When the UPS delivery guy drops off a package at your front door and you pick it up without bothering to look at the shipping address label so you don’t know who it’s from and it weighs next to nothing, you almost know that a new pair of running shoes is waiting inside the box. You might even give the package a quick shake just to make sure there is actually something inside. And with these new minimalist and barefoot running shoes that only weigh several ounces, you might have to shake the box a second time just to make sure.
The new Keen trail running shoes recently sent to me by the company fits the bill in this regard; its A86 trail model weighs just 9 ounces and is light as my feather-duster. Known for its toe-protection athletic sandals and hiking shoes, this relatively young but highly successful footwear firm is poised to jump feet first into the minimalist mosh pit. While many runners might balk at the billboard-size yellow KEEN logo sewn into the uppers, just think if your last name happens to be “Keen,” and what a thrill it would be to run around in your very own personalized shoes. So I clicked over to Switchboard.com in order to find out how many Keens currently reside in the U.S. The answer is thousands. Surely, a few of these Keens must be runners. Which made me also think: why don’t running companies customize more shoes like this-- with a runner’s last name? Then again, an unusual last name like, say, Keflezighi might not all fit on one shoe. (You could break it up: Kef on the left; Lezighi on the right.)