Well, my spring break has finally come and it's a reality check that finals are almost here, and then it's just a short wait until move-in. It's almost a scary thought to think that five months have already gone by since the first camps of the year. Every year the preseason time seems to fly by faster and faster, and with that comes that realization that soon it will be my last year to be able to be a marching member of this wonderful activity. The only thing at this point that could hold me back from being able to march my three finals years would be my body. I've always heard the rumor that for every year you march your body ages three years, and after my first two seasons I can definitely believe that.

Joe Smith
During my first two years, I had the wonderful Beth Wilson to help us take care of calisthenics and to advise us with how to take care of our bodies in preparation for and on tour. One piece of advice she gave the corps both years I was involved with the Colts was that our biggest investment before tour needs to be our shoes for rehearsal on tour. Over the last few months I have acquired many new pairs of shoes, somewhere in the range of six to eight pairs. Recently I have started the true pursuit of rehearsal shoes for tour. This past week I made a trip to the mall just to go window shopping to see if anything really tripped my trigger. On television I have seen a few commercials for the new Adidas 1 shoes. They are supposed to be the "world's first intelligent shoe." After seeing these commercials I had to at least find this shoe so I could see what all the fuss was about. I finally found it at my local Scheel's store. After taking a closer look I wasn't that amused by it, especially when I saw that the price tag said $250. I immediately set the shoe down as gently as I could and walked away. After walking into probably my favorite sports shoe store, The Finish Line, I saw a promotional set up with a TV and several of the new Nike Free 5.0 running shoes. I didn't pay that much attention to the video , but I definitely had to pick up one of the shoes and touch it, after all I felt like a little kid in a candy store. For me, there are two things that must be just right for me to have a great marching shoe. These two items are the flexibility of the sole.
Marching requires the foot to be able to flex and point with ease so that the marching technique can be executed with ease. The easiest way to test this is to try to bend the shoe in half, since the easier the shoe bends, the easier it is for the marcher in question to have ridiculously high toes. I was extremely enthused when I found that the shoe bent in half with very little effort. The other important part of a marching shoe would be the support/cushion you have while wearing the shoe. Since we are on our feet all day, we should at least try to be as comfortable as possible. The way to test this is to actually put the shoe on and march around the store in it (both backwards and forwards, and direction changes are always cool too). Some people choose to use sole inserts to help with the cushioning that the foot receives. After trying the shoe on and wearing it around, I found that it almost felt like it was molding to my foot. So after a bit I headed home to do a bit of research to see if this shoe would be worth the investment. After wandering around
Nike's Web site, I found the separate site for the Nike Free running shoes. After watching the research video and doing a bit of reading, I decided that I do believe this shoe will be worth it. The shoe was designed to bring the benefits of running barefoot to a shoe and to hopefully simulate it. I also found that they have designed a Nike Free trainer that would actually be even more beneficial to me, since it was designed to deal with lateral movements as well as straightforward running. On Friday night I will head down to the local mall to try the shoe on again, and if it feels as good the second time as it did when I put it on, then I will buy the shoes. I'm very excited to get my new pair of shoes.