousand miles on them either on the road or the treadmill, so it was time for some new ones. And since lately my feet have started to hurt the morning after a run at the gym, I thought perhaps I should consider some real running shoes. In other words, maybe it was time to stop buying my footwear at a store with the word Carnival in the name.

So, a couple days ago I set out to buy my first pair of legitimate running shoes at a store called Fleet Feet.I was the only customer in the place, so I had the undivided attention of the blade-thin marathon runner type who bounded from behind the counter to tell me the fascinating story of the evolutionary journey of the tennis shoe. After the history lesson, he guided me towards two tall racks of fluorescent colored running shoes, all of which seemed to have been painted by Jackson Pollock on a very bad day. Lots of blaze orange, lime greens and electric yellow. I owned not one piece of clothing that these shoes would work with except black work out shorts. Perhaps this is intentional on the part of the manufacturers. Maybe they only want the consumer to use their product for its intended purpose, so they make them so hideously ugly that you would never dream of doing any such thing. I stared at the tower of shoes before me searching for even the smallest patch of grey, hoping to find one without a giant angry slash splashed across the side. I finally settled on the least provocative pair...

For $126.99 I was the ambivalent new owner of the very latest in running shoe technology manufactured, no doubt, by a factory full of Chinese middle schoolers. The good part is, they are light as a feather. The bad part is, after my maiden voyage, a four-miler, my feet hurt every bit as much the next morning as they used to when I wore my old, boring black ones from Shoe Carnival. Maybe it's like the salesman said, that the souls of my feet needed to "get to know the cushion of the shoe" first before I will notice any improvement. Whatever. All I know is, for what I paid for these babies, I could have bought two pair from the Carnival and had money left over for a Pumpkin Spice Frappaccino from Starbucks.