"As far as I can tell," he said, "a shoe of this kind was first used in Sweden. Their best jumper, Bengt Nilsson, has been using a thick-soled shoe for about five years. A couple of years ago one of our jumpers, Eero Salminen, showed up one day with one of them. I said, "What is that you are wearing?" He said, "Nilsson wears one, so I'm trying it." Now most of our jumpers use them. They give a great improvement in performance—I would say from three to five inches. Of course, you must remember that the two Russian jumpers, who have done the best with them, are very good jumpers anyhow, very good boys. I am only surprised that Ernie Shelton and Charlie Dumas have not adopted this shoe.
"There are three reasons for its effect on jumping. To begin with, the thick sole raises the jumper from 18 to 20 millimeters off the ground. Second, and most important, it is a sort of built-in inclined plane—it artificially makes the jumper go uphill during his approach. Those African natives who jump so high run up ant hills—actually run up inclined planes as they jump. A man running on the level tends to go forward, not up, and even a slight uphill slant helps him. Third, since the jumper's heel is lower than his toes his foot becomes a more efficient lever—it moves through a greater are—and he can apply power for a fraction of a second longer in jumping."
Valste has ordered 12 more of the new shoes for Finnish jumpers—but with reluctance. Though the new shoes raise no proper mystery, they do raise a question of principle. Says Valste: "I am against these shoes. It is the athlete, not his equipment, which should be important."
The ends cross; they stop and shake;
The pass falls incomplete.
Awful play, but easy way
To make ends meet.