Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Product Testing

Sometimes I get to test products for a local guy who runs a business torturing gear for companies that hire him to work out the bugs in prototypes or redesigns of existing products. Usually it's footwear.

Last week he gave me a pair of Converse All Stars. Apparently, Converse is changing the sole material in the venerable sneaker. As it happens, I need new shop shoes, so I jumped at the chance to get some for free.

GOD, they're uncomfortable.

This time I guess I'm testing for nothing. I won't use my ticket for free shoes after I turn in my test pair. After a day on my feet in these I'm actually eager to stuff my feet into my cycling shoes. I'll meet my obligation to beat these to death, but it feels like work.

I can't complain. Last year I got a really nice pair of waders. I use them for river testing. I've also gotten a couple of pairs of slip-on indoor-outdoor shoes. And occasionally a prototype fails, like when I stepped on a measly little twig and it pierced right through the sole of a pair of hiking sneakers. Those got called back immediately. Too bad. They were comfortable and good-looking. I never got to see the improved version.

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