From vintage Adidas Dragon to 2012’s Brooks GTS12: a retrospective


Here’s the thing about running shoes. Just when you find the pair you really really like, the company’s “experts” decide it’s time for a change. Ask any long time runner — change is not always a good thing. Back in the early 1980s when I first began running, there was a limited choice of running shoes. The science of running hadn’t yet delved into the complexities of pronation, cushioning, motion control, stability — not to mention the much contested minimalist/barefoot options.
Pity the poor newbie runners confronted by all those shoes. Even the old-timers shudder at the thought of having to replace old favorites.
It occurred to me recently that it was time to start searching for a new shoe. Sadly, Asics had finally decided to quit producing my long-time favorites, the GT2110. I knew this was coming — they’d long warned the shoe was “endangered.”
My search resulted in a sort 0f nostalgic retrospective of the many shoes I’ve run in over the years.
My first pair was a heavyweight faux leather shoe of no particular distinction. I remember them clearly — white with green stripes. They must have weighed at least 3 pounds each — triple the weight of my beloved ASICS.
Those lasted only until I discovered there were real shoes made for runners but as I remember, only men’s sizes were available. My second pair was the ultra cool tan nylon and suede Adidas Dragon, a shoe I would love to have again.

After that, there were a series of Brooks, Saucony, and a horrendous pair of Nikes that were so unbending that I developed the dreaded plantar fasciitis. A wonderful physical therapist took one look at the shoes and wrote a letter to the company insisting that they reimburse me the cost of the shoes.
More importantly, she taught my husband to massage the fascia from the heel to toes — a process so painful that my screams prompted our young daughters to beg their dad to stop. The massages and professional orthotics corrected the fasciitis, but convinced me that I needed a flexible shoe.
Somewhere along the way I discovered Asics, progressing from the Gel versions to my current GT2110.

None of the subsequent GT models have passed muster so it was only a matter of time before I had to face facts. Time to search for a replacement.
Note: Here is where two of my brothers — both of whom read Christopher McDougall‘s “Born to Run,” would lecture me about the futility of buying new shoes.
Okay, so sometimes I listen to them, but this is one of the times when I didn’t. Instead, I hightailed it to my favorite store — Dave’s Running, at their Findlay location. A look at the bottom of my shoes suggested that I overpronate and need something with cushioning and flexibility.
The result? Returning to a brand I once loved…Brooks…the Adrenaline GTS12. It has one thing my feet crave — a wide toe box.
And now…the breaking in has begun. Will these be my next favorites? Only time and mileage will tell.

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