Sometimes I hate the existence of AutoCAD

In the early 2000s, toothbrush design got outrageous.

In the early 2000s, toothbrush design got outrageous.

Multiple colors and handle designs coupled with complex grouping of bristles. Everything looked like an early 1990s basketball shoe from space. All of it was overkill.

Then, car design got outrageous.

The Lexus RX crossover feels like the epitome of too much AutoCAD to me. I’m a big fan of car design, going back to high school when my dream was to study automotive design at The Art Center College of Design. Looking at a RX today, I see variable beltlines, weird C-pillars floating in an abyss of black windows, and razor sharp body lines. Ick. All of it.

Last year I started running seriously and began to swear by a new brand of shoe called Hoka One One for their cushioning and support. But their shoes are some of the ugliest pieces of functional design I’ve ever put on my body.

Here’s the rub: I travel, and running is a great way to exercise in far-away places, but these hideous things don’t fit in my luggage. I travel light, only running in the shoes I wear, and in the past that’s often been basketball shoes, cross trainers, and casual shoes that are terrible for running.

Recently, I set out to find a new pair of shoes I could wear in airports, board rooms, and on running trails. Don’t get me wrong, I love bright colors and interesting patterns and I often wear wacky sock and shoe combos, but running shoes are a whole ‘nother level of outrageous design.

It’s weird that the same companies can make interesting basketball shoe designs I would wear at work make mostly awful running shoes I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing casually. They’re the same designers under the same roof, but producing vastly different results.

The long story short is I spent a month searching for understated shoes I could travel in, work in, and also run in. It took countless visits to Zappos and Amazon, and multiple in-person visits to running shoe shops, but I finally found a simple understated pair of black and white Nike stability running shoes I feel comfortable wearing anywhere, including morning runs.

Sometimes, I feel like the existence of AutoCAD is a curse on good taste.