When Shoes Attack

We must never forget that sometimes, shoes fight back.
There are the typical ways, of course: they mercilessly squeeze our toes, rub our heels raw and put knotty cramps in our arches.
And then there are the more unusual ways a shoe can assert control.
“Good work everyone. Please wipe down your bikes and remove the handlebars,” I say to my group of Spinning students at an Atlanta gym. “My name is Christy, if you have any questions, comments or concerns.”
The sweaty and sore students file out, some thanking me, others shooting a soggily hateful glare (what can I say — I work them hard). I begin to pack up my stuff, unvelcro-ing my Nike ACG cycling shoes, tossing my saddle pad and cycling gloves into my gym bag. I’m humming along to the waning cooldown song, “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles, and thinking ahead to the wheat pasta and shrimp I plan to gorge on for dinner.
And then I hear a little voice.
“Excuse me. Can you help me?”
I look up. Is someone still in the Spin studio?
Lo and behold, in the back, crouched near her pedal, is one lone student.
She has cycling shoes like mine, which use an “SPD” cleat to attach to the pedals and easily click out when it’s time to dismount the bike.
Well, they usually click out with ease. In this case one shoe is simply refusing to be removed. It will not budge.
I take a crack at it, twisting the shoe, pulling hard, trying to reach in between the cleat and the clip, but no luck. I grab a burly trainer, who gets similar results. I look through the “tool box” in the Spin studio, but all that’s in there is a broken pedal and some aerosol cans of polish.
The student tugs hard, grunting and exerting herself in a way she had not in my class, and finally the shoe comes free.
Leaving the cleat behind, on the pedal.
“Screw it,” she huffs.
Shoes: 1. Womankind: 0.


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