Dear Brooks Running,
You tell me to “run happy“, and I want to comply. But my running happiness is largely dependent on the mood my feet happen to be in at any particular moment. And lately? They’re cranky, sore, and decidedly UN-happy.
You see, they had a perfectly cozy little place to hang out for miles at a time, a tried and true shoe named the Adrenaline. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Of course you have. It’s your number one selling running shoe. Or shall we say, it was. Because somewhere in the span between 2013 and 2014, one of your brilliant shoe designers (perhaps suffering from severe glycogen depletion) had a significant lapse in judgement and decided to fix what wasn’t broken.
I know what you’re going to say, Brooks. You’re going to try to convince me that the massive redesign was all about improvement. To quote the little ditty that comes up on your website:
Fresh out of charm school, the newest Adrenaline is smoother and smarter than any other. This time we amped up the velvety goodness of the Segmented Crash Pad by adding full ground contact for a crazy nice heel-to-toe transition. Brooks DNA provides adaptable cushioning so your feet will glide through every turn. Heading upstairs, new lacing design evens out lace pressure to create a snug fit, and 3D Fit Print adds a lightweight, flexible, no-stitch fit. With fresh looks and lines, this go-to shoe is ready to fly. The creme de la creme of support, cushion, and balance is the Adrenaline GTS 14.
Then you throw in some convincing third party props to seal the deal:
But don’t take our word for it: Runner’s World Magazine named the Adrenaline GTS 14 “Editor’s Choice” in the Winter Shoe Guide in their December 2013 issue, saying the shoe “boasts all the trappings of a traditional stability model, but rides as smooth as ever.” The editors also praised the GTS’s cushioning, saying it “hits the sweet spot” and is “soft enough for high-mileage training but firm enough to remain stable.”
Et tu, Willey?
What you failed to mention is that you dramatically changed the sizing. I went from a size 9.0 in the Adrenaline 13s to an 8.5 in the 14s. No foot binding required! And as much as I appreciate the optics of being back in the 8-ish range and feeling less conspicuous about my freakishly large feet in comparison to my petite frame, I don’t think vanity sizing is a good strategy when it comes to running shoes. Freakishly large feet be darned, I just want my perfectly fitting size 9.0s back!
Next, can we head “upstairs” and talk about the God-awful lacing design? It hits the base of my toes juuuuust precisely enough to cause massive extensor tendinitis. The aforementioned tendinitis hurt so freaking bad I actually had my foot x-rayed. For real. I thought I broke my toe! But come to find out, it was just a shoe-lace problem. Lovely.
The truth is, Brooks, at least when it comes to running shoes, I like you just the way you are. (Or in this, case, were.) So can you NOT go changing, trying to please me? Because the changing doesn’t please me. At all!
Now, I realize the ship has sailed on the Adrenaline 13s, and I’ll never get them back. (Not counting the 3 precious pairs I’m hoarding in my closet after scouring the whole of the Internet for the last known pairs in my size). And it’s obviously too late for you to un-“improve” the 14s (and by now, the 15s). But perhaps you can do a retro line in 2016 that brings back the classic, tried and true Adrenalines we all know and love? I swear if you brought back the old fit, I’d even buy the pink ones!
But hurry up, Brooks. Because it stands now, I’m one loose shoe lace away from kicking your kicks to the curb for good, and Asics Kayanos are looking mighty cozy right about now.
So, as Kenan Thompson would say.
Step 1: Fix
Step 2: It
Step 3: FIX IT!
Running Unhappy in Alaska