I HAVE MOVED

After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.

Harold

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Road Trip to Boston - Part 1

After a lot of thought I have decided to move some of best of my old posts from Aging Runnah and A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.
Originally posted on: November 14, 2014

Last week, I decided to make a road trip to Boston and planned to do some running, meet some people and maybe a little shopping on the way back.
Why did I choose to go down to Boston, when I hate traveling to the big city, especially this time of year when the weather is so unpredictable?
Puma has solicited for running shoe wear-testers a few times over the past few months and I thought to myself, why not, I wear size 8.5 to 9.0 and threw my name into the hat.
Well for some reason or other they accepted me as a wear-tester.
Which I thought was pretty cool. While I have applied to be a wear-tester in the past for several other brands, except for one pair of New Balance back in 2002, I haven't been selected. So I was pretty psyched.
One of the parts of the selection process was that you had to get your feet measured on a Brannock Device and I came in at a solid size 7 or just over.
Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 11.24.00 AM
 
mmmmm I haven’t worn size 7.0 shoes, since well...not since I was a teenager and based on that I wasn’t really what Puma is looking for (they want that perfect size 9.0 - like most of the other brands).This running shoe size difference is something that I have whined about so many times and I wanted to find out more about why I had to wear size 8.5 to 9.5 in running shoes when my Brannock size was so much smaller, especially since I really liked the idea of wear-testing for Puma.
So last week I asked if I could set up a meeting and go visit John and Eric at the Puma wear-testing office in Boston (on my dime) and get this foot measurement thing figured out. Also, I like being able to put a face with the name and find that you can do more, talk things out more easily if you have had some face-time with someone.Once I get an idea in my head, I tend to hold on to it until I get an answer and this shoe size thing has bothered me for a couple of years. So I figured that I should be able to get at least some of my questions answered by John and Eric.
Of course, Monday was one of the most miserable days to drive to Boston from Maine that I could have picked. Once I got to Gardiner until I got to Kennebunk, I had to drive through snow, sleet, freezing rain and heavy downpours - you know just wonderful driving conditions for 3-4 hours one way.
 
Driving through Portland in the snow/sleet 11/17/14
Oh well, I made it to Boston, then with the “no cash” signs on the Mystic River Bridge worrying me, I got off Rt 1 and wandered around Everett for a little while, before I found my way over to Charleston and finally where I needed to go in Boston proper. Hey, I found parking ($35 for the few hours I was there - ouch!) and got to the Puma Office. Nice offices, but downtown Boston - no thanks.John and Eric graciously took time out of their busy day to measure me on the Brannock Device again - yep perfect size 7.0 on that thing and talk to me about running shoes, Puma's running shoe division, what a wear tester does for them and all kinds of other stuff.No photos from here on. :-)Then I tried on several styles of shoes and their size 9.0 was definitely a size 9.0 and way too big for me. Which really sucked, I figured out pretty quickly, I was going to be pretty useless to them as a wear-tester and when I said that in typical "Harold blunt speak", we all laughed, but they agreed with me.
We discussed that they didn’t have a lot of opportunities for wear-testing in my foot size and that while they would keep me in the database for opportunities that did arise, but that were not expecting there to be a lot of opportunities for me. Oh well...bummer, not a big deal and we joked around about it for a bit, but I was disappointed, because I think I would do a very good job as a wear-tester.
Oh well - so much for not being a size 9.0.
Then we got to talking about what John was seeing in the differences in shoe sizing among the different brands and why even with my small feet that I am wearing any where from an 8.0 to 9.5, even though the Brannock Device measures my foot as a 7.0. John explained how European fit (snugger) versus U.S. (wider-looser) fitting preferences affects the different brands sizing. Which I found fascinating and didn’t realize how the philosophies in sizing are different for different markets: European, Japanese, U.S. etc.
I learned a lot and understand the differences a little better than I did before, but I still hate the sizing inconsistencies between brands or even between brand styles or from year-to-year. I wish that someone would standardize the shoe sizing and make it a lot easier for everyone.
I enjoyed the discussions about the direction that Puma Running is going and how there will be a lot of very interesting stuff and improvements coming out of Puma Running over the next few years. I even got a sneak peek at some of the new stuff and I was impressed.
After we had talked for a while and they got to know that I am really a running shoe geek. I think that John and Eric felt a little sorry for me having driven down to Boston, in the crappy weather and not being able to really do much in their wear-test program. So after trying on/looking at several shoes, John went into one of the stacks and brought out a pair size 7.0 pair of shoes and asked me to try them on…surprisingly to me, I got my foot in them without any problems and while they were snug, they fit.
John explained that this would be a great example of how European fit was - snug and no slop in the fit. I haven’t worn my running shoes this snug since high school (our cross country coach made us wear running shoes we could just get our foot in and usually a this kind of snugness nowadays usually causes my Tailor’s Bunionette to talk nasty to me.
I ran up and down the corridor a few times and you know something they felt really good, snug but not uncomfortable and didn't bother my Tailor's Bunionette (I ran in them for 6.0 miles in very good treadmill speedwork session yesterday - no problems). I can’t get into which shoe it is, do the photo routine or talk about them until after they are released next spring - that NDA thing.
Although, the wear-testing for this model is done, he asked me to give them feedback on them and how they were working for me and if I get around to it next spring to do a full review of them on my blog, if I wanted to.
So while, I probably will not be doing a lot of wear-testing for Puma, because I do not meet their foot size needs, I did get a glimpse into some of what they are doing, which I was impressed with, plus I got to meet Eric and John - great people and very knowledgeable about running shoes.
Who knows, I am in the Puma wear-tester database as a size 8.0 (I talked John into that instead of a 7.0 or 7.5), which is where he planned to put me and someday they might have a need for someone with small feet to test a pair of shoes.
So while I am a Puma wear-tester, I won't be very active.
Oh well, if I only had bigger feet. hehehehe -- don't go there.
Yes, I brought home those shoes and will be running in them over the next few months. I am still pretty amazed that a pair of size 7.0 shoes fit my feet! However, they are under NDA until spring, so no photos or talking specifically about them. Bummer.
I know that I really enjoyed the visit to the Puma offices, getting to meet Eric and John was great and best of all I learned a lot. So even though I probably won't be getting too many opportunities for wear-testing for Puma, I consider myself a part o the Puma wear-testing program.

After Puma

Originally, I had planned on running along the Charles River and then back along Atlantic Avenue down to where I used to work, but due to the pouring rain and nasty conditions - it was just too miserable to enjoy the run, I decided to wait until another time, when the weather wasn’t so miserable.

All I know is that every time I go down to Boston, that I am so very thankful that I no longer work down there. I am happy living up heah, where life is a LOT slower and traffic not nearly as bad! Could I do it - sure if I had to, but I don't have to and have no wish to get back into life in the fast lane.

It was time to head North again.
If you want to keep reading about the rest of the this wonderful you can go to Road Trip to Boston - Part 2.

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