Hey Nike, I’m Your Man!

You may not walk on water with the latest and greatest Nike running shoe, but you will be running on a cushion of pure, 100% air. But if you want a pair of the new Nike Air Max 360s set to debut this week, be prepared for some sticker shock–at $160 per pair, pure air doesn’t come cheap.

According to a Nike researcher who developed the shoe, “This is about trying to get people to run faster, better and longer and about minimizing the risk of injuries.” That sounds good to me, because as I have pointed out before, fast is good. I used to be fast (“Back in ’82”), so I know what that feels like and I would like to experience that thrill again.

Minimizing injury risk is also appealing, because at my age I can barely go out to the driveway to fetch the morning paper without pulling something. It might be a little embarrassing to wear these with my bathrobe, but if it means avoiding a pulled groin muscle or another slipped disc, then I’ll gladly endure the sneers and jeers of my neighbors and take out the necessary second mortgage to pick up a pair.

What puzzles me is this statement from another Nike official: “This isn’t just about core runners. This is about all athletes of all levels of competition and shapes and sizes. Running is the most diplomatic of all activities.”

The reason this baffles me is that once again Nike is resorting to its usual tactic of using famous athletes to endorse and promote its product. Now we all know that young and fit folks such as Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez and Maria Sharapova are going to run fast and perform well regardless of what shoe they’re wearing. In fact, they’re so good they could get it done with barefeet on hot asphalt if necessary. Admittedly, Maria would look good in the shoes, but then again, she looks good in anything.

No, if Nike really wants to know what their new shoe can do, they should get out in the trenches of middle-age geezerhood and test it on balding, waddling, formerly-fast athletes who have a modicum of disposable income and who are starting to think that pants with elastic waistlines are not such a bad idea after all. This would naturally mean offering endorsement contracts to common athletes such as yours truly. A multi-million dollar endorsement contract (heck, I would settle for a multi-thousand) could improve my life in at least 360 different ways, not the least of which would be the necessary cash to pay for three college educations over the next decade.

If the ad execs at Nike are having a hard time envisioning such a campaign, here is one possible vignette:

I’m nearing the end of a typical Saturday morning run when suddenly I’m passed by a runner wearing the colors of the old Soviet Union. Using some of that fancy computer graphics technology, I’m quickly morphed into my formerly lean and mean self, only now I’m wearing a USA jersey, and of course, a pair of the new Nike Air Max 360s. Friends and neighbors start to appear along the sidewalks of Huntsville chanting “U.S.A., U.S.A.!” I attempt to pass the Russkie and naturally he fouls me with a hard elbow to the ribcage. I stumble, but I don’t fall, thanks to the sure footing provided by my Nike Air Max 360s. With the strain of supreme effort and the pride of representing my country clearly evident on my contorted, sweating face, I lean and nip my communist foe at the mailbox in front of my driveway, sending my friends and neighbors into a patriotic frenzy. Suddenly, the reverie evaporates. I glance at my watch, clearly pleased at having broken the 10 minute mile barrier. I pick up the morning paper (without injury) and retreat to my house, humming the “Star Spangled Banner” as I go.

Now, that’s the way to market to runners of “all shapes and sizes.” If Nike wants any credibility, then they need to pick up a few weekend warriors who would stand to benefit the most from this latest technological breakthrough. I’m not holding my breath waiting for Nike to take my advice, but if there is anyone out there reading this who works for the winged, goddess of victory, I would appreciate it if you would pass this message along to the folks upstairs: Hey Nike, if you ever do decide to ditch multi-million dollar athletes like Tom Brady and go with an Average Joe who suffers from a multi-million aches and pains, then I’m your man!

  1. Anonymous

    I would like everyone who has heel pain, heel spurs or plantar fasciitis to know that there is Instant help for your heel pain. There is a new shoe cushion called “Heelbillys” and rightfully so because they are not your typical orthotic, but believe me they work and there is nothing on the market like them.
    They can only be bought online at; http://www.heelbillys.com and cost only $15.00.

