In 2010, a French adventure racer named Nicolas Mermoud approached Karl Meltzer, the accomplished American ultrarunner, and asked him to try out a pair of running shoes he'd designed. They looked bizarre, like moon boots, and were wider, thicker and softer than typical running shoes -- two and a half times beefier and 30 percent cushier. Meltzer, who had been training with conventional running shoes, was skeptical, but he laced them up and cruised around his Sandy, Utah, neighborhood. He was shocked by how forgiving they were. Halfway through the run, he was sold.
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