Monday, December 11, 2006
Perhaps the most important item for any runner is a good pair of shoes. Not only do you need good shoes for your workout, but you also need a decent pair for when you’re not exercising.
I try to only wear my running shoes when I’m running. Otherwise, they won't last very long, (and they wear out quick enough as it is.) This means that for most of the time I’m wearing non-athletic shoes. This might be OK for a non-athletic person, but I understand athletic shoes to be so much more superior to non-athletic shoes. Also, it seems that a lot of injuries among runners stem not from running, but from what they're doing when they're not running.
I always wondered why running shoe companies didn't make dress shoes. Finding a decent casual shoe has gotten easier over the years, but a decent dress shoe that is good for your feet is hard to find. You can buy expensive dress shoes made by old-time European cobblers, and they still are not going to be as good as what modern technology can bring us.
Enter the hybrid shoe, which is either a mixture of different types of shoes melded into one, or a new type decidedly developed in-between standard definitions. For example, as hiking boots, trail running shoes and rock climbing shoes borrow style elements from each other, the core differences between them are more difficult to find. Also, the functional elements of casual shoes are becoming more athletic.
The other day discovered a pair of Stacy Adams dress shoes, shiny and black, cut into sandals. I wasn’t sure what to think – are you supposed to wear black socks with them? I also saw the hiking boot / sandals of Keen. Specializing in the hybrid shoe, Keen also makes running shoes and ruggedly stylish street shoes. Merrill is another shoe company trying to redefine shoe styles, and they offer everything from running shoes to dress shoe loafers.
Meanwhile, Puma and Nike are getting into high fashion. Nike has gotten into the action by partnering with Cole Haan, who now offers men’s and women’s casual and dress shoes with Nike Air. And, Puma has partnered with Alexander McQueen to develop a unique line of Sport Fashion, “founded on the union of tradition and technology.” So, maybe athletic shoes will take over the entire shoe market, after all.
In any case, my point is that you should always wear good shoes, even when you’re not running. Wearing no shoes at all is better than wearing a bad pair. And, if the trend is toward more technology, comfort and performance for all types of shoes, (and for that matter, all types of gear,) then that’s a good thing.