6 Things Your Running Shoes Say About You

6 Things Your Running Shoes Say About You1Run­ners like to meet oth­er run­ners. We also like to size each oth­er up. It’s sort of like being in the dat­ing world; you’re nev­er ‘just meet­ing some­one’ when you’re sin­gle and on the prowl. Every per­son you meet is a poten­tial mate for at least a split sec­ond. You begin siz­ing them up imme­di­ate­ly to deter­mine if they have what you’re look­ing for. When run­ners meet oth­er run­ners, we sim­i­lar­ly size each oth­er up, ask­ing our­selves, “Could I see myself run­ning with this per­son?” In my 18 years of run­ning, I’ve come to learn that if you real­ly want to know more about anoth­er run­ner, all you need to do is look down. The style, con­di­tion, and loca­tion of their run­ning shoes may reveal all you ever want­ed to know. Here are a few con­clu­sions I’ve reached:

The flashier the shoes, the new­er the run­ner
It is rare to find good-look­ing run­ning shoes that are also high­ly func­tion­al. Let’s face it; good run­ning shoes are gen­er­al­ly pret­ty lame look­ing.  The bet­ter the run­ner and more spe­cif­ic of a shoe – espe­cial­ly high mileage shoes – the dorki­er they will look. A sea­soned run­ner has already accept­ed this and has long stopped car­ing. A new run­ner, still naive to run­ning fash­ion, will often opt for the “pret­ti­er” or “cool­er” look­ing shoe, giv­ing lit­tle or no care to the qual­i­ty or func­tion­al­i­ty of that shoe. Some­thing in them still believes the shoe alone can make a runner.

rtWhy would a used run­ning shoe ever be clean?
If you’re hon­est­ly run­ning sev­er­al days a week, whether it’s on a tread­mill, across the pave­ment, or through the trails, your shoes will be dis­col­ored by sweat at best and, more like­ly, absolute­ly filthy from the ele­ments. Sport­ing dirty run­ning shoes around oth­er run­ners is code for, “It’s cool guys. I’m one of you.”

Laces are the Key
Take an extra-close gan­der at the shoelaces. Sea­soned run­ners have learned that flat laces done up in the tra­di­tion­al criss­cross pat­tern just don’t get the job done. Some­one who has learned their les­son after a face plant due to an untied lace will have either oval laces, yankz, lock laces, or at least use a runner’s‑style of lac­ing (which cre­ates loops in the top two lac­ing holes, then strings the laces through an for iron-clan lace lock) when tying their shoes.

Loca­tion, loca­tion, loca­tion
Where do you keep your run­ning shoes? The occa­sion­al run­ner will like­ly store their shoes in their clos­et so they are out of sight and less like­ly to be tripped over. How­ev­er, if you’re run­ning every day — or at least most days a week – your shoes are prob­a­bly kept right by the door, where their dirt encrust­ed bot­toms will not taint your clos­et (and you always know right where they are). Plus, see #5.

 nsThey are sup­posed to stink
They’re run­ning shoes. They’re intend­ed for work­outs, which involves sweat. Sweat stinks. If your shoes don’t reek, you prob­a­bly ought to be run­ning harder.

We have a read­er
Odds are, if the run­ner you’re siz­ing up is sport­ing a pair of five fin­gers, they are avid read­ers of the most cur­rent trendy run­ning books and blogs. If you haven’t heard, bare­foot and min­i­mal run­ning shoes are all the rage right now, thanks to the explo­sion of inter­est caused by a lit­tle book called Born to Run.

Next time you meet a run­ner, chal­lenge your­self to look past their clothes, physique, and claims of great­ness or per­haps humil­i­ty; sim­ply let their run­ning shoes do the talk­ing, because when it real­ly comes down to it, shoes don’t lie.