Out There: Inside Pandora’s Shoebox

My name is Susan Lacke, and I am a shoe addict.

Sure, it’s a bit cliché for a girl to admit that – thank you, Carrie Bradshaw – but it’s true. I have a love for shoes. A shameful, fanatical, obsessive love for shoes.

Running shoes, that is.

It hasn’t always been this way. When I started running, I bought a pair of shoes at a department store. I didn’t understand “pronation” or “heel drop” or “midsoles.” I only went by style, and trust me – my first pair of running shoes were stylish. The metallic blue upper and blinged-out soles also, unfortunately, gave me blisters and shin splints. Turns out there’s more to buying shoes than just looking cute.

At the urging of a friend, I visited a running store, had my feet, calves, and gait analyzed by a shoe guru, and plopped down a hundred dollars for a pair of “real” running shoes.

And with one purchase of New Balance 769’s, Pandora’s shoebox was opened.

Today, you can enter house and a pair is just inside the front door, greeting you alongside my three dogs. Look behind the couch, and there’s a lone trainer playing hide-and-seek. His other half is far away, in the laundry room, waiting to be reunited before an easy four-miler. There’s a pair in the trunk of the car, several under my desk, and a set occupying the bottom drawer of the freezer (don’t ask).

Some people may look in my closet and only see evidence of a footwear abuse problem. I just see beauty – beauty everywhere!

My standard trainers, a pair of Asics I’ve named “Pee-Wee” and “Herman,” are always within reach. Next to them, there’s a pair of trainers I wear when I need a dose of inspiration; neon orange K-Swiss Tubes, proclaiming I Stand Up to Cancer.

I have my triathlon flats — Pearl Izumi isoTransitions, which probably should have been discarded long ago due to their smell. I treat them like a loveable, but mangy dog at the pound – no one wants them, so they stay in their crate and get hosed down when the smell starts to infiltrate the adjacent rooms.

There are my big clunky Brooks Ariels, keeping me from pronating severely. The giant 24 mm heels also double as platform shoes for my Lady Gaga Halloween costume.

There are multiple pairs rotating through the collection, depending on the day, workout, and color of my sports bra (hey, sometimes a girl’s gotta feel color-coordinated). And then there are multiple pairs of shoes whose glory days have long passed, but still evoke strong memories.

Though I really only need one good pair of running shoes to accomplish my training goals, I introduce a new pair to my menagerie of footwear at least once a month. Shoes, I just can’t quit you.

But I fear my addiction has caused me to hit rock bottom. Yesterday, a friend of mine shared a photo that led to my demise: A pair of Nike Shox emblazoned in a Wonder Woman motif. Of the past 24 hours, eight have been spent chasing down leads on how I can score a pair of my own. I’m told there are very few pairs, the all of which are too small for my freakishly large feet. I’m considering surgery to remove toes just so I can fit in Wonder Woman Nikes. Money is no object. I will do shameful things to get these shoes, people…up to and including selling my kidney, waxing the body hair off triathletes and other shenanigans that would make your mama blush.

I’ve tried cutting back on my shoe hoarding, but writing for a running magazine only furthers my addiction. With unfettered access to shoe companies, I have found my enablers — my arch support, if you will. In fact, I probably abuse this privilege at times. To my handlers at Competitor: I’m sorry, and if you want to send me to shoe rehab or 12-step program, I will go.

But first, can you help me get the Wonder Woman shoes? They’d sure make the 12 steps look good.

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About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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