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Mid-Foot Strike! (Newton Running)

I’m a slug…  Really…  I am.  I eat, sleep, go to work, eat, sleep.  In the middle of that, I’m able to squeeze in a few hours of quality time with my wife and kids.  Oh!  My wife and I also get a weekly massage from our favorite home spa.

Why is it then, do I have a photograph of a pair of Newton Running shoes?  Well, it involves a floor-to-ceiling mirror, an ever tightening pair of pants and my wife thinking of a name for my belly.

It wasn’t always this way.  There was a time, I could be called “sporty”.  Athletic even!  Well…  Not really.  But!  But!  I was living a fairly active life.  Involving myself in a mutitude of leisure sport activities, such as, but not limited to:  futbol, golf, scuba diving, basketball, badminton, partying (?), hanging out at the beach every weekend (?), and many other activities similar to the foregoing.

So it was, while dining in a restaurant called Simply Thai in Greenbelt 5, that my business partner convinced my wife and I to take up running.  We don’t really know how it happened.  Somewhere between the phad thai and the beef rendang, we said yes.  Oh, well…

Half an hour later, we found ourselves in Bonifacio High Street registering for our first run.  My wife was prudent enough to join the 3K run.  But, because I was a fool and the thought of running a paltry distance of 3K just didn’t sit right with my masculine side, I registered for a 10K run.  Yes, a 10K run.  Hah!  (Chest thump).  Of course, after realization set in, self-doubt began to take over.  I realized that I’ve never run continuously for more than 3 kilometers in my life.  What if I don’t finish?!

Lovingly, my wife took my arm, looked at me with her most supportively determined face and said, “Looking good is more important.  We must get new shoes!”  (I swear that in that moment, I saw fire in her eyes).  She led me across the gardens to RUNNR and without batting an eyelash began to select her new running outfit.  I, on the other hand, methodically examined the numerous shoes offered.  They were categorized under “stability”, “cushioning” or “neutral”.  Not understanding why, I turned to the salesperson for some help and was told that people have different ways of running so I had to choose the right kind of shoes in order not to get injured.  He guided me to a contraption that would help analyze my gait.  Anyway, after all of that, I ended up with the Newton Running shoes in the photograph.  Needless to say, my wife was already at the cashier with her Newtons and a “few” other items such as her Nike shorts and a running top from Equipe.

Newtons are very comfortable.  The sole offers a lot of cushioning and support, while the portion called the “upper” is soft and well ventilated.  What sets it apart though, are the “lugs” located in the forefoot area of the sole.  This design forced me to correct the way I strike the road when I run, aside from the fact that they offer a lot of shock absorption.  Newton Running takes the science so seriously that there are even on-line tutorials (Go to YouTube and type in “Newton Running”) on how to best use the shoes.  Cool!

We’ve been running an average of 5K every other night since then (We’re night owls) and I did finish my 10K run.  Amazingly, my back, legs and knees don’t hurt after every run.  Our Newtons really work as promised and it has helped my wife and I find a common sport that we can enjoy together.

On to the next run!

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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Magnificent (Magnanni)

 For those people who have read my previous posts, they would know that I have this thing for shoes.  Dress shoes.  The kind that guys like me who have shunned the corporate world don’t have any practical use for.  Yes, we may, on occassion, have the need to slip our feet into handmade leather loafers.  But, since these occassions are quite few and far between, a couple of pairs would be sufficient.

Right…

As if a woman would be satisfied with just a couple of bags…

Anyway, I was aimlessly walking around the mall one day, enjoying its cool, airconditioned confines.  As it was an aimless wandering, I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going.  When I was just about done with my Chai Tea Latte, I looked around for a rubbish bin to dispose of my cup.  I asked a person in uniform for some help and realized that the uniform looked familiar.  Taking stock of my surroundings, it dawned on me that my wanderings have taken me into the men’s department of Rustan’s Makati…  Again…

Emotions of guilt and joy swept through me.  Or was it joy first and then guilt?  Joyful guilt?  Guiltful joy?  Whatever…  A plausible excuse must be found to placate my wife’s growing irritation at my increasing clothing bill.  But, wait!  I have not done anything wrong!  It was not my fault that I am back in Rustan’s!  My feet brought me here!  Yes!  My feet!  I had nothing do to with it, so there.

Satisfied that I have not done anything wrong, I finally glanced down at the magnificent pair of Magnanni shoes I have been cradling in my hands while I was undergoing my mental discourse.  Called the “Belton”, its exquisite brown sheen, delicate buckle, hand-sewn leather and the combination leather sole for the forefoot and rubber sole for the heel made me think about the movie Ocean’s Thirteen and how it was able to tastefully blend laid back elegance, impeccable style (care of world-renowned Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue), and careless wealth.

