The 2012/03/09 at 11:19
Esther Élionore Haldimann
While the most dedicated have continued to run on the snow and ice appearing in the last burst of winter, the rest of us will only join them as the first springtime buds appear, filling urban parks. Running seems to a vital contemporary activity, and jogging has even become a drug. Remember the scene from a Woody Allen movie: one Saturday morning at the Buttes Chaumont park in Paris, a father in sophisticated running shoes is even ready to hand his five-year-old son to a mother that he does not know as she happens to be the only person around. The dad has visible running withdrawal symptoms, hankering for the energy that invades his body as he sets off...
With the support of a sports shoe industry that produces increasingly high-performance or fashionable products, jogging accessories – outfit, shoes, music equipment, timers, and so on – are making a killing. Sports retailers rub their hands in glee as fashion creates limited editions giving carte blanche to artists. Since the 1980s, sports shoes have even conquered sidewalks and turned into "urban slippers", firstly thanks to teenage fashion. In recent years, their association with suits and even tuxes, thanks to designers Giorgio Armani and Stéphane Rollande have even made them eminently respectable. On the technical side, the choice is colossal.
At Adidas on the Champs-Élysées, you will find a device that analyses your running style, allowing you to choose the shoes best suited to your personal gait. Asics, the Japanese running equipment specialist in existence since 1949, is launching in April a limited edition of its "Gel-Nimbus", a design featuring a system to improve your stride with a shock-absorption gel at the heel and forefoot areas. Asymmetrical lacing also reduces the risk of friction and offers support and comfort, kilometre after kilometre. "Nimbus", a sensational model with an ultra-light heel is a cult object, even a status symbol, boasting of social or sporting success.
Created in 1948, Puma, a pioneering brand in the spread of sporting equipment to urban guise, is widening its "Ventis" line equipped with a special foam heel for shock-free running, matched with a blown rubber outsole. The mesh on top offers optimal aeration and lowers the risk of blisters! Meanwhile, walking is even cooler than running. In the city centres of London, Shanghai, Zurich, Berlin and Paris, walking is the simplest mode of travel. According to doctors, thirty minutes of walking per day allows us to fight against most diseases today – diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cholesterol, cancer. Although basic Doc Martens will do the job, it's now chic to hit the road in light, elegant sneakers. This is a shoe appropriate for suits, sports pants or jeans.
Thanks to its famous "microwobbled board" in soles, the latest model from Fityflops increases muscular activity and above all corrects posture, potentially bringing relief to knee or hip joints. But don't go running tens of kilometres in this model – you'll quickly get exhausted. Even walks lasting one or two hours can also cause muscle ache. At Kickers, a micro-perforated membrane allows transpiration to be evacuated without any water intake. Foam pads in alveoli help absorb and restore energy.
For a more nonchalant gate, Converse has managed to snag the sneaker addicts who roam from shop to shop, out to find the pair of the moment. The emblematic All Stars now come in green camouflage print, created by Hamie Hewett, co-founder and designer of the Gorillaz group. Finally, Onitsuka Tiger has created Keirin, a chic version of cycling shoes in flexible leather that slips easily into pedal straps. It's common knowledge that shoes, even more than clothes, make a man. For the final touch, whether in the street, on a track, or in the office, an eye-catching colour is a must: indigo blue, lime green, mysterious purple-blue, like the palette of Havaianas. The Brazilian brand now produces a sneaker model featuring its mythical rubber sole, long familiar in its thongs.