Running Shoe Rerun

I’ve been wearing shoes for most of my life — dress shoes, sneakers, cleats, basketball high tops, running shoes, boots, slippers, etc. — and in all my years I could count on one hand the amount of times I bought the exact same style of footwear twice. In fact, as I sit here at my laptop, I’m having a hard time remembering even one specific instance.

The more I think about it, the weirder this phenomenon seems to me. When I was in college I owned a pair of black and gray Nike Air Flight basketball shoes. I loved them. I loved the way they looked. I loved the way they fit. So why didn’t I buy another pair once I’d worn them out? I have no idea.

My all-time favorite hoops shoes… so cool they just lean against a wall with nowhere to go.

Perhaps stores rotate styles so quickly that when it came time to replace my beloved Flights, my local sporting goods store had moved onto the newest trends. And perhaps the inclination for brands to rotate product conditioned me to a lifetime of ever changing sneaker choices. And perhaps I was young and had conditioned myself to be on the lookout for the next cool thing.

But that was a different time and these reasons no longer apply. For one, as a man in my forties I no longer care about the next cool thing. And thanks to the internet I can find just about any shoe I want. Modern technology gives me so many shopping options I could probably go online and find those Flights from college in less time than it takes me to run a mile. (Spoiler alert… I can!)

My footwear buying habits were front of mind recently as I shopped for new running shoes. After misfiring on a discounted pair of New Balance Zante V2s (neutral my ass!), I was in the market to replace the Brooks Ghost 8s I purchased last year. Call me lazy, but spending a chunk of my weekend in a running shoe store trying on multiple pairs of $100+ shoes didn’t sound appealing. Then I thought, Hey, stupid, why don’t you just get another pair of Ghost 8s? 

The insulting voice in my head was right. I really liked these Brooks and since I knew a Ghost 8 size 11.5 fit me perfectly, I could go online and get a pair without leaving my home or interacting with other humans. Within minutes, I’d found an Electric Brooks/Spicy Orange pair to replace my Anthracite/MethBlue/White pair. (Who the hell names these colors?!)

Meet the new shoes… same as the old shoes.

The experience was made even sweeter when I found these shoes for less than $60 – with free shipping! – at I’d never heard of 6pm before but since I knew they’d fit, I didn’t even bother reading up on their return policy. About a week later, the shoes arrived and I was able to relegate last year’s Ghost 8s to the role of “backup shoes.”

The new Ghost 8s are a few weeks old and they feel great. As an added bonus, I can switch back and forth between the new pair and the backup pair with no difference in how they feel on my training runs.

I’m sure the next time I’m in the market for running shoes, I’ll consider something different. I may experiment with a new brand or go back to Asics, which I wore for a few years. Because while I’ve enjoyed this experience in low maintenance shopping, I probably won’t want to keep buying the same pair of shoes over and over again for the rest of my life.

I’m not that old… yet.

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