Here are two stories I've recently become aware of through a a couple of enablers.
In the November 28, 2020 online issue of The Guardian, Simon Usborne has told well the tale of recent history's race to develop the ultimate racing flat. He has given us a broad picture of the efforts of Nike and Adidas and less so of a few others to meet the challenge of helping runners get faster with what they put on their feet. Not all of the secrets are revealed here, but there is a lot of information in how Nike prepared to meet this challenge and then how Adidas responded. It also looks at what the individual who if fast enough to get their hands, or should I say 'feet' in a pair of these super technical shoes must also think of their performance in them. "Was it me or was it my shoe that made me so fast?" That, my friends, is the question. In my personal training log, do I need to put the efforts and the miles in a supershoe in a different color or mark those days with a big winged asterisk? A friend in the business told me recently, that if we had worn these super shoes thirty or forty years ago, we wouldn't be limping so badly now that we are in our sixties and seventies. That reasoning would certainly give me justification now to have chosen to wear them. The old "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain" theory. Or the seven P's: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Also interesting in this article is the description of how at a major race for elites, the current pandemic has pushed race organizers into extreme measures of keeping athletes isolated from each other to protect them and to protect the event from being cancelled by Covid contamination. The athletes sequestered in a hotel prior to the race were forced to wear collars that would beep if they came within six feet of another runner. They were put into individual tents near the start to get 'dressed' to race. We don't want to be forced to withdraw and at the same time reduce exposure of the brand. I have to ask if in those circumstancess are we more worried about the person or the product.
In Usborne's article he mentions that the current price, if you can find them, of the Adizero Adios Pro is US$226 and the Alpha Fly is US$345. The Alpha Fly is said to be good for 200 miles of running, then you have to get new ones. At 50 miles a week, that's roughly 12 pair a year at a cost of US$3,883.60 a year. A piece of cake if you're well heeled, but a desperate challenge if you are a poor Ethiopian goat herder in the middle of the war in Tigray province or even a recently layed off bartender at Hooters.
by Molly Hanson
in November 13, 2020 Podium Running
This second article discusses a new method of shoe manufacture, sales and distribution that combines a sense of environmental sustainability with some modern aspects of marketing through replacement and recycling. Only question here is, "How good are the shoes?" Three companies are currently working on new production and distribution methods. Ever hear of 'Circular Economy Principles'? They didn't teach that when I was in school. Goes against the principle of 'Planned Obsolescence'. As if we all didn't know, producing a pair of running shoes creates approximately 30 pounds of carbon emissions in the manufacturing process, the dyes pollute the water, and we kill the environment in Bengaladesh where some of this work is done. That makes production of running shoes the 17th biggest producer of carbon dioxide emissions. Probably right behind brewing beer, our other great need in life.
When I think of the high numbers of people who are actively running, I realize a very high percentage of those people even care about how well they are performing and whether a super high tech shoe would help them to break 4 hours for a marathon. Many of these plodders only wear those shoes to shop at Walmart, and they will be more concerned, if made aware, about the effects on the environment of the product on their feet. So even major brands may soon have to take that fact into into consideration with the product they are currently producing. If say, 30% of all their sales were to environmental sustainability believers, that would be a huge chunk of their sales. They might well find people turning away from their brand. "Mommy, I want an ecologically friendly shoe for my birthday." So these recyclable shoe 'pioneers' may well have a long term effect on the industry. This is a very interesting article, well worth spending some time on this holiday weekend, or even next week. And what can we do with all these discarded masks I see lying on the ground? George
Two good articles, one about price and the other about the environment. I had no idea how much pollution a shoe creates. Are they ever recycled?
The cost of running shoes are outrageous today. I was looking at the new Nike air zoom alphfly next. It interests me because I need a lot cushioning in the forefoot and metatarsal area. The lowest price was $385! Are you freakin kidding me! In runners world shoe ratings they say $100 is a good price. I’m sorry. I come from a different era Mike Waters