Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Running technology


When people have asked about the sandals... well, when I say 'asked' what I really mean is that they've pointed at them and said, incredulously, "what are thoooooose ?" ...anyway, when people have asked about the sandals I've experimented with different replies. None of them have worked.

Responses that I've offered include:
  • I'm a beta tester for Nike and these are secret prototypes of the new Nike Free 0.05
  • I like the bondage look
  • I'm a member of the Brotherhood of Huarache, would you like to see some literature ?
  • Sh*t, what's happened to my shoes !!!
  • and even (pathetically) Wanna buy a pair ?
Once, after the Sydney Morning Herald Half-Marathon, a man tapped me on the shoulder and asked "hey mate, where did you get those ?". Wow, I thought, someone's really interested ! But he was actually asking about the two bananas that I was carrying because he hadn't been able to locate the fruit table.

However, like any other innovative trend-setter (or obsessive outlier) my confidence is not at all diminished by the overwhelming lack of interest shown by the high-tech shoe wearing majority... well, maybe a bit, but not enough to put shoes on and get injured again :)

I'm presently running in my second pair of sandals. They clap out fairly early, the first pair after about 100km. This is because of the tradeoff that I adopted for the prototype phase in which I felt it was most probable that the initial design turn-over rate would be high, thus rendering it uneconomic to invest in materials with a longer expected road life. Or, to put it another way, it's been hard to find cheap rubber door mats that last longer when you turn them into sandals.

The Mk II sandals feature non-slip tape as shown in the photo above. This is the same sort of tape that is used on exterior stair edges etc. and it stops the foot slipping fowards or backwards on the sandal, especially in wet conditions. So far it's worked a treat.

The Mk III sandal is already on the drawing board and represents a technological leap in very cheap low-tech running gear. With the help of the friendly folk at the new Australian branch of Algeos, who supply shoe materials, I am getting some proper soling rubber, made by Vibram, that I hope will give the sandals a road life of at least 500km. Stay tuned...

1 comment:

serena said...

Just reading your blog ( I have only just realised that most people have them) and you actually really DO run in these sandals?! I thought you were joking! Classic, slowmo.
SJ