    They are tall, soft cushions made out of a special foam and they fit inside your shoe right under your heel and feels like you are walking on a pillow. They give instant relief.
    I have been wearing them now for over 3 months and my heel is so much
    better that I can now walk without them but today’s shoes are so poorly
    cushioned that I don’t take the chance because I don’t want the excruciating pain that I had to come back. Today’s shoes are so poorly cushioned that even people who don’t have heel pain should get them to avoid heel pain problems, especially if they walk a lot. Sometimes the simple things work better than the expensive things that are just designed to cost a lot of money to make it seem like they are effective. Heelbillys are simple, and inexpensive but they are effective. You owe it to yourself to try them, and you won’t be disappointed, you can get instant relief.

  2. mike

    Uh, thanks, but no thanks Anon–we already have enough heelbillys in Alabama.

  3. contratimes

    Truly a great post. You are a gifted writer, and you are funny. It is rare to find both humor and literary mastery in most writers’ works.

    As a Patriots’ fan, I must take exception. Tom Brady is an Average Joe. He may be a really wealthy one, but he is indeed an Average Joe – our Average Joe. If he was a she, then he IS Nike. Unless, of course, he’s playing in Denver in January. Then he truly is just a very rich average guy.

    You know, I think your ad ideas are great. Seriously.


  4. mike


    I really appreciate your kind words–I’m glad that one brought forth a chuckle or two! I think we are about the same age, so I you probably understand at least a little what it’s like to have a 5 minute per mile mind trapped inside a 10 minute per mile body.

    I think I’m going to start saying “I used to be wicked fast.” I’ve seen you use the word “wicked” in the context of the glory days of past athletic achievements, and I must say that I really like the way that rolls off the tongue. I’m going to take that expression, which I assume is New England in origin, and start using it around here and see if it catches on in the Deep South.

    Ok, I will concede your point that Tom Brady is not your typical, bratty multi-million dollar athlete. In interviews I have seen, he does appear very humble and down-to-earth. I get the strong impression that his momma and daddy raised him well.

    I would be perfectly willing for Nike to keep Mr. Brady in their stable of endorsers along with me. Maybe we could even do a commercial together–a very wealthy and athletic Average Joe side-by-side with a not-very-wealthy but basically content Average Joe whose athletic apex lies back up the road a piece–about 20 years ago to be exact.

    When you get right down to it, I’m willing to skip the multi-million dollar endorsement contract and all the fame that would go with it if Nike would only send me a pair of those new Air Max 360s. I may not run that much faster in them, but I bet I would look wicked cool when I wear them with my size 3(CENSORED) relaxed-fit jeans.

  5. contratimes

    Wicked decent!

    (Now that’s an oldish New England exclamation. So too is the truly oxymoronic, “Wicked good!”)

    I’m 44 years old, Class of 1979 and 1984 (I took a year off after high school). There was indeed a time when I could burn my cleats off between the batter’s box and first base. But I am certain that if I were to try today to blast out of a groundball swing I would blow my achille’s, rip my quads and detach my glutes. I dare not try it, knowing that there is no ice pack large enough to deal with my injuries.

    But I was wicked quick.


  6. mike


    44,1980,1984. So far no major signs of midlife crisis except for my Audi A4…well, ok, I guess you have to count the blog too.

  7. contratimes

    Well, the A4 is a great set of wheels. I am zipping about in a Subaru Legacy GT. Not bad, but no Audi (though Subaru does pretty well on the World Rally Tour).

    I can’t for the life of me think of what car I’d run towards to satisfy some sort of midlife urgings. There are just too many cool cars from which to choose. Egads! Even the new Chrysler Imperial concept is a wonder (this ain’t my dad’s Chrysler). Not that I’d want one, but they are pretty snazzy, even if a bit overdesigned.

    Perhaps I’d get one of these.

    Zoom, zoom (with the wife and kids, of course).


  8. mike


    Subarus rock as far as I’m concerned. They are just the set of wheels needed for those long, snowy New Hampshire winters. I’ve owned two different Subarus in college and beyond and loved them both.

    When I bought my Audi 3 years ago, I could easily carry around the whole crew. Now two of my sons are taller than me, so it’s a little cramped for them. But it’s certainly big enough for my wife and I, and truth be told, she enjoys been driven around in it and driving it as much as I do.

Comments are closed.