Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 45 Shoes, shoes, and more shoes

Hey, George,

I had my own pair of Adidas in high school. Pretty cool, eh? But then you may recall that I went to high school in Germany, where Adidas shoes were made. I remember them well; red with the three white stripes ( "die drei Riemen", but "Riemen" didn't mean "stripes," it meant "straps"--bet you didn't know that . . .). It was only when I got to OU in the fall of '60 that I got a pair of Rawlins cross country shoes ( I think they were Rawlins). Canvas, with a rubber sole and a separate rubber heel, no less. Blister machines. Just awful to try to run in. They may have still been around when you got there but by about '62 everybody was using either Adidas or Puma.

I enjoy the summaries of the articles. I would bet that Gail Hodgson in South Africa is reliving some of his youth, seeing his name in some of these recent ones.

Take care///walt

Walter H. Mizell

From George:
Yeh, great sidebars in this. The Rawlings Fleetfoot's didn't stay in the game very long. How many other nondescript shoe brands can you remember? When I was a freshman in hs, we shared three athletes to one pair of Riddell's Did they have the white band around the top that would tighten around your achilles tendon. I think they were just football shoes with track spikes. I had to share with a guy who long, excuse me, broad jumped and they were always full of sand and sweat when I got them for the mile. But they looked cool in 1958. Nobody and I mean nobody had Adidas, although when Vandervoorts in East Lansing began advertising them , I was the first kid on the block. They were probably about $12.00 and the first thing European I ever touched, except Leslie Smith's derriere. She was an exchange student from England.

Bill Schnier , U. of Cincinnati Track and Cross Country Coach writes:
I did not really have a spike problem since my first spike were Adidas & college issued in 1965. However, I did have a flats problem because I tried out for my college team in January of my junior year. I was running in white, high-top Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars. Since that was all I knew and since they were much better than my street shoes, I thought nothing of it until my teammates looked down on an early run and laughed at me, asking me how I could run in those big shoes. Shortly after I got real flats then amazingly a few weeks later more real flats. Life was good! Bill

Bruce Kritzler (Savannah, GA and Cross Country coach at Coastal Georgia) writes
I thought those old canvas running shoes with the rubber soles and heals (yellow as I recall) were great! Sure beat the black hightop sneakers I used for my first two years of high school XC. (The same sneakers I wore to school every day.) Ran my first marathon in those canvas shoes - with no socks, of course. Hmmmm, maybe one reason I pounded the crap out of the cartilage in my hip and have a bionic one now.


From George

Hey Walt,
You made my day with the information on the meaning of the word "riemen". Straps, mein Gott! I wonder if some German got it wrong , perhaps hearing a Texan pronounce the word "stripes" to sound like "straps" , and with this phonetic misunderstanding threw in the word for 'straps' in the advertising copy. Pure speculation. I'll listen to Rick Perry more closely, at least for pronounciation.

A further footnote, with those old canvas shoes that we used to wear, and some were made by Converse, I think we were close to running barefoot, much like the current craze. Our feet got tougher in the musculature and we had fewer injuries with the exception of shin splints. I wonder if those were what we call stress fractures now days. For those of you too young to remember those shoes, try running in a pair of canvas or nylon beach shoes. They are almost exactly the same.

I remember Bill Carroll , the Oklahoma coach, learning that Oklahoma City U. under Jack Daniels was doing long slow distance training, and kicking our asses, so he decided to take us out 20 miles in that little jeep with an ammo trailer on the back. with our canvas warmup shoes. He let us off on the Interstate and told us to run home. I could see the campus towers almost all the way back. I had never run more than 8 miles before that. Interstate speed limits were 80 mph back then so the cars and semis were really zipping by. Can't remember if we ran in the median or on the side. Did you do that one, Walt? We also had no water. And after XC and track workouts we used to gobble salt tablets.

*editor's note. Mr. Mizell is a respected attorney in Austin, TX. Ran some very credible 880's for Oklahoma in the early 1960's. And he once held the indoor 880 record at Fog Allen Field House at the U. of Kansas. It took Jim Ryun and an indoor WR to bring it down. He was the child of an army chaplain and attended high school in Munich. Walked on at OU and earned a scholarship his second year. George

Phil Scott writes:
Subject: Re: Fw: JULY 1958

As George and Steve and others know of my track spike Museum in my basement! This collection starts in the 1880's to 2011. My first recolection of getting track spikes came from sporting store . My father thought $15 was to much!He bought them reluctantly. They were black leather, Riddell & rubber sole 6 spikes that were removable. I thought they were gold! Never really thought about weight or color. My first pair of Adidas came my sophomore year. Adidas meteor. Great shoes. I broad jumped 22'4" that year, with know help from my H.S. football part time Track Coach! List of early track spike mfgs. Spotbilt,Magnus,Spalding,J.W.Foster,G.T. Law,MacGregor,Gotham,Hyde,......etc many more!

Phil, what are dads for? My dad took a second job two nights a week at Sear's and Roebuck's garage greasing cars and changing oil. First paycheck he bought a J.C. Higgins glove, because he couldn't play ball barehanded with me anymore. George

Bruce Kritzler
I recall starting with the Chuck Taylors (probably high tops) in junior high (1960-61). The next summer I remember a pair of black leather spikes (with metal spike plate and spikes removed). They finally wore through to the metal, as I usally ran in the gravel along the edge of country roads. The roads were so narrow that cars meeting had to each get two tires off the pavement. Next year i think I graduated to gum rubber sole canvas "trainers". My younger brother ,Doug, got the first real running shoes in the family, a pair of Ridell (sp?) white, with green trim. In college my first pair of adidas were Vienna's, white/red stripes. Mostly Tiger Cortez after that. Managed a pair of Puma velcro strap spikes in about 1969. Should have kept those for Phil Scott's museum. In the 70's had Reebok "World 10" orange/white and "2:05's" purple/white from Ron Hill Sports.
Was doing most of my running a year ago in Vibram 5 finger foot gloves and barefoot on golf course and beach, till I broke navicular bone in ankle. They probably have about the same support as the Reebok's

Roy, and all,
I thought the 70 was your miles/week !

Didn't the adidas 9.9's have a velour leather bottom, behind the spike plate? Cinder track must have tore them up.
I've had miniature, plastic 9.9's (white/black trim) hanging from car rear-view mirror since the 70's!


Just hit 70 (ie, years, not mph) this summer so all this reminiscing about races, shoes and results has been a very nice birthday present.

Anyone else ever run middle distance races wearing those adidas 9.9 "sprinter's spikes?? I was running for the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village in the mid '60s. Those shoes and Cal's lightening fast, hard packed cinder track made me much faster than I should have been.

Roy Benson

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