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Who Would Buy That: Brooks Nantucket Adrenaline

In this semi-regular feature, we examine the running gear you could buy, but probably shouldn't.

Brooks Running

The Boston Marathon is upon us. In two weeks, the most recognizable marathon in the United States--sorry New York--will take place and people all across the country will be caught streaming grainy video of people running at work. We don't get many days where the common folk will gladly tolerate our knowledge of running, so this is something of a major holiday for all of us.

With the good comes the bad and, with Brooks' addition to the rich market of Boston Marathon-specific designs, the bad comes screaming through.

You may recognize this shoe. In fact, if you're like many runners, you probably have worn this shoe at some point in your running life. It is none other than the Brooks Adrenaline GTS, the shoe that perennially dominates the stability category. This shoe is great; it was the first model of running shoe I ever owned. It's beauty is in its simplicity: firm platform, moderate amount of stability, tolerable weight for most purposes.

What this current edition of the shoe is not is simple. Do you lie awake at night anxious to relive your high school days, clad in plaid shirts and checker-patterned shoes and wrist bands, listening to a couple people wail into a trumpet while your closest friends skip around in a circle flailing their arms wildly? Well, this just might be the shoe for you, rude boy or girl!

Unfortunately, the description Brooks offers for this collection neglects to pay proper homage to Reel Big Fish or Mustard Plug:

Capturing the regional and the cultural inspiration of the shoe, the Brooks Nantucket Adrenaline GTS 16 draws inspiration from the coastal culture and the sailing essence that defines the destination for New Englanders who escape the city to one of the premier destinations on the eastern seaboard. Rarer than the white whale, you might spot these beauties at a small number of running stores across the country.

Instead, they seem to be catering to those among us who wear boat shoes in the city and pastel-colored shorts to the office. Running, it turns out, is not mentioned here other than to inform the potential buyer of where they might find this product. This shoe is for someone who wants to experience "coastal culture" and a "sailing essence." You can buy it in a running store, sure, but it may not be the best idea to be caught dead running in it.

The coastal element of this shoe is captured in the representation of a whale that adorns the heel of the shoe:

Excuse me if a whale isn't the first animal that comes to mind to emulate in running. Run in this shoe and you will feel like a whale. You, a large, bloated, slow-moving mammal, will dominate your competition. As you run, experience the thrill of barnacles attaching themselves to you, coming along for the ride and not letting go until you collapse from exhaustion.

Am I being hyperbolic? I thought I was, until I saw the image on the insole of the shoe:

That slightly obscured image is an anchor with the word "inspire" written across it. Let this anchor inspire you to smash your personal best. Become one with the anchor as the weight of the monumental task of running a marathon overwhelms you and drags you beneath the surface with its enormous weight.

At first blush, this is a profoundly ugly shoe. Upon looking further, this is still a profoundly ugly shoe that also contains some imagery that really doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

Who Would Buy This?

There was a kid so low, he couldn't stand up
No money, no respect and too much bad luck
Desperation had gotten to him at last
And I knew a man everyone thought
Was out of his mind
He had a cane and seemed to be around all the time
And it's a shame, when a car rolls past

no one ever thinks about it
Until your out of your head

Ska music, boating, whales, and anchors. That's what running means to this shoe. If you associate those four things with running, you should either seek out a therapist or purchase this shoe.