This morning when I woke up, I was thinking that I was going to have to do my 5 miler at the YMCA. The wind was blowing something fierce, and it sounded like it might be raining, too. I don’t mind running in the rain, but when it’s cold, blowing rain, it’s a different story. When I got up, though, I realized it was only the wind in the trees that made me think it was raining, so I geared up and headed out the door.
The clouds in the sky looked like a grey, puffy blanket, but I could see the edge off to the south, with a bit of sunny blue peeking at me. The wind created a rustle in the cornfields, where the stalks have dried to a crisp brown. Cool air chilled my cheeks and fingertips. It was a perfect day for a run.
It was a good run, too, without any walk breaks, and a steady pace throughout. My hip hurt only a little, starting around mile three, and wasn’t at all bothersome. My feet, because I was back to my old shoes, weren’t supported as well as they could have been, but at least they didn’t feel pinched and rubbed.
When I got home, Chef suggested we go right away to The Running Company, where I had bought the offending new shoes, to see if they would take them back. I had removed all the pebbles from the treads the night before, and used a scrub brush to make them a little cleaner. We drove down, hoping all the way that they would have pity on me and allow me to return the shoes. This was a long way to drive to be unsuccessful.
Upon our arrival, I explained the situation to the clerks, told them the name of the person I’d spoken with on Monday, and showed them the shoes. They debated for a while. Were they in sellable condition? Finally, they decided that they would let me exchange the shoes, even though they were dubious about whether they could sell them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I explained to the sales girl that I didn’t even know where to begin in looking for shoes, because I’d been wearing Brooks Adrenalines for the last five years or so. This last version was somehow so different that I knew it was time to break off the relationship, but where do I turn? She said she’d find some shoes in the same category as the Adrenalines and let me try them. She brought out Mizunos. As soon as I slipped the left one on, I knew it wouldn’t work. Already it was painfully pinching my bunion. When I told her this, the girl said she’d make sure she looked for shoes with a wider toe box. I tried Saucony, and while they were better, they still felt tight. Asics felt better, but when I tried them on the treadmill, I still had that familiar pinch in the forefoot. Still, these were the best so far, and I was beginning to think I might just have to cut a hole in my shoe for the bunion. (I’d read about someone doing that once.) But the clerk was undeterred. The next shoe she had for me was this:
Um… Nike? No way. I hate Nikes. They are narrow, and Nike makes terrible running shoes. Great basketball shoes, good cross-trainers, but terrible running shoes. I knew I was not going to like these shoes.
Still, I tried them on. I figured it will take only a couple of minutes and I can give them back and go on to the next pair.
And I was shocked. They felt nice.
They didn’t pinch. It was more of a hug around the whole foot, but no pinching. And they were really light. Not the heavy, clunky Nikes I remembered from years ago. True, I’d heard or read a couple of years ago that Nike realized they were missing out on a huge market because their running shoes were terrible. They’d done a lot of R&D and improved their running lines significantly. But I never thought I’d be able to wear them. Even good running shoes, if they run narrow, won’t work for me. But these… these really felt good. Who’da thunk it?
Nevertheless, I wanted to be sure. The clerk had one more pair waiting, a box of Adidas. Now, Adidas makes a good shoe. I think of them more as soccer shoes, but I know a lot of runners wear them, so I was open minded. I couldn’t help but be a little more open minded about shoes in general after Nike just shocked my socks off.
But the Adidas pinched, too.
I can’t believe I just bought a pair of Nikes.
And I like them.