When legendary marathoner Eliud Kipchoge was attempting to break the two-hour mark in the marathon as part of Nike’s Breaking2 initiative in 2017, he was asked lots of questions about his shoes.
The athlete told media that it was very important his shoes be comfortable.
That resonated with Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw.
“In my opinion this was a huge departure for Nike and has had a positive impact on the rest of the running shoe industry,” Michasiw said.
For most of Michasiw’s three decades in the industry, the fastest shoes emphasized being light as opposed to being comfortable.
Michasiw, a six-time winner of the Saskatchewan Marathon, had never considered wearing a “fast” shoe over 42.2 kilometres because he knew it would hurt.
But the Nike Zoom Vapor Fly shoe that Kipchoge wore when narrowly missed the sub-two-hour marathon mark with a time of 2:00:25 didn’t resemble a lightweight racing flat.
It features a carbon plate that helps propel the foot and minimize energy loss and has a generous amount of cushion that would allow athletes like Michasiw to wear the shoes in a marathon.
Michasiw became determined to bring shoes like that to his customers.
Ever since Michasiw opened Brainsport in 1991, he had been trying on and off to become a Nike dealer.
He redoubled his efforts in 2017 and successfully secured an account last summer. The first Nike shoes hit Brainsport shelves in February of this year.
Michasiw says Nike’s commitment to making a comfortable shoe shows him that the company’s values line up with Brainsport’s. Brainsport is a shoe store and Michasiw is committed to bringing customers shoes that they want.
“There are two types of shoes that we carry. The first is running shoes and the second is medical. This may seem like an unusual combination, but we are ultimately in the business of helping people live a healthy active lifestyle,” Michasiw said.
“This could look like a super-fit athlete trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon or a customer with a disability who’s goal is to be able to put their own shoes on without assistance.”
Nike has limited distribution in Canada. Today, Brainsport carries the following Nike shoes:
- Air Pegasus 36 male and female fit ($155)
- Epic React Flyknit 2 male and female fit ($195)
- Air Pegasus Turbo male and female fit ($240)
- Zoom Fly Flyknit unisex fit ($215)
- Zoom Rival track spike unisex fit ($88)
The store has not yet been allocated any Vapour Fly shoes.
Michasiw is particularly pleased to be able to offer Nike track spikes because the store has had a hard time keeping up with the demand with its current suppliers, many of whom are moving away from supplying track and field spikes in Canada.
— Andrea Hill (Editor, Brainsport Times)