A short while after buying the Gazelles, I bought the Tiger Marathons at a sports store for about $18-$19. They were thin and light and had a nylon upper. I didn't feel the cushioned happiness that I got from the Gazelles, but I felt in contact with the ground when I ran. The rubber on the bottom was long wearing and they were another pair of shoes that I wore long past the days where they still looked respectable on your feet. I remember I even duct taped them together at times to get more use out of them. These were minimalistic shoes in the best sense of the word and are why probably to this day I enjoy light thin minimalistic shoes. Sure they often slapped the ground, particularly after the front sole of one pair started coming unglued so that the front of the shoe opened like a mouth as I ran, but they were a memorable shoe and the shoe that let me first "think" that I was a real runner. The Tiger Marathons are not to be confused with the Tiger Pinto whose upper looked the same, but the sole seemed even thinner. I never had a pair of Pintos or the Nike equivalents of either shoe, but my teammates did.
|The Tiger Marathons were still good enough to climb Mt. Cadilac in Maine that summer.|
|...and to wear the next year along with tube socks.|
#2) The Nike LDV: Most people will agree that the Nike LDV is probably not the greatest shoe that Nike has ever produced, but it is one that I wore that I bought quite a few times when I was running in college. It was comfortable, had more cushioning and a taller and "wider" heel than other shoes at the time They also seemed to be more "technologically" advanced as Nike was getting their "foot" in the door and a name for producing running shoes that were "different". We pretty much "were convinced by Nike that they had to be right with all the technology they started putting into shoes-even if the science was dubious! They even had a pair of running shoes with a wider flair at the heel. I already had been wearing the Waffle Trainer which was similar to the Tiger Marathon in the upper, but had that famous "waffle" sole instead of the flat rippled sole of the Marathons. The Waffle Trainer was more cushioned and a bit more unstable than the Tiger Marathons and every time I got a new pair they always seemed to rub and blister me on the top of my foot. I bought a remake of this shoe over 10 years ago and did some running in them and got the same blister. The LDVs seemed to work for me while running and they were great shoes for kicking around in too! I bought some Nike remakes of this shoe a while back and the reissues felt nothing like the original.
|1979 Edinburgh, Scotland sporting a pair of worn-out Nike LDVs.|
I traveled all over Israel and Europe one summer rotating two pairs of these shoes.
One of my many pairs of Puma H Streets
|My H-Streets at the 2008 Applefest half-marathon.|
|The Asics Tiger-Paw|
|The Tiger X Caliber from 1980.|
|Not to be confused with the X-Caliber GT|
|There are the Tiger X Calibers post college X-C race in 1980. |
The design is pretty similar to the Tiger-Paws
that came out over 20 years later.
|Tiger-Paws at the Newburyport 10 miler early-mid 2000s.|
|They don't make colorful wetsuits like this anymore!|
Finishing the swim at the 1987 Cape Cod Endurance Triathlon
just a few weeks after getting locked out of my car.
|Hovering over the finish line at the 1986 Cape Cod Endurance Triathlon|
in my Nike Sock Trainers after traveling 140.6 miles wearing a Speedo!
|My Hoka One One Bondi B's with a pair of my Puma H Streets:|
two of the most dissimilar running shoes you can find,
but I like the feel of both on my feet!
As you can tell I am very passionate about running and running shoes. One criteria I had for choosing my favorite shoes had to do with how they felt on my feet. I would like to also write about something else I am passionate about and for a people that I have a lot of compassion for and that is the children and adults from the Mathare Valley in Nairobi, Kenya. Bunched together in a tiny tin-shacked shanties live close to one million people in one of the worst slums on planet earth. I had the pleasure last year of visiting and teaching in some of the schools in the Mathare Valley. The streets of Mathare are open sewers filled with trash and most children do not have a pair of shoes to call their own as they walk around in the fifth.
|Some of the boys I met at the Joska School in Kenya.|