I like to run. I've learned that it really isn't about where you're going, it's about the getting there - the how, the why, the who with. This blog is just a little repository for my thoughts along the way; the setbacks, the lessons learned, and the occasional triumph.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The King is Dead. Long Live the King.

When your shoe company discontinues your favorite shoe, what do you do? Accept change, move on and try out the replacement, or cling to the past and stock-pile the old model? (I think Elaine once had a quandary similar to this on Seinfeld.)

It’s not a decision I’ve faced before. Nike is apparently famous for it. They develop a shoe, offer updates with gradual improvements, get it to where everyone (or lots of people) think it’s just right and then – boom – they scrap the thing, never to be seen again.

I don’t wear Nikes, though. I wear New Balance, and until now, I’ve never faced the loss of my favorite shoe model. But this past Fall, New Balance discontinued production of the 790. It was a trail running shoe that also got a lot of cross promotion as a casual fashion shoe. It was nothing fancy, but the minimal, fly-weight construction isn’t very common in a trail-running shoe. It was kind of like an off-road racing flat. And it was kind of perfect. In fact, I already own three pairs.

New Balance now sells, instead, a completely redesigned light-weight, trail running flat which they’ve dubbed the 100. (All New Balance shoes are named with numbers if you didn’t know.) Same general idea as the 790 – but a totally different shoe.

I hesitated. New isn’t bad. The 100s could be awesome. I already had a set of the 790s. I could just wear those out and, in time, make the switch to the new shoe. Then I started reading the reviews. The consensus? Good but not better. Improvements, but also setbacks. Worst of all for me, the 100s are built on a narrower foot bed than the 790s and I have wide feet.

So, over Christmas, I panicked.

It took a lot of searching online (it’s amazing how many links within links you have to chase to buy certain retail items online nowadays), but I finally turned up a source (maybe the only one) that still had those glorious old 790s in stock in my size. They were at a Nordstrom in Skokie, of all places, so I guess it was the casual shoe market that saved me. I bought two pairs, bringing the total in my possession to five. I nearly bought a third pair, but managed to restrain myself. They were on final clearance sale, too, which was a bitter-sweet silver lining.

Yes, at some point, in spite of my efforts, the end will still come. But I might be able to get three of four years out of the shoes I’ve stashed, maybe longer. Perhaps by then there will be an update (or two) of those 100s and I’ll be happy to try them out for real. Who knows?

In the meantime, I’ll be asking myself one question frequently: is this run 790 worthy?


Chris said...

I don't like the new MT100. Bought 'em and returned them. Did the same as you and found some 790s on sale via the web.

GTI said...

Yeah, Chris your posted review was one that weighed heavily on my decision. (See how much I trust you?)