Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sneaker fetish

CAUTION: My sneaker obsession dates back to grade school, so ignore this entry if you consider sneakers just "another shoe".

Yesterday, my Nike Air 360's came in. As soon as I got them, I took them out of the box, laced them up and put them on. The fit wasn't as comfortable as my Nike Shox TL IV, but figured maybe they'd stretch a bit. After having them on for about 5 minutes, I went out to my car and put them in my gym bag. It was gym night and this would be an excellent opportunity to try out the shoes.

This was the first pair of running shoes I bought online without trying them on in a store first. Most higher end Nikes are made for wider feet and my fit was so comfortable with the Shox, I figured the Air 360's would fit the same way. Like most major online retailers, the shipment includes a return shipping label, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I was anxious to see how they'd feel once I got to the gym.

Once at the gym, I put the shoes on and took a quick look in the mirror to see how I looked. The shoes looked very cool, but as the evening progressed, that's all they were. I began the workout on the elliptical, which lasted about 20 minutes. Then proceeded to the rowing machine, another 12 minutes. Shoes felt fine. Not cushy comfy, but acceptable.

Now it was on to the real test, running on the treadmill. I ran the first mile feeling a bit of tightness in my right foot. I ran another 1/2 mile and now the tightness was irritating my instep. If I had run any more than my usual 2 miles (every once in awhile I'll run up to 3 miles), I would have gotten a nasty blister.

When I finished my workout, I knew immediately I had to return the shoes. Knowing this, I hurried my cooldown, changed, and headed to the Sports Authority store near work. The purple Shox I tried last October were still on display when I was there last week to buy waterproof spray. I figured my chances were good that my size was still available.

Because the Air 360's were a bust and I already had a pair of Shox in black, I should suck it up and buy the purple ones. They were now $50 less than any of the current colors and already knew they fit great. At worst, I'd buy the latest pair of Shox TL IV in white (dirt magnet). Most importantly, my feet would be happy. At that moment, I didn't have the patience to re-order shoes online. I knew exactly what I wanted.

Before I got to Sports Authority, I re-read my shipping label just to see if I could exchange my online order at the store. I couldn't. When I got to the store, they still had the purple in my size. I tried them on again, immediately took them off, put them back in the box and proceeded to the checkout counter. They're now in my gym bag ready for tomorrow night's workout.

I returned the Air 360's this morning. Learned my lesson about buying running shoes. Always try them on at a store first. Non-running shoes are usually not an issue because I buy them at REI or Nordstrom's, and they allow me to exchange or return them at a store if they don't fit.

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