The Hype, Science, Culture & Cool of Running Shoes

By Brian Metzler


Kicksology is your all-access pass into the fascinating, colorful world of running shoes—and what makes up the perfect pair of kicks.

In stock


Kicksology is your all-access pass into the fascinating, colorful world of running shoes—and what makes up a perfect pair of kicks.

Sports journalist and veteran shoe tester Brian Metzler takes runners and kicksologists deep inside the $10 billion dollar running shoe industry with a behind-the-curtain look at what makes iconic running shoe brands tick. Kicksology follows a shoe from inspiration to store shelf to show how innovative ideas evolve into industry-wide trends and fads. Metzler tours shoe labs where scientists advance our understanding of shoes and running mechanics as well as the domestic and overseas shoe factories where the world’s favorite kicks are assembled.

A dedicated shoe nerd and running junkie, Metzler shares his love of great shoes in this fascinating look at the intersections of shoe culture and history, science and storytelling, intel from the innovators with on-the-ground insight from top runners.

Kicksology is filled with information as entertaining as it is surprising, tapping into the passion runners have for their kicks and feeding their curiosity about what makes a great shoe.

Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture & Cool of Running Shoes
Brian Metzler
Paperback. Black-and-white interior with full-color photo section.
6″ x 9″, 272 pp., $18.95, 9781937715915

Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture & Cool of Running Shoes

Brian Metzler

Paperback. Black-and-white interior with full-color photo section.

Shipping Dimensions: 6in x 9in x .75in 272pp $18.95, Inventory 9781937715915, Shipping .75lbs


1 There’s No Biz Like Shoe Biz

My Favorite Shoe: Deena Kastor—ASICS DS Trainer

2 Kickin’ it Old-School

Six Patents That Changed Running Shoes

3 Running Shoe Cool

My Favorite Shoe: Kara Goucher—Adidas spikes in high school

4 Doing What Comes Naturally

5 It’s All Fun and Games Until Somebody Gets Hurt

My Favorite Shoe: Dave McGillivray—Hoka Clifton 5

6 Minimalism to Maximalism: A Tale of Two Innovators

My Favorite Shoe: Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer—Hoka One One Speedgoat 3

7 A Shoe Is Born

My Favorite Shoe: Scott Jurek—Brooks special makeup trail running shoe

8 The Sub-2-Hour Marathon Quest and the Rise of Magic Shoes

Eight Epic Shoe Fails

9 Made to Order

My Favorite Shoe: Jenny Simpson—New Balance MD 800

10 What’s Next?

Shoe Smarts: Getting the Most out of Your Running Shoes

Donate Your Old Running Shoes



About the Author

Preview book.

Praise for Brian Metzler and Kicksology

“No one alive knows more than Brian Metzler about that great modern indulgence: the running shoe. Kicksology captures the science, the sagas, and the surprisingly tantalizing backstories surrounding a subject that’s as personal and passionate to true believers as any religion. If you’ve ever laced rubber to your feet for a run, you’ll be captivated by this delightfully probing book.”

—Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run

“If there’s a such thing as a living encyclopedia of running shoes, it’s Brian Metzler. Not only does he own more shoes than anyone I know, he knows more about them than anyone I know. His passion for running shoes, their history, evolution, and application is unmatched and speaks to my sole.”

—Mario Fraioli, The Morning Shakeout

“It takes a true running shoe geek to write an informative and entertaining book about running shoes. That’s who Brian Metzler is, and that’s what he gives us with Kicksology. Like the proverbial kid in a candy store, Metzler samples each new shoe—minimalist, maximalist, zero-drop, VaporFly, and so on—with unabated enthusiasm. He also interviews the researchers and designers behind each shoe to provide crazy stories and new insights we haven’t heard before.”

—Amby Burfoot, 1968 Boston Marathon winner, Runner’s World editor at large

Kicksology is a great survey of the modern history of running shoes. A must-read for anyone in the sneaker game.”

—Matt Powell, sports industry analyst

“I loved reading Kicksology and recommend it a must-read for anyone who runs. Brian Metzler has been one of the country’s top running writers for a long time because he asks the right questions and delivers smart, thought-provoking answers with exceptional storytelling. He presents the untold stories of running shoes: where we are, how we got here, and what the future holds for your feet.”

—Jay Dicharry, MPT, leading biomechanist, running gait expert, and author of Running Rewired

“No one has more knowledge and passion about running shoes and the industry than Brian Metzler. With Kicksology, he delivers a compelling and engaging read.”

—Lisa Jhung, author of Trailhead and Running That Doesn’t Suck

“In Kicksology, we too can run in Metzler’s shoes and gain access to his hard-earned insights. The result is a fascinating journey.”

—Laura Clark, American Trail Running Association

Kicksology is a personal tour of running shoe history, design, and business that only Brian Metzler could write. He has the uncanny ability to be near the center of every new trend and takes the reader on an informative journey through the many interesting characters, stories, and ideas that make running shoes fascinating.”

—Jonathan Beverly, Editor, PodiumRunner

“Brian Metzler’s knowledge of the running shoe industry is as broad as it is nuanced. Kicksology is a great broad-based dive into the industry’s evolution since its inception without getting too strung up on detail and technical language. I found it very accessible, and I expect that a layperson with an interest in the shoe business will find it similarly easy to access.”

—Jonathan Stull, Editor, Outdoor Project

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