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Vintage Nike

Monday, November 23, 2009

I've hung onto these since 1980. They're basically nothing but moccasins with the trademark Nike waffle soul. They were the uniform shoe of my high school cross country team, though I don't know if they were chosen for their technical construction or the colors. Green and gold were our school colors and just happened to be one of the choices of the Oregon Waffle Racer racing flat.

With my recent fixation on barefoot running, I'm experimenting with running shorter distances (under 10K) in these no-support, no-cushion shoes, starting with the treadmill since there's less wear and tear on the shoes and more bounce. These shoes require you to adjust your gait from a heel strike to what is supposed to be a more natural forefoot strike.

I tried it yesterday, going 30-minutes at an easy pace. Today, I ran more for speed and concentrated on some form issues. It could just be that I was having a good day and the influence of the shoes was marginal, but I ran well and my feet/ankles/shins/knees feel pretty good. I did a little step-counting and noticed my turnover is a little higher when I'm running more on the balls of my feet than rolling off the heels. It could be psychological, but I just didn't feel as fatigued. Calves are a little tighter than they usually feel, and it does take about 5-10 minutes to adjust.

I'm having "cold feet" about getting those Vibrams. I'm not the sort of person that likes to draw attention to himself, particularly if it's something outlandish like those "gorilla feet" things. Apparently, they can't keep them on the shelves, but I've yet to see anyone wearing them or running in the them. I don't mind so much someone noticing the vintage Nike's. They're kinda cool. Not so sure about the Five Fingers "shoes."

More to follow.


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for the add! Sounds like your waffle shoes are all right, then!

    I brought up the effects of aging rubber & foam also because I work with safety of books and toys & this type foam material quite a bit. These products are never really tested for age-- because those tests don't really exist.

    Plastic / foam is notorious for changing over time and often becomes brittle when left in the sun.

    We get all kinds of complaints on old toys and foam products that were safe when they were first made, but are no longer safe after a number of years -- because parts splinter off, composition changes. Lots of products, too, simply lose their effectiveness -- like Dri Fit clothes that have been through the laundry a few too many times... it's a shame!

    4184 days ago
    That's actually a good point, though there's really no sole cushioning to begin with in these waffle racers. But I had a pair of 15-year old ASICS that I used to run in back before I starting to let myself succumb to lethargy, and when I got back into running again last January or so, I pulled them out and used them for awhile.

    I didn't notice any ill effects, though I wasn't really running hard yet. But I did notice that they basically had no cushioning anymore. What had once been a rather springy "gel" sole was stiff. I wound up getting a new pair of basic Saucony shoes which I've been using since around July, I think.

    The concept of barefoot running by contrast is that your feet don't need a shoes cushioning. The claim is that there's a natural shock absorption in the foot and leg that we learn to compromise when we put artificial cushioning on in the form of the modern running shoe. In other words, shoes change how we run and some say it is inducing more problems than it solves.

    I don't know if wearing old, hardened shoes is bad or not. Probably is, since they probably encourage you to run "wrong" but without even the artificial protection. So tossing those old ASICS was wise, I'm sure.

    These Nike's though...I really don't think they have changed appreciably over the last 25 years. I'm sure the composition of the cushioning material has changed, but like I said, they don't really have that much padding in the first place. They're basically a slipper with a waffle soul for traction. They aren't comfortable for walking around in, and if you're committed to a heel-strike stride, you wouldn't like them to run in either. They essentially demand a mid- or fore-foot strike.

    I ran in them last Sunday and Monday. My calves were tight on Tuesday, but otherwise no other immediate injurious affects. It may have been psychological, but I actually felt like I was faster. My step turnover was definitely quicker.

    Thanks for commenting. I'm going to be blogging about this topic some since I'm intrigued. I may put these shoes away, but not because I'm afraid they'll hurt me. I'm more afraid I'll ruin them, and they're kinda like keepsakes.
    4184 days ago
    I wonder if the age of the shoes has changed the cushioning. I remember looking at my dad's old Nike sneakers when I was a kid, and the rubber had hardened and turned yellow. Surely, they weren't made to last this long.

    I suggest using Nike "Free" shoes instead of these extremely cool old Nikes. You should take these bad boys out on the town!
    4185 days ago
    Is there an art to looking schmick!

    Or do you just have schmick or are schmickless?

    ChiTown Jeff
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Service, Peace, Love, Equality, Compassion, LOL & Hope! emoticon

    4185 days ago
    KINDA COOL??? They ROCK! You can't waste shoes that good looking by running in them, surely? Aren't you just hanging out in some California type of place looking schmick in them?

    4186 days ago
    Stop letting your fashion-consciousness get the better of you! Go for the gorilla feet! In the spirit of Nike, I say JUST DO IT! emoticon
    4186 days ago
    I agree. If you're going to try the whole "barefoot" thing then racing flats (or vintage shoes) would be my first choice over the Vibrams.

    No-one has convinced me that forefoot strike = good and heel strike = bad though, but good luck with your expt and keep us posted!

    Glad you're running again,

    4186 days ago
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