As much as I loved to imagine myself putting on a bespoke shirt, a light linen suit, slipping into these Magnanni shoes and getting into a Maserati Quattroporte (I am a family man, after all), reality must step in.  For the meantime, the shoes must be put back into its display stand and I must walk back to the parking garage, get into my vintage 4×4 and drive home.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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For The Love of Suede (Cole Haan)

Some might think it as odd, but I like going down to my shoe closet just to take a peek inside and to make sure that my “investments” are well-preserved.  Every so often, I take them out for a cleaning (yes, even those that I have not used in a while).  One by one, I unwrap their protective cloth or paper cover, give them a once-over to make sure that no molds have grown (in Manila weather this is a must), and, depending on the material used for their construction, proceed to wipe, dust, buff or brush them.  They are then lovingly and securely re-wrapped for storage.

It might seem a bit on the anal side, but when dealing with shoes that cost more than a month’s salary for most people this kind of care is needed.  Indeed, it has been worth the effort.  Take these brown suede Cole Haan lace-ups as an example.  I bought this pair on a trip to Carmel, California back in 1999.  Yes, that was 12 years ago.  Yet, they look like they’ve been out of the box for only a couple of weeks.

The design is eye catching as it is slim and very contemporary.  Wearing it is a pleasure as the leather is soft and pliable.  The best part of the entire experience is when I run my hand softly against it to feel the luxurious suede nap.  I imagine a cobbler carefully selecting only the best hides for this handmade shoe and hoping that its future owner will have as much pride in wearing it as he had in making it.

Quality really is timeless.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Sleek (Salvatore Ferragamo)

I have a confession to make…  I like shoes.  I mean, I really like shoes.  This is not unheard of among males, but to actually confess it is something different.  It’s liberating to say the least.

Please don’t misunderstand.  I don’t have hundreds of pairs.  I just have a “few”.  And, it’s not an addiction because I do control myself.  I can go into a store and just browse the displays.  After a few minutes, I walk out.  The problem begins a couple of weeks later when I walk back in the same store and “browse” the same pairs.  At this point, I am hooked and the only way I pull myself out of the store is to think about all the bills I have to pay for.  This goes on for a number of times and after every “extraction”, I congratulate myself and give myself a pat on the back for having such discipline and self-control.

Then, one day, it just happens.  I walk into the same store, ready to do the “browse” and step-out routine as always, but it just feels different.  I can sense something is amiss.  I quickly turn to step out of the store, but it is too late.  The force exerted by the Salvatore Ferragamo boutique is too strong to resist.  With my weakened resolve, I am pulled back in.

The salespeople, sensing a kill, er, a sale, put on their best smiles and begin plying me with the most beautiful pairs of shoes they have.  Next thing I know, I am walking out of the store with 2 to 3 pairs of ridiculously expensive dress shoes that I will get to wear once or twice a year, thereby increasing my personal debt by several notches and helping Citibank hasten its way back to profitability.

One of those shoes is the pair in the photo.  It is called the “Amedeo” and it is just superb.  The design is clean and sleek.  The leather used is soft enough to be comfortable.  It also has a strap that adjusts to keep the fit snug and helps to maintain its slim profile.  Two things, though, stand out when viewing this shoe.  First is the hand-stitching, which must have been done by santa’s elves.  Second, and for me, the more important thing, is the absolutely marvelous smell of the calf-skin leather.

Recommended for male shoe addicts.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Blue Suede Shoes (Massimo Dutti)

Well, my shoes are not exactly suede.  But, they are blue and they are leather.  I was wandering around the mall before catching the last show of a movie and decided to browse around the Massimo Dutti store.  I’ve always been attracted by their window displays (Yes, men are very visual) of comfortable, yet sophisticated looking clothes.  Aimlessly, I stepped inside to while away the time.

Honestly, I no longer had any inclination to make a purchase as I already had a shopping bag full of books that would fill my bedside table with a reading pile good for a couple of weeks.  But, seeing the pair of blue nubuck leather sneakers (its called the “deportivo nobuck”) just made me drop all of my defenses.  It transported me back to my teenage years when my infatuation with suede and nubuck leather Cole Haan shoes began.  My vain attempt at walking out of the store proved useless as I just found myself walking into the other entrance.  Neither did it help that the last pair of large size shoes were a perfect fit.

With one, smooth, fluid motion, my credit card made it out of my wallet and into the hands of the sales person who had a huge smile on her face because she just made a sale right before closing.

I’ve had the shoes for a couple of months now.  As can be seen from the photo, they are well-worn.  These shoes just hug my feet.  I wear them with or without socks.  I prefer wearing them without socks as the leather is so soft and the texture feels great against my skin.  The nubuck is getting a bit worn down, but it just adds to its character.  I especially like the way the leather inner lining resembles the material of those deep, soft leather arm chairs that make one think of an african safari lodge or an english drawing room.

This is definitely one impulse purchase that I feel good about.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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