Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Tony Melcher Test

In my early days at Road Runner Sports there was this guy who worked on the sales floor named Tony Melcher. Tony was an old school runner. Meaning he ran is tail off. He was an old school shoe guy too. Where I treat shoes with care and respect Tony grabs, twists, turns and bends. One of the ways Tony would test a shoe is grab by the heel, grab by the forefoot and bend the forefoot up and back towards the laces. If the flex point was in the forefoot he'd shake his head with approval. If it was in the arch area he would shake his head and with a grimace on his face he would say "Feet don't bend like that". So after Tony left the company we continued the process and called it the Tony Melcher test. Most of the shoes that failed the test never made it into our warehouse. We simply wouldn't buy them.
Not long ago I had a medical doctor in the office. His specialty is joints and joint surgeries. The first thing he did when he picked up one of our shoes was do a variation of the Tony Melcher test. I asked him why. His comment "Any time a runner comes to me it's serious. I always do this with their shoes. You would be surprised at how many times I see the real serious injuries and a shoe that flexes at the arch. Feet don't bend that way"

The two shoes pictured below are racing shoes. The first is the Ultra Kiawe 2.0. As you can see even with some pressure it bends in the forefoot. The Second shoe is a 156gram shoe we build for the fastest athletes in the world. We don't even sell it. If you run below 6 minute/mile pace in training you can race in this shoe. Your feet are strong enough. If you can't run that fast you have no business being in this shoe. Strong feet can withstand this kind of bend. Weak feet can't and over time something has to give.

Most of the new shoes called running shoes today fail the Tony Melcher Test. I'm not here to pick on other brands, I respect what they do. But I'm here as an advocate for smart running. If your shoes fail this test be very aware of how you feel after every run. There are doctors getting rich today because runners all over the USA went blindly into the minimalist world and didn't do this simple test.

It's a good life....

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