23 Sep

Retail Therapy

New Shoes

On his 2006 hit 'New Shoes' Paolo Nutini crooned about the simple joy of pristine footwear, writes Chris Broadbent. "I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right. I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling, it's so inviting." He merrily sang.

The songwriter isn't exactly known for his fondness for exercise, so it's doubtful this ditty was related to training shoes. But I think the song expresses a sentiment that most runners can relate to. It was certainly the case for me when I bought my new running shoes recently.

My trusty pair were coming towards the end of their shelf life. Not that I would dare leave them anywhere near the shelves, such was the odour. It was noticeable that their usual home under the bed had been changed by my wife to outside of the back door. We'd had some good times together, but I realised then that it was time to move on. From the trainers of course, not the wife.

So off I went towards Victoria, a London home of specialist running shops. I like to go where real runners go and less so, where the fashionable go. I am not a huge fan of shopping. But when it comes to buying new running shoes, I could be a match for the retail enthusiasm of the 'Sex and the City' girls.

I take all the time in the world and enjoy every moment of it. First I made a fuss of which shop I was going to buy from, before eventually plumping for my particular favourite. Still, nothing was going to stop me flirting with their rival first. I wanted to see everything that was out there and explore every available option.

I tried on every running brand, even having a test run in every single one. How often do you get the opportunity to do this? Rarely, so I took full advantage. To be honest I find nearly every shoe fantastic. No matter the brand, they are all brand spanking new, colourful works of cutting edge science. I drink in every word of the sale person, who reveals the technology behind each.

I have never been a slave to a particular brand and I eventually opt for a brand I have never used before. They feel just perfect. Again as Paolo Nutini said: "I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right." And they smell exquisite. Even my wife might let them live in the bedroom, for a while at least.