Friday, November 27, 2015

If the shoe fits...

Since summer is just around the corner, the temperature and humidity has gone up a fair bit. I have had to shift my mid-morning walks to the wee early hours of daybreak. I now hit the tracks at around 5:30am and back by 7:00am. I have been walking so much these past few months that I have managed to destroy two pairs of sneakers; one was already a bit old, and the other was an "El Cheapo" brand from Aldi. I decided that if I was going to keep up my walking regiment that I should get myself a decent pair of running shoes. And here began the shopping saga for the very elusive shoe that would fit me like a glove (there's a bad pun somewhere in there!)

So a few days back, I went to our local Amart Sports store to buy myself a new pair of sneakers. It had been quite some time since I bought a brand name, so I had no clue what to look for, what new technology was involved in sports shoes, etc... The first thing that hit me upon seeing them was the ghastly fluro colours that now appear to be the norm. A lovely older salesman approached me and asked me if he could help me. Upon requesting my requirements, I promptly responded "Firstly, they need to be comfortable because I walk... A LOT! Secondly... No fluro colours." After many shoe trials, lots of chit-chat and a bit of convincing, he sold me on the Asics Nimbus 17... A very expensive shoe, but oh, the comfort!! So, at the risk of incurring a cavalcade of disapproving remarks from my husband, I came home with a $220 pair of running shoes.

The next day, I was excited to try them on for a decent walk. Hubby told me to go easy as the shoes would need breaking in, otherwise I might risk blisters. These shoes needed NO breaking in; they are so light, so soft and flexible, it was like walking with a pair of slippers on. After a breezy 7km walk, I came home, totally ecstatic about how amazingly comfortable these shoes are. That excitement died off quickly when I flipped the shoes over to find that some of the gripping threads from the sole were halfway ripped off. If this is the sort of wear I get from one short 7km walk, what's it going to be like in a few months when I've racked up many more k's? Not a very good financial investment if I need to replace them in a few months. So after much dishearten consideration, I brought them back to the store for an exchange. "The salesman recommended a Cadillac when what I really need is a Jeep", I said to the clerk. So off I went to rummage the shelves for that very elusive shoe that had my name written all over it. Before heading off to the store, I had done some online research about different brands, so I had a few types I had in mind prior to walking in to the store. This time around, I was armed with knowledge and I had more precise criteria. There was one pair I had been eyeballing since I started this whole shoe-hunting saga; the Asics Venture 5.

They appear very sturdy, quite comfortable (gel heel insoles) and best of all, they weren't a ghastly fluro pink, orange or green. A very down-to-earth looking salesman approached me while I was scanning the shelves for that particular shoe. "Can I help you with anything?" he said. "Yes you can... I need a Jeep in shoe format", I replied. "Oh! I know what you need... I have just the shoe for you. It's my go-to shoe when someone says they're looking for a tank in shoe form." Lo and behold, the shoe he handed me was the Asics Venture 5, the very one I was looking for. "Serendipity?", I thought to myself. And get this... They are currently $79, on special for Christmas.

The moral of the story is, neither one of these shoes are badly designed (mind you, one of them is seriously overpriced.) They are tailor-made for different category of people. The Nimbus is best suited for folks who like to jog in parks, on soft grass or dirt trails, maybe treadmills... But not harsh abrasive asphalt or concrete. For that, you need a thick sole with large threading, perfect to withstand these harsh abrasive surfaces. The Cadillac of shoes was a dream to walk in, but nevertheless, it isn't the shoe for me. Different strokes for different blokes.

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