By Matt Welty (@MattJWelty)
I was in desperate need of a new pair of sneakers to wear every morning and to walk to and from the train station, and they were delivered to me in a rocket ship. The Brooks Transcend–which actually came in a self-opening box that looked like it was made by NASA—came in an Infrared-like color scheme and reminded me of the Nike Roshe Runs that I had beat into the ground this past summer. Except these were way more comfortable. I sold sneakers for the seven years prior to getting hired as a sneaker writer and editor at Complex, but had never worn a pair of the technical running sneakers that I lauded to every customer. I know, that makes me a liar, and that’s why I was more than willing to try out the Transcend.
I have a fairly regular arch, and the Transcend looked to have a lot more stability than I would need, but it didn’t have a medial post. It kept my feet secure as I trekked daily from Highland Park to New Brunswick, but didn’t give me the shocking hardness that stability sneakers are known for. Instead, the Transcend had a full-range of cushion from every angle. It was reminiscent of when, in 2009, Nike realized it could upgrade the Air Max 360, and remove the unnecessary plastic that kept the Air unit together. Of course, wearing bright orange/pink sneakers has its setbacks: They cause 40-something strangers to uncontrollably stare at your feet on the 1 Train, and an overweight man flat-tired me twice in the span of 10 seconds. Although I can’t prove it, I believe it was his way of socially policing the breakthrough of loud sneakers. Whatever, fuck him.
The Transcend was way more comfortable than wearing a pair of my usual ’90s-style running sneakers. And the sneaker gripped my foot enough that I could wear them unlaced and loose and not look like I’m getting ready to run a marathon–which I only pretend to do when I need to catch a train. Still, the best attribute of the Transcend, besides the cushioning, is the sneaker’s grip. It’s the middle of the winter in the Northeast, and it’s snowed a lot. For whatever reason, the bridge that goes across the Raritan River is always an ice sheet, but I was able to walk speedily across the bridge and not worry about busting my ass–or falling and jamming my wrist, and not being able to use a keyboard for three days– before going to work to write about sneakers all day. Thanks, Brooks Running, you saved my job.