By Christopher Cudworth
In the never-ending quest to differentiate their products from other running shoes on the market, running shoe companies such as Brooks, New Balance, Mizuno, Skechers, Reebok, Nike, Puma and Asics are producing shoes so innovative that consumers almost need an education to keep up with the features and technology that go into each model.
At We Run and Ride, we have wear tested some fantastic products for 2014. These shoes are so new they do not even have product photos available to illustrate their amazing attributes. But we don’t want to hold out on you. So here are the newest running shoe products on the market. Some are designed for every runner, while others have specific niches they hope to occupy in the retail running shoe market. We think you’ll find them all compelling.
This shoe is designated as a Fund Raiser model for 2014. The BoobJob looks just like its name. The toe boxes feature two rather prominent female breasts, complete with aureola and nipples to celebrate the prominence of the female breast in the non-profit world dedicated to wiping out breast cancer. The BoobJob comes in four cup sizes: A, B, C and DD for women and men with wider feet or fat toes. In our wear testing, we found the BoobJob a bit on the rubbery side for everyday running. They were great for plowing through snowdrifts however, and the silicone boobs on the front of the shoe really do provide excellent warmth in all conditions. Suggested retail price for the Brooks BoobJob is $144.99 for the pair.
NEW BALANCE NOTHING
New Balance has been innovating shoe styles for so long they simply ran out of explanations for what their 2014 model really does for runners. Product representatives interviewed about these shoes tell We Run and Ride they are simply going to let the buying public decide for themselves what the New Balance Nothing does for them. Wear testers did report excellent traction from the Question Mark soles. Many also reported experiences in which other runners followed them for several miles asking, “What’s the question? What’s the question?” Given this pattern we suggest the New Balance Nothing may be a great shoe for religious agnostics, Unitarian Universalists, converted Catholics and evangelicals who really cannot decide whether abortion or gay rights is the more significant issue in the 2016 Presidential election.
MIZUNO MS VAGINA
This shoe was designed as a women’s only model but our male wear testers insisted on wanting to try them out. The women pretty much found the Vagina uninspiring while giving it credit for a close fit, even without socks. Men raved about the Vagina however. One enthusiastic wear tester even wore them to work, where he was given a commendation for showing his feminine side and was assigned to a committee to encourage other employees to talk about their feelings during company meetings. All told, the Vagina received passing marks as a running shoe. Its cushiony insoles were particularly popular, and to prevent blisters during marathons the Vagina comes with an available lubrication kit, sold separately. Suggested Retail: $169.99.
Skechers entered the running shoe market a few years back after spending its early iterations making shoes for skateboarders and sidewalk loads. Now the company wants to revolutionize running, and this entry in the market walks an interesting line between a serious running shoe and a fun weekend if you know where to score some dope. The Skechers Rockabye is designed with an Instant Roll outsole. You can run on your heels and scoot along in a reversal to Chi Running. Or, you can lean forward and run on the forefoot as if you’re falling down a skating ramp the entire run. Our wear testers found both running styles rather fun, although a few did wind up with extremely pulled hamstrings and blood on their chins. But considering how much weed they smoked before taking the Rockabye out for a run, they really didn’t care. Because when it’s all said and done, you’re going to kick back, take in some brownies and sleep it all off. Suggested Retail: Make an offer. Seriously dude, Skechers needs the business.
The first shoe manufactured to create artificial hills where there are none, the Reebok Hillmaker continues the Reebok tradition of invented weird-ass workout stuff that lasts about two years and is forgotten forever. With this shoe, think “step aerobics” only you’re moving forward in the same direction and with the same effect as running uphill the entire way. We do not recommend wearing these shoes on an actual hill because you will certainly topple over backwards and wind up with a sick little dent in your occiput. But if you live in Illinois or some other boring, flat state or province, the Reebok Hillmaker can get you in shape for Boston or whatever hilly race you choose to enter. Wear testers tried out the Hillmakers while wearing an oxygen filtration mask to imitate conditions in the Western States 100. One of those wear testers has not yet returned. So if you see a dude laying flat on his back in Kentucky, please give us a call. We need to get the shoes back to the manufacturer. Suggested Retail Price: $79.00 (Originally $179.00.) No one’s going to pay full price for these.
NIKE FART ATTACK
At last, a running shoe that is part trainer and part Whoopee Cushion. Strap on the Fart Attacks and head out on the trail in front of your buddies and let ‘er rip. The sound effects emitted by the Fart Attack are awesome. You can dial them in for squeaky farts or let them flatulate in full Fart Mode. The Fart Dial on the back of the shoes also lets you adjust for the type of smelly air you want to emit from your NIKEs. That’s right, the Fart Attack comes with a set of Fart Inserts. Simply slip one of the Fart Supply tablets in the slot provided in the insole and choose your stench. There are nine odors, including: Sunday Morning Beer Blast, Chili Extra, Post Flu Pandemic, Puzzle Fart, Elementary School Wonder, Foreign Food, Fox Smells His Own Hole and Rectum Hell It Killed Him. The Nike Fart Attack costs $139.99 and each insert lasts approximately one week. Entire pack of 8 Fart Inserts is $29.00.
Ever have a friend who breaks down running shoes before they even leave the store? You’ve got to get them a pair of Puma Phatfoots. These shoes have absolutely no structure or stability features at all. Their sole purpose is to celebrate the Buddhas of running. Hence the rotund forefoot design, which resembles a very round gut and ManBoobs. But honestly, you can’t really tell what gender those boobs are. The Puma Phatfoot is perfect for all weather conditions. It is not only waterproof, it also floats. The carbon-injected insoles soak up as much as 4 pints of water during a 10-mile walk-run. Just squeeze out the shoes when you’re finished and they pop back into shape, whatever that means. Our wear-testers found these shoes a little cumbersome, but one wore them to a bar and reported that his feet came home completely dry. Suggested Retail Price: $200.00. (One catch: You have to put your own Puma Swoosh on the shoes. The manufacturer is too embarrassed to do it themselves. )
Longtime track aficionado and comedian Bill Cosby has been a spokesperson for Jello brand products for years. These two interests are combined in the new ASICS GEL-LO trainer. Cosby himself designed the shoe around the shape of one Fat Albert. That accounts for the round middle and the really high arch. You will never get plantar fascia problems with the Gel-Lo. It is designed for optimal arch support and to make you run like you’re about to let go of a really big turd. And that’s funny, which is why Bill Cosby liked designing the shoe so much. Anything that makes you look like a cartoon from the 1970s is pretty funny, we’ll admit. Only two of our six wear testers got arrested for acting weird while wearing these babies. Suggested Retail: $100 and a subscription to the Bill Cosby Daily Email. (only $29.00 plus tax in most states. )
That’s it so far. No other manufacturers have allowed us to test their Super Secret models so far. But here’s a summary photo of the models we tested, just in case you forgot what we said about them.