Sunday, June 15, 2008
In my race yesterday I saw a woman wearing these shoes. Once the race started and I became preoccupied with my own running, I forgot about it and never found out later how she did, or even saw her again.
I have noticed some curious shoe styles in various races, but this one is the tops. I did a google search for "springy running shoes" and found out they're called Z-coil (I'm not sure if there are any other competing brands), and actually they were invented by a guy in the eighties to help with foot pain.
I could go on about their history and so forth, but I prefer to focus on the wackiness of it all. I think most people (especially women) are only just willing to wear "sensible" shoes to deal with foot problems (e.g. plantar fascitis, tendonitis, etc.). It must take a special kind of personality to choose to wear shoes that make you look (let's face it) like a freak. I think with running shoes most of us want to find the best, fastest, most comfortable shoes, but we also want them to kind of look like everyone else's running shoes. Just a little cooler and prettier, if possible.
Spira has a type of running shoe with springs inside the sole. I understand from some cursory and un-thorough internet research that these shoes may have been banned from races by the USATF. Apparently that kind of springy sole may help runners race faster (maybe I need a pair). But at least the technology is hidden. Don't know if the visible springs work the same way; to me it seems like they'd be rather awkward.
It occurs to me that I could springboard (haha) this into a real discussion about what the difference is between "allowable" shoe technology and technology which is deemed an unfair advantage. After all, the evolution of running shoes and athletic shoes in general is full of various developments intended to improve performance. Nike Air? Nike Shox? Where should the line be drawn (other than jet-packs, etc.)?
But, I'm tired and losing momentum (it's now 11:05 p.m. even though I first started this early in the afternoon). And really, all I wanted to say was "man, those are some wild and crazy shoes!"