Monday, August 30, 2004

It's the BOING! (1999)

It's the BOING!: "It's the 'boing' that gets them. Runners attracted by Nike Shox television ads are hurrying into athletic stores, snatching the new high-tech shoe off the shelves. And some are convinced they can bounce back out.

'They think they are going to jump higher or run faster,' said Mike Whitney, manager of The Athlete's Foot in Denver, which sold out of the Shox running and basketball shoes nearly as soon as it got them on Dec. 6.

Despite the reverberating boing on the TV ads, which feature athletes racing across the screen, there is no spring in the heel.

However, there is a spring in another new running shoe made by Z-Coil in Albuquerque, N.M. Not that it will allow wearers to jump like Michael Jordan or sprint like Marion Jones, either.

While Z-Coil shoes initially were designed for runners, Executive Vice President Andres Gallegos said the company found a larger demand from nurses and postal workers, who are on their feet all day.

David Hershberger, who has been wearing Z-Coil shoes for a year and a half, said the shoes give him energy.

"Your legs don't feel as tired," said the Denver lawyer, a runner who used to compete in marathons. Now, he runs in the morning and the evenings, to keep himself and his dog in shape. "I really notice it on the second run. It's kind of an energy return. I'm able to burn calories without feeling like I've depleted my energy."

Z-Coil's odd design, which involves a thin, tubular heel that widens into a small circular sole, had Hershberger a little leery at first. You look at them and think, `Man, are you going to tip over?' "

But Hershberger said he feels stable on the shoes and has never had an injury.

Both companies say they cannot keep their shoes in stock. Gallegos said Z-Coil has experienced an even bigger surge in business since Nike came out with its ads, especially from people who are interested in having an actual spring in the shoe."

Debra Melani
Scripps Howard News Service

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