Tackling the Cole Haan Triathlon
Triathlon. The word inspires images of toned endurance athletes testing their mettle in events that combine swimming, biking, and running.
The Cole Haan Triathlon isn’t that.
To put our performance running, golf, and tennis shoes through their paces, I came up with a plan: nine holes of golf (in the Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker), a best-of-three tennis match (in the ZERØGRAND Winner Tennis Sneaker), and a five-mile run (in the ZERØGRAND Outpace 2 Running Shoe).
The only problem? I’ve never played golf or tennis.
Leg one: Golf
I live close to three public courses in Los Angeles: two big, intimidating ones in Griffith Park and a nine-hole, par-three course tucked off a busy street, which may as well have a sign out front saying “My First Golf Course” in kiddie lettering. There’s no question which one I’m choosing.
Even at mid-afternoon, the Los Feliz 3-Par Golf Course has a steady flow of people making their way through its nine holes. I’d hoped for a mostly empty course, because all nine holes are nestled together into a long, skinny rectangle. That means a lot of chances to mess up other people’s games, and lots of apologies I’d have to make.I set up at the first tee where it takes me at least eight tries to connect with the ball. This could take a while. Some “highlights”:
Hole Three (134 yards). I nail a great shot… if I were aiming for hole five’s green, which is far off to the right. The poor souls stuck behind me at hole two wait patiently. At least my Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneakers feel good. The sturdy traction helps on Los Feliz’s not-exactly-Pebble Beach course, and they look legit, even though the person wearing them is clearly clueless.
Hole Six (112 yards). A beer can lies near the green, so I whack it with my club (hey, somebody has to take a stand against littering). Turns out it was half full, so it sprays all over the place—and I anticipate being thrown out any minute.
Hole Seven (107 yards). The tee-off area of hole seven lies right next to hole six’s green, so I’m close to the two guys behind me for the first time. I apologize. I can’t make out what the guy says, but it sounds an awful lot like, “Shame, shame, shame.”
My final score: 57? That doesn’t include the many, many times I tried to hit the ball and totally whiffed. In golf parlance, that’s called “terrible,” but in my Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneakers I felt like I could totally get one of those green jackets.
Leg two: Tennis
The extent of my tennis experience lies back in the mid-’80s, when my cousins and I would go to a nearby high school and try to hit the ball back-and-forth. We’d get excited if we managed four volleys, and 35 years later, my goals are roughly the same.
This time I’m with my wife, Sally, who actually owns a racquet and has played on a few occasions.
I’m shocked to realize I can kind of serve the ball well, at least for someone who’s never done it. That’s the extent of my skill, though. When I manage to connect with the ball during play, I have little control and tend to knock it out of bounds, including sending the ball over the 20-foot fencing around the courts three times. We can’t all have such raw power at our disposal!
Judging by the flaky tape, i think the used racquet i bought has been sitting in someone's closet for a long time.
Thankfully, my ZERØGRAND Winner Tennis Sneakers handle my sudden bursts of movement and quick shifts in direction like they’re nothing, keeping my feet stable and comfortable despite my flailing. Like the Generation ZERØGRAND Golf Sneaker, I feel an obligation to make these shoes proud someday.
The final score: LOL.
Leg three: Running
Finally, something I can do.
I’ve been running since I was conscripted into cross-country my sophomore year of high school, which means I’ve gone through a lot of shoes. These ZERØGRAND Outpace 2’s are the most cushioned running shoes I’ve ever had. The effect was immediate and undeniable when I wore them around the house to break them in. They are surprisingly springy, which explains the excitement internally at Cole Haan about this new Superfeel Foam.
My route follows a packed-dirt path around Silver Lake Reservoir in Los Angeles, which is flat on one side but surprisingly steep in a couple of sections. My second loop around the reservoir is noticeably slower, and I would curse the bigger incline if I weren’t so out of breath.
The good news is my feet feel great, and the nagging tendinitis in my right foot stays away. The bad news is my splits get progressively worse. I blame the 68% humidity and searing LA sun.
The final time: 42:36. Ugh.
With that, the inaugural Cole Haan Triathlon draws to a close. One thing is clear: my shoes performed as promised. I, on the other hand, have a ways to go.