It’s not as iconic, big, or as juicy as Shoe Dog, but Authentic: A Memoir of Vans by Paul Van Doren is a straightforward, if not understated, perspective on business success. Just like the shoes themselves. I enjoyed this quick read and threw it in the growing pile of inspiring American success stories.
Rating: ★★★☆☆. These were some of my favorite passages:
- Hard work, honesty, and caring for people are what yield success. The beauty lies in simplicity, so don’t overcomplicate things.
- My belief is that you can always teach people how to do things. What you cannot teach people is how to understand other people.
- My experiment proved that we did indeed have a serious quality control problem: the people in charge of quality control had no idea what they were looking at.
- When I started interviewing people for jobs with us, the first thing I would do after someone handed me his or her résumé was toss it in the trash. They would be horrified, of course, and get nervous, but when I proceeded to ask questions and have them tell me about themselves in their own words, they relaxed. How else could I find out who they really were?
- We can all recognize that we need one another. I said it at the outset of this book, and I’ll say it again: no one gets anywhere alone.
- Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
If you prefer heavy, protective, and stiff hiking shoes, this story isn’t for you. Go ahead and Google “Keen Liberty Ridge.” They are the mother of all high-performance hiking boots. Seasoned guides swear by ‘em.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something lighter, more flexible, and less clunky, you’ve come to the right place. Having tested more than a dozen candidates, these are the best I could find: 5 alternative—if not low-profile—hiking shoes that rock.
Before listing the winners, remember: you can wear whatever you like while hiking. Said footwear doesn’t have to be gray or brown or chunky or even necessarily labeled for “hiking,” so long as you find them comfortable. Enough preaching. Onto the list. Continue reading…
In 2009, I started running in the ugliest shoes ever. The first time I did it, my calves and feet ached in places they hadn’t before. The second time I did it, I knew I’d never run in cushioned shoes again.
With the exception to select frozen days of winter, in which I run in Nike Free 3.0s to stave off frost bite, I’ve run in Five Finger Classics (pictured) or KSOs ever since. Here’s why: Continue reading…
See those three stripes? They’re called “diva,” not pink, according to Adidas. And the white you see is “running white,” as opposed to idle white. I know because that’s what the box on my kitchen counter says. (They’re not for me, mind you, but the little soccer player I father.)
Adidas isn’t the first shoe manufacturer to use confusing names. I’ve seen red called “fire” on Nikes and blue called “ice” on Reeboks.
The silliness makes me wonder: Could shoe manufacturers sell more shoes by using color names people understand? Granted, people don’t shop by shoe boxes; they shop by display. But I imagine some prospective buyers have crossed an unsuspecting color and decided to pass on it. I know for a fact that ambiguity always hurts your chances.
That said, is there any proof that unconventional (or idiotic) color naming boosts sales? I doubt it.
Either way, at least Adidas got the hueless color right when describing the above shoes. They call it “black.”
Reminds me of when I was a kid. Click for more. Continue reading…
Photographer had me pose like that because I was a running back. Or at least I tried to be.
Fun fact: Those Puma “soccer” cleats are actually hand-me-downs from my older brother—an understandable side effect of growing up with five siblings.
Photo taken in 1993, after numerous bouts of Bull in the Ring. Image courtesy Cathy Snow (Hi, Mom!)
Although gimmicky, Reebok Pump became such a phenomenon in the early ’90s, that even Nike released pressurized knock-offs for a while. That being the case, the above documentary of Pump technology is well worth 22 minutes of your time. Featuring the inventor of the shoe, Dee Brown, Michael Chang, and urban collectors.
See also: Classic commercials: Reebok Pump vs Nike Air
The black coloring makes them look more discreet than they really are. When seen in-person, it’s as if I’m wearing ballerina slippers. (Ridiculous!) Nevertheless, I’m excited to review what’s been called the “next best thing to barefooting” on my daily runs—no heel crashing allowed. Wait for it.
I’ve always admired Michael Jordan’s athleticism, style, and grace in the air. He was the greatest basketball player ever. And even though I only owned a single pair of his pricey Air Jordans (version IV, thanks Mom!), I’ve always like the form factor of his shoes, especially the earlier models. So stick your tongue out, poke your air pocket, and check out the top 5 Air Jordans all time: Continue reading…
Is it possible to have an identity complex a year before turning 30? After changing my hair two weeks ago, I decided to wear high socks with shorts today (I need new pants, plus the weather is nice, okay?). Excited about my throw back to ’90s sock fashion, I asked Lindsey what she thought. “You look like a five year-old,” she proclaimed. Maybe so, but I’m tired of anklet socks. Besides, it’s kind of fun to be different, and who do I need to impress? (I’m married.)
Though I used to be a Nike man, I now fly the Puma flag and have for the last five years. It’s Romas or die, for me. But what about you? What’s your preferred maker of athletic shoes? Do tell.
What’s your favorite brand of sneaker?
Oh, how I miss the advertising rivalries of the 80s.
harvardbusiness.com — “Zappos sells shoes —lots of them—over the Internet. After a week or so of employment with the company, it’s time for what Zappos calls “The Offer.” “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.” Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit!”
It pays to be in it for the long haul…