I Didn’t Mean For It To End This Way

shoe
It’s probably better if you just go.

It all started a few months ago when I worked at a running store. Among the rows and rows of shoe boxes, one box happened to catch my eye. Inside that box rested a pair of sleek and lightweight trainers with soles that looked cushiony and supportive. Just my type. At first, we politely greeted each other with a nod or a quick smile but pretty soon we began to build a friendship. I thought nothing of it, after all, I was in a long-term relationship with my Nike trainers and things were pretty serious.

During one particularly slow shift I decided to try them on, promising myself it was purely professional. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be ill-informed should a customer ask me a question about them … right? The second I slipped them on my feet, I could tell they were special. They fit like a glove and hugged my huge boat-feet in all the right places. My head was spinning as I took a power-walk lap around the store, relishing every inch of their smooth fabric against my toes. These trainers were out of this world!

And so it began. Every day I started my shift by slipping out of my old knock-around shoes, and slipping into a pair of those magical trainers. Then when my shift ended, I returned them to their box and went home to my Nikes with a guilty conscience but very happy feet. I justified my behavior by telling myself that I was simply experimenting.

Besides, emotional affairs don’t really count as cheating … right? 
Eventually I moved away and we lost touch. I thought that would be the end of my tryst with another brand and did my best to forget about them. Fate and destiny, however, were not going to let happen.

One morning at post-long run brunch with a friend I happened to notice he was wearing a pair of the the shoes. When I pointed them out, his eyes lit up and he gushed about how fantastic and comfortable they were! He let me slip one shoe on my left foot and I was instantly flooded with memories of the few months I had spent experimenting with those shoes. Those magical shoes. My magical shoes.

My shoes watch as I order a new pair
Don’t look at me like that…

I spent the next few days agonizing over whether or not to finally commit and purchase a pair. I mean, my Nike trainers were safe and comfortable. Sure they left me with achy knees and shins every day. And yeah, my ankles were raw and bleeding from being kicked by their bulky rubber bottoms. But it wasn’t them, it was me! It wasn’t their fault that I had bad form that caused me to kick myself and a bum left hip that made my knee ache … right?

It was a Wednesday afternoon when I found myself on the website with an itchy clicking finger. I just knew I had to do it. My finger trembled as it hovered, my Nike trainers glaring knowingly at me from under my desk, where they waited for my afternoon run. I hesitated … then … click … it was done.

It’s been three weeks now, and I’ve never been so happy in a shoe relationship before. My ankles are healed and I no longer scare my coworkers when I wear a skirt. The constant ache in my legs disappeared, and most importantly, they look really freakin’ sweet! There are still days when I spot a Nike footprint on a trail and feel a little twinge of sadness, but I know now that we’re better off as casual friends, because I have finally found my true sole-mate.

Are you loyal to a certain shoe brand or do you mix it up? Do you have a dramatic story of shoe-switching?

I'm an aspiring elite runner from the DC/Northern VA area. I love road racing and am currently training for a half marathon in April. I write about attempting to balance a career with running and enjoying the process of training and improving!

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8 comments

  1. Ooh, I had the exact same sort of guilty relationship with my first pair of Adidas Boosts. For almost two years they were my running savior. Until I discover trail running and the PureGrits and a new love affair started that I hope will last forever. Dear Brooks, please don’t change my shoes.

  2. I’m currently playing the field after my trusty Asics decided to betray me. My first few dates with my new Brooks ended with pain, so back to the dating pool I go. It’s hard when a happy marriage ends.

  3. I want to start experimenting with another brand but I’m scarred that if I invest the money, go for a few runs in them and don’t like them I won’t get my money back or even exchange them for something else. So I stick with the same brand because it works.

  4. I was a serial monogamist first with Nike then with Brooks. However, once I added racing flats to the mix, it opened up a new set of brands and a switch from monogamy to playing the field — across brands and models. First, I added Adidas Adios Boost which got me trying the Energy Boost as a second set of trainers (OK, but I’m between sizes and they just don’t fit as well as they should). A bad review of the latest Defyance (and no online availability for last year’s model) got me to try the Adrenaline from an online sale (too much support, but I’ll wear them in the rotation until they wear out). I bought Brooks Launch before Boston because I didn’t think my feet would survive 26.2 in the Adios Boost (or my Go Meb which I also got on sale and have used for speedwork/racing). Love the Launch but I they will probably wear out fast as trainers. So, right now,I am continuing to play the field. I think my feet work well to switching across shoes as long as I use the right models for the right workouts. I think I’ll go back to the Defyance or just buy Launch in bulk when I find the right sale as my trainer of choice. Brooks seems to work for me (at least now) but I am definitely willing to try new things, especially when you can get them 1/2 off online.

    1. With shoes, at least, I think it’s okay to be a polygamist! I’ve favored Mizunos for years, but at any given moment I’ve got models from at least 4 brands in the rotation. They each have their strengths and weaknesses and I love them all.

  5. I switched from Nike 5 years ago after having lots of issues with ITB and other random aches. I went to a local running store on a whim (and in a dress- random thing I remember, running on the treadmill in a sundress), and a guy recommended the Kinvara’s. I tried them on, instantly knew it was right and have not ran in anything but Saucony since then!! Granted I use more than just the Kinvara’s at this point, but they are my GO-TO for running. But my other shoes are Saucony models as well, for me the brand has been a great fit (literally and figuratively) so I stay loyal to them.