By Ethan Shea
It goes without saying that athletic footwear has developed in leaps and bounds over the past several decades, but did you know Villanova is connected to one of the most innovative running shoes ever built?
In fact, the name of this groundbreaking shoe is the Villanova, and it was made in 1974 by the running shoe company Brooks. The Villanova was the first shoe to use EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) in its midsole as an alternative to heavier and less responsive rubber. Since the Villanova was released, EVA has become commonplace in the production of running shoes.
This game-changing shoe earned its name through a connection to Olympic middle-distance runner and Villanova alumnus Marty Liquori. The Villanova’s design was guided by the input of Liquori, who has a long list of athletic accolades, including American record holder in both the two mile and five kilometer distances.
At the age of 19, Liquori was also the youngest person to compete in the 1500 meter Olympic finals. Liquori’s Olympic debut took place during the summer of 1968 in Mexico City.
In 1979, Liquori published his autobiography, On the Run: In Search of the Perfect Race, which is held in Falvey’s Special Collections. The above photo of Liquori can be found in the 1969 edition of Belle Air, which can be accessed through Distinctive Collection’s Digital Library. The recently updated Digital Library can also be used to read previous issues of The Villanovan, faculty and student publications or even University commencement material dating back to 1850.
Ethan Shea is a second-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant Falvey Library.