By Dave Southwick
To those who recently urged me to discard my dirty holey aging running shoes, you will be pleased to know those shoes have been consigned to the bin.
That means I am down to nine pairs of running shoes. Only nine, pathetic, isn’t it, for a keen runner. I used to have about 25.
There are my current day to day running shoes. My wet weather or muddy course shoes, my tired legs shoe and the flash new ones from Smith’s Shoe which I haven’t worn yet because they are too new.
I grew up on the very good New Zealand shoes called Road King. They were made of calf skin uppers, a layer of padding and gristle sole. They were simple, uncomplicated and functional in a way that many of today’s shoes aren’t.
Below: ‘The Road Kings & Kings of the Road’ – Dave on the right, during the Hamilton Marathon 1971
Everything changed in the early 70s when Bob Anderson of Runner’s World Magazine began shoe surveys. Even the big names of shoes had to make much better shoe or be left behind. Adidas made he most awful road shoes ever made. New Balance had some models that looked like they came from another planet. Asics arrived on the scene with some very good models and Nike grew out of them.
I can recall the rise of Asics, or Tiger as they were then known. One leading runner, said, here is the address of Tiger in Japan. If you send them $10 they will airmail you three pairs.
I still have a pair of the Tiger Boston. In the early 70s Runner’s World proclaimed Tiger Boston to be the best shoe in the world. They were sheer delight for everything from day to day runs to marathons.
I have three pairs of spikes. One gets used for cross country, one is reserved for very wet courses and I still have my superb Adidas spikes for use on Porritt Stadium. I haven’t used these for about 20 years because my legs are too far gone. I keep them to remember glory days and in the delusive hope that there will be a day when I wear them again.
If you see someone flash by in precious new shoes, it could be me