Friday, August 3, 2007

It's all in the name...

I need new running shoes. I discovered that after 10+ years, the people in charge of R&D over at Adidas decided to change the shape/fit/form of my preferred Trail Response and the new shoe is not the same shoe that I trained in exclusively back in the college days.


Which is too bad since I really liked that shoe. A few years back (2004, I believe) when I casually started running again in the off season, I picked up a pair of Adidas Precision trail and really liked those. They fit well and they were cheap... unfortunately they don't seem to make those anymore.

So here I am in search of a new shoe that will serve my needs - semi curved last, not too much cusioning, trail friendliness, and under $90.

A careful dissection of the latest Eastbay catalog revealed that shoe names have evolved quite a bit in the years since my absence from the sport commenced. And the marketing people are in a desperate attempt to give the shoe a name the reflects what it's made for, but also has a sense of glamour, speed, or flash. Somewhere they went a little off track with their names. Back in the day I ran in Nike Air Icarus (what a fiasco that was), Nike Air Verona (nice shoe, didn't work for me), Adidas Response Trail (my one and only true love), Nike Air Structure Triax (bad, bad bad) and one pair of Saucony Grid something or other as lightweight trainers/road racing flats. Today I run in Mizuno Wave Riders in road races, but I need new trainers since I realized my most recent pair of Adidas trail shoes were causing me problems (namely, they are too wide for my feet). Here's a sample of what is available out there:

I remember when Nike premiered the Air Max running shoe. They have since expanded the line to include the Air Max 180, Air Max 360, and the Air Turbulence.

Air Turbulence? Is anybody home over there? And while we're on the subject, how about an Air 90, or an Air 45? Or perhaps an Air Meridian or an Air Latitude or something...

Then we have shoes like the Asics family: the Cumulous, the Nimbus, the Stratus...
umm, why are they all named after clouds?

Adidas has the ClimaCool Rotterdam IV...that is way too many words for 1 shoe...almost as bad as having a name like Thomas C. Mapother IV.

Brooks has the Beast and the Ariel. Spare me the Disney character names, please. They also have the Glycerine...glycerine? Isn't that a Bush song?

New Balance has always stuck with numbers - that is safe. But boring. Number tell me nothing about the shoe.

Saucony: the Grid Omni, Grid Hurricane (her we go again with the weather references), Grid Tangent (oh look, geometry..that's never been done before..) Saucony needs some originality. I do give them credit for simply adding the word "Pro" to the shoe name (ProGrid Triumph, ProGrid Hurricane) and charging roughly $25 more for the extra syllable.

Speaking of originality, there is a lot of overlap in shoe names. Adidas had a Precision Trail (this I know because I own a pair, even though the fact laden world of the Internet appears to have no prior evidence of such a shoe), Mizuno has a Wave Precision. Most trail runners have the word "trail" in them - Response Trail, Trailfox (Puma... apparently they didn't realize that a Puma already kind of implies mountainous terrain, so they figured changing species wouldn't further confuse the consumer); Excursion TR2 (oh, we're going on an excursion. Good thing you added the TR on there so I knew what type of excursion it would be - why, that of the off road variety).

I wish I were in charge of naming running shoes. Here is my list of tentative model names:

Nike Air America - they retail for $300 because unlike every other Nike shoe, they are not assembled overseas in some third world Southeast Asian sweatshop by a 6 year old who earns 37 cents a day in wages

The Asics Gel Cumulonimbus - dark, puffy, shoots water out at you

Saucony GridLock - I don't really have anything to say about this one, except that gridlock implies not this one if for those posers who buy the shoes and then leave them on a shelf in the closet

Brooks Glycogenesis - this one makes sense. I'm getting an intellectual property patent on that it, punk?

New Balance - the DNF and the DFL. Maybe a DNS as well. The track spike could be The Scratch.

Adidas Don'tFuckWithMe - the ultimate in off road trail running

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