Rambling Roads: Need Shoes?

By George A. Hancock

The Covid-19 pandemic created a few supply-chain issues. Many folks found empty shelves, no products, or long delays for various products. The wife and I redid a room in our home last year. Wall paint and painting products seemed the only items we could obtain without a delay.

Carpeting, a chair, and a new bed were ordered with the understanding the process could take time. Even wall decorations were not readily available in local stores. These items were ordered through Amazon and eBay and were eventually delivered by the friendly package guys in their various delivery trucks.

Now it looks like runners can add running shoes to this order and wait list. Or, in some cases order and “we’ll let you know when your shoe choice is available.” Please add my name to this Need Shoes list.

I like the New Balance 880v9 running shoes. I’ve run many miles in this model. This is a near perfect shoe for my running adventures. However, obtaining this running shoe is very difficult. I’m looking online through various sources but having no luck purchasing this shoe. And actually, no luck purchasing any other favorite New Balance running shoe.

My Greater Johnstown, PA area is retail poor. We do not have a running-shoe store here. Runners must travel to Ebensburg, Indiana, Altoona, or Greensburg. Ebensburg is the closest running-shoe store location at 25 miles away. The other cities are further away. So, many runners like me order shoes online.

 Once upon a time this method was quick and less expensive. Enter our new Covid-19 world. Ordering online remains quick, easy, and less expensive than brick and mortal stores. But, the pandemic, shipping issues, and those political tariffs curtailed shoe availability.

I have this shoe model saved in my eBay want/wish list section. Emails are sent to me when the shoe is available across the country. I have not received an email concerning this shoe in months.

So, what am I doing about running shoes? Our local dying mall has a shoe store called Shoe Dept. This shoe-discount store is one of the five or so stores open in this vast empty building. My wife, Brenda, discovered something here last fall. This store has New Balance trail shoes.

Several years ago I started running in trail shoes during the late fall and winter seasons. Trail shoes provide better traction as the weather turns dicey. Of course, I still run in ice and snow spikes during those nasty icy and snowy winter events.

Running year-round in trail shoes on our local roads is something new for me. Trail shoes are heavier but with better gripping tread. Trail shoes are more durable.  And, it seems the perfect shoe to run/navigate our crumbling highways and byways.

Now, this trail-shoe purchase does come with a disclaimer. Apparently, the Shoe Dept. receives and sells these shoes because the younger demographic crowd doesn’t appreciate or want the shoe colors.

My new trail shoes are different shades of gray. No, not that story. The shoes are gray in color. Gray and black trail shoes right now are not in demand by the youngsters. Gray running shoes are my favorite shoe color. My opinion or retail interests don’t count these days.

Do I really care? I saved $50/pair buying those gray running shoes. And, these trail shoes fit perfectly. They also provide excellent rain/water traction. I like them.

There is a Part Two to this story. I’ll present that story here without much comment. I really don’t know what to say about that part anyway.

My extensive online running-shoe searches uncovered a growing trend. Apparently many folks are selling used, pre-owned, or gently used running shoes. We’re all familiar with the Used Vehicle industry. I buy used books from numerous sources. I never had an issue with these transactions. However, would you purchase a gently used running shoe?

The pictures accompanying these ads seem to depict shoes with many miles on them. Almost if someone is selling their old running shoes. Some of the ads are no doubt posted by individuals that made a mistake purchasing that particular shoe. It does take a few miles to get a decent idea about a shoe’s performance. A used shoe can’t be returned to the original store. So, individuals attempt to sell those “mistakes” in a shoe box.

Yes, I’m seeing many New Balance 880v9 Gently Used shoe ads. I wonder, is it the gray shoe color?

Let the buyer beware. Our year is flowing along. May brings runners delightful late spring forays. Enjoy! Run smart, run well!

Is this the shoe George is looking for?

Categories: Features

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1 reply

  1. Why yes, that’s the shoe.


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