This weeks’ retro runner – Brooks’ ‘The Truth’ – is a relic of 90s sneaker wars – an artifact from a time when brands were going bold or bust to win punter’s affections. When this Brooks runner came out, claims of groundbreaking advances in running technology were routine. And with every development coming with increasingly esoteric lingo, it can’t have been an easy time to distinguish which brands were full of hot air and which were telling the truth. So Brooks made it easy. They released a new shoe with eye-grabbing technology, named it The Truth and plastered the name on the tongue writ large so as to avoid confusion.
Unlike some of the more popular retro requests like the Air Max2 Light, you’ve likely never even heard of Brook’s The Truth. Few people (nearly none) will have seen it before, and information on the sneaker is hard to come by. It’s not even readily available online. But quirky design features like the Springblade-esque pillars that separate the sole intrigued us and we had to dig deeper.
Given the presence of Nike’s Air technology and the level to which we exult it today, it’s easy to look at the heel of the The Truth and say it’s a Visible Air knock-off. That the brand looked at the weight reduction benefits of replacing solid matter with air and simply decided to pastiche the look. But after looking into the matter, we’ve surmised that Brooks used this shoe to go against the grain.
You see, before shock absorbing suspension in sneakers was truly mastered there were hiccups. One particular article in the Chicago Tribune reported on today’s stalwarts of quality and innovation experiencing trouble on the road to fine tuning the technology that we now enjoy.
In the piece, Bob Sakamoto gives multiple accounts of Converse’s new shock absorbing ‘React Juice’ causing havoc on court. A mixture of gas and water, React Juice was meant to read the positioning of the foot on court and provide support accordingly. However, during multiple high school basketball games the Juice leaked from the shoes on to the court, and some 300 complaints were reported.
This wasn’t purely Converse’s burden to bear. Boston Marathon runners in the early 80s complained of the Air cushioning bursting, and even Brooks’ version of fluid suspension, Hydroflow, had been known to leak in its infancy.
With that in mind, the heel of this Brooks The Truth doesn’t seem so farfetched – even if it looks it. As we say, intel on this shoe is scarce. And with any searches for Brooks sneaker collectors more likely to retrieve a person called Brook with a sneaker collection, it’s harder still to find any die-hard repositories of retro Brooks knowledge.
It isn’t a stretch though to assume that Brooks were making a statement with this model. Releasing a shoe with such a flagrant deviation from the early 90’s support du jour and calling it The Truth can’t be completely coincidental. Maybe Brooks thought that the shoe’s graphite and carbon fiber plates were the future?
Alas if that was the truth, we simply weren’t ready for it. The absence of virtually any record that the shoe existing only denotes a short-lived production, but all the building blocks of a solid runner were there. There’s the Indy 500 rubber outsole, the urethane foam midsole, 3M on the logo and even a neoprene bootie. If this shoe were to be reissued its release would definitely attract some oddballs, but we’d be at the front of the queue.
Retro Runner Rehab is a column where we bungee into the world of bygone running shoes, scoop up our favourites and throw them back in the spotlight. Check out the stars of our previous features HERE.