I bought a new pair of running shoes today. There’s a specialty
running shop here in Charlottesville, Ragged Mountain, staffed by a
crew of young, fit people with disgustingly good abs. The guy in his
early 30’s that helped me find something for my freakishly misshapen
feet, kept ‘analyzing my stride’ and talking about ‘pronation’ and
‘support’ and ‘motion control’. It’s weird; I’ve heard all of those
words before, but in the running world, they all mean something really
different than they do in the rest of reality.
I tried on about 20 different pairs, and the guy kept trying to
tell me how each shoe would solve this problem or that; problems I
never even knew I had. I couldn’t even kept track of which shoe fixed
what problem. Or what the problems were. My only major concern, personally,
was that a big guy like me would get enough cushioning underfoot.
Like, say, floor pillows. Or queen-size mattresses, maybe.
Clearly this guy was used to selling shoes to people who run
marathons every other weekend, who have very complex footwear needs.
My needs are much, much simpler. I need a pair of shoes I can walk in
for a few weeks, then jog in for a month or two, then set in my closet
for six months until the whole cycle starts all over. I didn’t have
the heart to tell him this. He seemed like he was having fun.
 Are you one of those fit, trim running-type people? Let’s
try a little thought experiment. Imagine yourself running. You’re
running along, making good time. Now imagine a clone of yourself,
sitting on your shoulders. Not running so fast now, are you? Now you
know why we big folks keeping talking about cushioning, okay?