by John Schrup
My eldest son, Isaac (three and a half/almost four/46 months/1395 days, give or take a few) has a solid understanding of gift giving. As long as he’s the one on the receiving end, anyway. Giving? Not so much. “You could get it for me for my birthday,” is a relatively common suggestion. One day we practiced unwrapping presents, much, I suppose, in the same way we would practice running in progression or some shit. We spent about an hour, me giving him things that he already owned—light sabers, plastic food, puzzle pieces—and he unwrapping the newspaper over and over and over, always with a well played display of surprise. “Thanks, Papa! Just what I’ve always wanted!”
At some point in these one-act plays, he’ll ask when, exactly, is his birthday again? Can it be tomorrow? He loves his presents, that kid. There is an imaginary list that is updated regularly which contains all the things that he’s ever asked for. “Just put it on the list.” The other boy, Sam, has not a concept for gifts whatsoever, other than that things go in his mouth.
I tell you all this not to impress upon you in any way that my children are any different from any other children you have or know, because they are not. It is not important that Isaac was, actually, the first child ever in the history of the planet to say, “Papa, look at me!” and then to fall down dramatically in a heap.
I tell you all this because I am making my very own list of things I want, and I need to share it with you. What can I say? I’m a giver.
My list is shoes. Go figure. There are several that I’m salivating over, and they aren’t even on the wall yet. In January, some new models are due to arrive, and I’m pretty much so excited I’m in danger of wetting myself. In public. So don’t ask me about the new shoes if you see me in the Central Market. This list I’m creating could end up being pretty extensive, but I’m only gonna give you a handful of them. I’m doing this for your benefit, you know. I’ve had a quad Americano and I’m afraid it’s gonna get wordy up in here.
Zero drop hits the masses. When this whole “minimalist” thing began, Vibram was pretty much it as far as zero drop. Now we’ve got almost everyone in the game and the result is some really nice stuff for you to run in. These are really cushioned shoes with a zero offset, which means that the foot is essentially parallel to the ground. Until now, most zero drop shoes were pretty thin and while they offered some really nice road feel, after several miles…ow ow ow!
I know, right? Brooks, best known for the Beast and the Adrenaline, gets real and introduces the fourth model in the Pure lineup. The Drift fits snug through the midfoot and has a fairly roomy toe box so your tootsies can splay. It will be superduper soft—in that ol’ familiar Brooks way—and will have the flexibility of a gymnast. It will be kinda barefootish, but the softeness and the upwards curve of the forefoot (how the shoe is sprung) is a nod toward the mass market. It’ll be like a house slipper made of cotton candy.
You knew this bad girl was coming. G’on, you knew. Saucony has done wonderfully well with the Kinvara, creating one of the very best shoes on the wall. Light, flexible, good fit. Pretty much all you need in a shoe. Our friends at Saucony already had a zero drop shoe, the Hattori, but the first version was a slip on, which is generally avoided by the masses, and it is pretty thin overall, so it bottoms out after about 50 miles. The second incarnation has laces, but still it is going to work only as a supplementary option due to the lack of material underfoot. Never fear, Virrata is here! The Virrata is, in essence, a zero drop Kinvara. It even looks like the K3. It runs a bit softer, but with more than ample cushioning underfoot, so the zero drop will be more palatable for those of you willing to try. If you are a FOK, you could be a FOV.
Mizuno Evo Levitas/Cursoris
Mizuno is, like ASICS, based in Japan, which means that adapting to market change takes a little longer. You’ve got to go across the oceans to get an ok on something, after all. And so Mizuno, like ASICS, has been a little late in keeping up with the trend toward lighter and lower. Not that Mizuno hasn’t had those options—the Universe is a favorite in the Pose crowd—they just haven’t marketed them as such. Do you find it a little strange, then, that Mizuno introduces two zero drop shoes concurrently before introducing anything else less polarizing? A 4mm maybe? I have to give them credit though, they’re also bringing over from Japan the Ekiden, a very popular racer that can be seen as a beefier Universe. I might be more excited about that one! And, forgive me for being a little picky, but the name Cursoris makes me feel a little nervous, a little dirty. I don’t know why. The Levitas is the more “minimal” of the two, which leads me to believe that the Cursoris will have a broader reach in the market. Though at $120, compared to $110 for the Levitas, maybe not.
adidas Takumi Sen
The Takumi Sen is not a zero drop shoe, but it doesn’t matter: This shoe will make you change your political views. Think of it as a finely constructed, lighter, lower, faster Adios. With a 6mm offset, you’ll feel the ground but it won’t matter because you’ll be flying over it. Designed by the godfather of Japanese shoe design, Mimura, who has designed shoes for just about everyone, including Olympic Gold Medalist Mizuki Noguchi, the Takumi Sen is the real deal all around racing flat—fast, light (4.6 oz. men’s 9) fast! This shoe will make you faster. It will clear up your skin. You will have command over your native language. It will give you confidence in front of a crowd. This shoe will melt your face off.
Put these on the list.
Check it: For those of you who fancy yourself a dedicated runner, a dedicated marathoner, who wants to find out what you’re made of, John coaches Team Rogue on T, Th mornings at 5:30.