Editor's Note: We've been getting some great Readers' Tech Tips from you guys and gals, so keep up the good work. But this month we got a longer one from a reader up in North Carolina that we wanted to share. We think you'll find it particularly helpful if you race in a series where pit crews go over the wall.
Dear Circle Track,
I am the strength and conditioning coach for the Nextel Cup teams of Roush Racing. Over the last three years of working with our pit crews, I've noticed that the pit-crew shoes, as good as they are, get destroyed in a matter of weeks. I sent a pair to the manufacturer, who returned them to me stating that the condition of the shoes was due to fair wear and tear. But it's nave to believe that the manufacturer would rather sell shoes than fix the problem.
The problem is in the shoe toe cap and instep area of the foot. The toe cap and side structure of the shoe keeps the foot stable while in motion. More importantly, when in good condition, the form-fitting shoe prevents the foot from shifting excessively and ensures that the bone structure of the foot doesn't separate at the instep. I have tire changers who I have had to treat for pain of the instep and toes. Anyway, the shoe is also supposed to absorb and dissipate the impact of the feet striking the ground and jumping from the wall. Plus, when tire changers hit the lug nuts, they continually scuff the instep and the toe cap. All of this leads to the shoes prematurely wearing out.
The quick solution that I have come up with is to use Shoe Goo, a three-dollar item sold at Wal-Mart and sport stores everywhere. It is a tube of clear, pliable adhesive that dries like rubber. Squeeze it over the entire toe area for the toe cap and on the inside of the shoe or wherever else desired. Once dry, it will form a clear, rubbery layer of protective covering. It can be applied as thick as needed; the rubber will wear and take abuse rather than the shoe's material. All that is left is to use a permanent marker to return the shoe color. A tube will double the life of the shoes until the manufacturers come up with a better idea.
Although some team members may get pit shoes at no charge, there are many having to pay out of pocket for the shoe. Nevertheless, money being spent is money being spent, and saving a little here goes a long way there.
Roush Fenway Racing
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