Brand loyalty shattered by a shoddy pair of Asics sneakers

About a year into our slow travel adventure, we went back to the U.S. to take care of some business. While there, I bought a few things I didn’t think I’d be able to easily or cheaply get abroad – like my favorite brand of running sneakers.

I know other countries sell sneakers, but I have weird feet. They easily blister and usually it’s worse when I’m not wearing a great sneaker. (Even with the ‘perfect’ sneaker, sometimes I get blisters.) Part of my problem is my feet sweat. A lot. So some years ago I discovered Injinji socks. They are like magic. They can absorb sweat and make nearly any sneaker feel (almost) comfortable enough to run in. Injinji socks were on my shopping list, and also new Asics sneakers – two brands I’ve been loyal to for years, minus one time I strayed and tried a Brooks running shoe.

Here is what I got for my brand loyalty – for sneakers that cost more than $130:

Holes in my Asics

Yea. I bought the damn things in late September before we left the U.S. I hardly wore them until January, as part of my resolution to be the healthiest I can be, I used them nearly every day for jogs on the track in Puerto Vallarta. These holes appeared three weeks in. Three. Weeks. In.

My toe nails were not long. My jogging did not involve hills because I was just starting up a routine again. I was not landing on my toes often because I was hardly doing any sprints. I was so pissed off over those holes. Holes. In hardly used $130 sneakers.

At first I panicked. I thought: How will I ever get the right running shoes to prevent blisters? How will I ever keep up running as part of my resolution?

My husband was beyond annoyed as well. When we spend $130 on something – no, when we spend any money on something – we want to get what we pay for. We are, after all, budget travelers in early retirement.

So, I decided to go on a sneaker trying-on spree all over Puerto Vallarta – Asics be damned. These low-name -slash- no-name brand were the winners:

Sportline vs. Asics

Sportline brand. The logo on the box says: sin obstaculous. Without obstruction. Unimpeded.

I bought these in Coppel – a department store in Mexico with Mexican brands, no big capitalist American brands like Asics, no Injinjis. At least not in the location where I found these.

The Sportline sneakers have less padding, they are a little wider and felt great as soon as I put them on. Now, they do not have the runner’s hole, but somehow, I don’t seem to need them. And with my Injinji socks, the sweat factor isn’t really a factor. They cost —- are you ready? —- $15.

Sneakers side by side

I wore them the last 10 days of running in Puerto Vallarta, and for about 10 days of jogging at the dirt track in Huatulco. Then – I went barefoot on the beach for about two months in Puerto Escondido. Damn, I miss that place. Not a single blister, ever. I love barefoot beach jogging. (Yes, I started out slowly until the muscles in my feet got used to sand with no shoes.)

Then I had to take a break from jogging as I healed from a surgical breast biopsy – about six weeks. I jogged in these sneakers a few times around San Pablo la Laguna, and now, here in Antigua, I joined a gym because clutzy me would likely trip and break an ankle on the cobblestones here, and my spouse didn’t want me running on the highway just outside town.

So. Here we are. I do not expect these shoes to last long at $15. But even if I had to replace them often, like every other month – or even every month, I’d still get way more for my money than $130 Asics that (usually) used to last me about five months. Bye bye Asics. The longer I jog through life, the more I see the truth to the fantastic book, Born to Run.

Anyway, I’m not loyal to any brand anymore. For example, if I found toe socks like Injinjis for less money, I’d give them a try. Also, I might be done with Apple after a customer service fiasco back in Belize last year, but that’s a whole other story.

When I was a girl, I asked my mom: What do you think I should be when I grow up? She told me advertising. She said I was creative and I’d make a lot of money. Well, I didn’t go that route in life, but I certainly could have. I thought about it. I took a few college courses and did well with the subject.

Ultimately, however, I’m not into ‘marketing’ as a sham to shoddy product in a get-rich-quick ploy. Advertising often is only a big, fat, fucking lie. I am wholly in love with truth. And the truth is: after a lifetime of brand loyalty and paying out the ass for ‘brand-name products’, the last bit of desire to do that has now wholly left me.









  1. Would you be willing to post about what you and your spouse pack in your luggage? Can you easily find organic, non chemical body products, makeup, toothpaste, etc . We plan to travel similarly to you; spending anywhere from a month to six months in each destination we choose.


      1. Hi Ellie Mae,
        Thanks for pointing me in the direction of your previous blog about packing. It was helpful. I will however look forward to the blog about ‘what is inside’ the suitcases. I want to be reasonable in my options, not have to dress the same way every day, but also not drag around too much stuff. I’m thinking 8-10 choices to wear on the bottom half and twice that many for the top half, 3-5 pairs of shoes, a couple each of dresses, sweaters, coats, pjs, bathing suits, hats and 10 days worth of lingerie. With your shirts, are you wearing more sleeveless, short or long sleeves? Or a equal mix? Fabrics to avoid? We are starting a last quick 2 week vacation next week before our grand adventure begins at the end of the year. This time we will spend a week in San Miguel de Allende and a week in Ajijic. Can’t wait…….
        Cheers, Julia

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Congratulations, Julia – sounds like you’re in for some great times ahead!

        It also sounds like you are planning to bring enough stuff that you won’t be dressing the same way every day.

        I almost never wear sleeves at beach locations. It’s just too hot in places like Puerto Escondido or Mahahaul. I have needed long sleeves and pants typically when the elevation gets to be more than 5,000 feet – places like Ajijic (I was there in late autumn), Lake Atitlan and Antigua, Guatemala, and especially San Cristobal, Mexico, where it’s 7,000 feet.

        On fabrics, I wear thin cotton and rayon for hot weather, and a polyester blend of some kind and lightweight jeans for the cooler climates at higher elevations. I use a jean jacket across the board as needed – but it’s not that thick so layers are key when it’s chilly.

        Of course, when we get to Europe early next year, I’ll have to have some warmer items.

        I’ll give a show and tell on what’s ‘inside’ the bags by early next week. Our laundry is currently out (we use a service) so when it’s back I’ll line it up and take some pictures and sit down to write up that entry. It’s actually long overdue.

        If you have more specific questions, you can always private message me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook Messenger.


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