Jim Fixx's personally-worn pair of bright red Onitsuka Tiger racing flats, shown on the cover of his landmark 1977 bestseller The Complete Book of Running. In 1981, Fixx donated the shoes to a charity auction for 'Books Behind Bars,' a program to help build the inventory of prison libraries. Includes a handwritten and signed letter of provenance from Fixx, dated May 23, 1981, in full: "For your Books Behind Bars auction, here are the running shoes I wore for the jacket of The Complete Book of Running. I think I ran the 1978 Boston Marathon in them…I liked them so much I patched the heels myself." Also accompanied by a hardcover edition of The Complete Book of Running, complete with its dust jacket on which these shoes are seen. In fine condition, with expected wear from use.
An article on RunningPast.com explains the significance of this pair of iconic running shoes: "Once upon a time, before there were endless models of running shoes, so many that the designers seem to run out of color combinations…Before there were libraries filled with guides to running, mountains of books with training schedules and tapering plans, there was one book, with it's bright red cover designed to catch your eye and boy, did it attract attention.
In 1977 Jim Fixx wrote 'The Complete Book of Running' and the running boom was launched into a higher orbit. It became the best-selling non-fiction hardcover book ever at the time of its publishing. Thousands followed Jim's advice, laced up their running shoes and took to the streets. Race fields swelled with the newly converted and the marathon went from an oddity to the holy grail of runners everywhere.
Jim posed for the cover himself, sporting a pair of red nylon Onitsuka Tiger racing flats. It's hard to even consider these running shoes, they were more like slippers. They offered no support and even less cushioning, but they were beautiful.
It may be hard to imagine today, but in the mid 1970s it was hard to find racing flats. When you bought a pair of Tigers you were serious about running, you were an athlete. Bill Rodgers wore them for God's sake! Their appearance on the book jacket let seasoned runners know that this book was for real.
Onitsuka Tigers became an iconic symbol of the early days of the running boom, a time when American runners were dominant on the roads and it was all new and the theme from 'Chariots of Fire' was ringing in our ears."
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.