Shoe-ba-doo-ba-doo

I need to decide what do with this little pile of run-out running shoes.

I’ve stripped them of my Spencos (those green innersoles on the bench) and my LockLaces, and replaced their original inners and laces, and have been hoping to find someone who will see that they are put to good use. The problem is that, although they don’t especially look it the photo, they are utterly clapped out inside, especially around the heel counter. I can’t even walk in them without a little discomfort. In other words, they would only be useful to people with a great need and no other solution. There are people in that awful condition in the world, but I don’t know how to reach them. Most collecting agencies specify “gently used.” I know I could give them to Nike to turn into running track surfaces and such, but I’m not all that fond of Nike, and I’d rather find another solution.

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I used to keep all my old shoes in a box, which became a series of boxes, and I remember bringing representative samples to a talk I was once asked to give about running. I was able to present the development of the running flat from the early ’60s to 1980 or so when the event took place. (Riveting stuff, huh? I’ve always known how to hold an audience.)

I eventually realized the absurdity of maintaining a personal museum of historic footwear and trashed the dozens of pairs that had accumulated. I wish now that I’d held out a pair of each type. It’s hard for even me to believe the things we ran in.

The Trackster in the linked article is actually an updated version of this ripple-soled beauty, which didn’t come out until the late ’60s, and was definitely the best cross-country shoe available at that time. I started out in something much more like the shoe above it, and passed through some essentially throw-away Pumas before upgrading. I also had some of those Lydiards, which were actually made in Germany and were very good for early-’70s shoes; a few pairs of those Tigers (and an earlier version with a less structured heel); three pairs of the New Balance 320s before moving on to Nike LDVs; and a single pair of those god-awful Nike Air Huaraches, for the design, production, and marketing of which someone should have been prosecuted.



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