Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Run Fast


Do you remember when you were a little kid and your mom and dad bought you a new pair of running shoes? Remember the smell? The fit? The feel of runners that didn’t have your foot imprint on them was unmistakable. Do you remember there were only a couple of kinds of runners? Do you remember how the shoe salesperson didn’t trust you to tell them your size, but they brought out that cool metal thing that measured the length of your foot as well as the width.
 
He would bring out a couple of boxes that had runners wrapped in tissue and tissue stuffed into the toe so the shoe would retain its shape. They were never laced, that was something the salesperson would do. Mom always took the other shoe and laced it up so that I could try on both shoes at the same time. The sales guy would then use a shoe horn to ease my heel into the shoe, whether I needed it or not. He would lace up one shoe and then the next, usually a little too tight, but I didn’t have to tie them that tight. He would then take his thumb and press down on the top of the shoe to find out just where my big toe was hiding. That always started a discussion between the sales guy and mom about how much room I needed so that I could grow into the shoes.
 
Once they decided that the shoes fit and would last until next year, I was told to walk around to see how they felt. I’d take maybe three steps forward and the same back, reporting that they felt good. My mom would say that you can’t tell if running shoes fit unless you ran in them, and I would run to the front of the store and then back again. Mom and the sales guy both commented on how fast I ran, which brought one of those ear to ear smiles to my face. The salesman asked if I wanted to put on my old shoes or if I would like to wear the new shoes home. I want to wear the new shoes!!!!

I was thinking of those days when I was looking after Tornado last week. He had on a combination running shoe/sandal that had lights which would flicker on and off as he walked. They were very cool! Unfortunately they don’t come in adult sizes, well, I’ve never seen them.
 
Now when I buy runners, there is no salesperson that measures my feet anymore. Either humans have evolved to the point that feet grow to standard sizes or the shoe manufacturers design shoes that are flexible enough to fit a range of width as long as the length is okay. The shoes come with the laces inserted now, either a machine does it or one of those under paid foreign workers lace the shoes. There are hundreds of different running shoes to pick from and I have often left a store because I was unable to make that decision. There isn’t a shoe horn anymore, and the only thumb that tests for length is my own. I guess that is because my feet stopped growing about fifty years ago.

I still walk around to see if the runners feel comfortable. I will only buy a pair of shoes that feel comfortable the second I put them on, no “breaking in” period for me. I don’t run to test the shoes out anymore because when an adult starts to run in a store, the assumption is that he is stealing something. I don’t wear my shoes home because if you wear them outside, you can’t change your mind and return them. I like to wear them around the house just to be sure that we fit both physically and emotionally.

It was easier to buy runners when I was a kid, but then I didn’t pay for them or really have any input into the decision, I just had to take my shoes off and run fast.


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