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If the Shoe Fits, Snare It!

This is an excerpt from I Run, Therefore I Am STILL Nuts! by Bob Schwartz.

Losing, then rediscovering, your favorite kicks

I could barely believe my eyes as I happened to see the tall figure doing prerace strides across the field. As I kept an eye on his whereabouts, I immediately broke into an all-out sprint over the 200 yards back to my car to grab my wallet. I then dashed back toward him as fast as mylegs would carry me.

Without caring in the slightest that I was interrupting his prerace routine, I waved the wad of cash in my hand and blurted out, “How much for your shoes?”

He just looked at me like I had two heads. I was tense and desperate and shouted, “Seriously man, how much for your shoes?”

He finally said, “What are you talking about?”

I replied with a quaking voice, “I need those shoes, man. I need 'em bad. I'm down to my last pair and then that's it. Nada. Gone forever. I can't take it. I got to have them!”

I pointed down to my dilapidated shoes with the frayed mesh along the top, toes sticking through, worn-out heels, and much duct tape holding various shoe components in place. I pleaded with him, “Look at these! You got to help me, man!”

“Whoa, buddy. Relax. Aren't you even curious what size mine are? What size do you wear?” he asked.

“10 and a half,” I replied.

“These are 12 and a half.”

“Close enough! I'll wear extra socks. Will you take a credit card?” I screamed.

He waved me away, and I jumped in front of him as he tried to resume his prerace routine. He stared at me with pity in his eyes, placed his hand on my shoulder, and said, “You got to get a grip, buddy.”

I didn't need a grip; I needed his Nike Air Zoom Skylons! I longingly stared at his shoes as he jogged off. I imagine he had, figuratively, been in my shoes before. I wanted to at that moment, literally, be in his shoes. If you're a runner long enough, eventually you'll feel the sudden shock of having your perfect running shoe discontinued. Without warning. Extinct. I remember previous running partners experiencing the same frustration when the Saucony Freedom Trainer went down or the Adidas Osweego, the Brooks Radius, the Asics DS Trainer VI, and other shoes meeting their ultimate demise.

I hadn't yet met my perfect shoe until the Skylon came along. I'm not simply referring to a running shoe that fits pretty comfortably. I mean that once-in-a-lifetime, Cinderella glass slipper-like pair that feels as though it's been designed and built just for your foot. The shoe with unreal comfort that produces nary an injury let alone a blister, heel slippage, or even a hint of plantar fasciitis!

When the first version of the Skylon came on the market, it was love at first sight. I put the shoes on, and it was though soft music began playing in the background while rose petals fell from the sky. I took them for a short spin outside, and as I danced down the driveway of the running store, I envisioned long runs together for Skylon and me and years of happiness together. Before indicating to the salesman that I'd take them, I almost felt compelled to say, “I take you to be true in good runs and bad and will love this shoe from this run forward until shoe extinction do us part.”

More Excerpts From I Run