Run Faster! Jump Higher! Spend More!

I went to the mall to get some new running shoes the other day. I walked into what used to be the athletic shoe store.

Much to my surprise, someone had replaced all the running shoes with bulbous, neon-colored, bipedal lower-appendage encapsulators. These things were not running shoes. They were Corporate Marketing gone Deeply and Seriously Awry.

Half the damn things didn't even have laces. They were "laced" with permanently mounted, miniature bungie cords. There were some very expensive ones there that had no laces at all, and appeared to be made of some sort of red, seamless, space-aged material. They also had some sort of hydraulic shock absorbers under the heels.

They were close to 200 bucks. I am pretty sure that this particular pair was actually sentient, and had I tried them on, they would have immediately melded with my consciousness and then actively conformed themselves to the exact proportions of my feet. For two hundred bucks, that's what they should do, anyway.

I didn't try them on because one, they were too damn expensive, and two, since they didn't have laces, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to put them on manually or just hold my feet up and shout commands like "NikeAir 7880 Extreme! To My Feet!"

I tried a few different commands at various volumes, but none of them worked as I had hoped. (One of them did cause my wife to walk away and pretend she didn't know me, so I'm hanging on to that one for emergencies.)

What the hell happened to regular old running shoes, anyway? You know -- good, solid arch support, not too flashy, something you could wear with Levi's or Dockers in a pinch? I would think twice about wearing 99.9% of these shoes anywhere, including exotic locations like, for instance, my basement treadmill. If you ever did wear them anywhere else, people would be doing double-takes just to confirm you weren't walking around downtown wearing clown shoes.

Also, it was pretty apparent that Malaysia and Bangladesh have almost run out of sneaker parts for the cheaper lines. I say this because almost every single running shoe under $70 seemed to consist of no less than 10,000 tiny, random bits of plastic, rubber, vinyl, leather and nylon -- all stitched together in some grotesque, vaguely unsettling, non-Euclidean geometric pattern. You couldn't look at them for long without feeling light-headed and queasy.* In fact, I'm willing to bet that pound for pound, these running shoes consisted of mostly stitching.

So, long story short, I spent an hour trying to buy running shoes that didn't immediately scream "DUDE! CHECK OUT THESE BITCHIN' RUNNING SHOES!" to everyone who saw them. It was an almost impossible task, but since they were buy-one-pair-get-another-for-half-price, I was not to be deterred.

After digging through roughly 437 boxes of shoes, I walked out of there with two pair of Nike Airs. One pair is orange and white, and the other pair is metallic silver, with bright blue highlights.

I feel ridiculous. I look like Ziggy Stardust. But at least my feet don't hurt.

My acute fashion sense? Well...That's another story.

Shambles. Shambles, I tell you.

*Cthulhu Fhtagn! Beware the Old Ones!


  1. Anonymous7:54 PM

    I went through this last month. I ended up with a pair of white sneakers with orange trim. I hate them but they feel good on my feet.

    "You want to buy whitner with that?" The sales guy was serious. What are they, teeth?

  2. Anonymous8:05 PM

    Yes, I noticed that. When I went to preview my comment there was some new spam each time.

  3. I turned anonymous back on, but also turned on the word verification. Hope it's not too much of a pain in the ass.

  4. I noticed the shoe issue years ago. I have been a staunch Nike Air fan until 5 years ago when they went from $40 to $140. Why? Because they extract the soul of a championship race horse and inject it into pair. Swear to god.

    And it looks like word verification is the way of the future. Bastards.

  5. Always great to see a new post here.
    I may have to print this out and carry it with me from now on. It will explain to many people why I insist on keeping (and wearing) my five year old, all black reeboks that are practically sole-bare.

    JV... I've been hit by spammers too. Could you somehow explain how I can access this word-verification thing? I'm not a total dolt, just don't know where to find it.

  6. If you update your settings for your blog you will see
    "Show word verification for comments? "

    It makes a wavy word appear that someone has to type in order to enter their comment.

    Effing spammers.

  7. whatever happened to plaain old 'chuck taylors' or something like that?

  8. Anonymous12:44 PM

    Sympathy on the footwear issues.In a similar way,I hate the fact that it's becoming difficult to buy jeans for women, unless you want the ones that are designed to leave your midriff exposed a la Britney Spears. Also, they have to look like they were dip-dyed in shit, and have deliberately frayed areas here and there. Meh.

  9. Anonymous5:31 PM

    I tried a few different commands at various volumes, but none of them worked as I had hoped. Clearly you just weren't doing it right. I always works for me.

  10. did you see the pair that has a computer chip in the heel? swear.

    i bought an expensive pair of exercise pants with wicking technology. now why do i want a witch on my butt?? now, if it had a computer chip i could shout the command, "make my ass look smalller!" i'd pay good money for that.

  11. I want that pair of shoes that makes the shit blow up and/or deflate in the commercial...let's just hope they don't fall into Usama's clutches.

    And fifi is effing-a right.

  12. I hate shoe shopping. I used to never buy shoes that were more than $10 if I could help it, cause I'm cheap like that. But now, if I find a pair that I like, I will spend $50 to $60 on a pair. If they make me piss myself with glee, I might go as high as $100.

  13. I want shoes that light up-like the ones the little kids get. Every time they take a step they blink. That is awesome. I would wear them everywhere all the time. In movies I would constantly stomp my feet and piss everyone off.

  14. did you hear about the felon who was running away from authorities up in the mountains? they caught him at night because he had the flashing lights in his shoes. true story.

  15. Anonymous3:27 AM

    A girl at work has a pair of light up high heels, looks like she should be standing on the corner.

  16. I totally want the light up shoes. Maybe then the guy on the treadmill behind me at the gym would stare at my shoes and not my ass.

    Shopping for men's sneakers with Mike is pretty funny. Fortunately they usually have ONE (and only one) pair of decent looking Nike's.