The perfect pandemic running shoe has to be affordable, and built to last. I want something familiar, since I won’t be able to try anything on and will have to buy on them on the internet, and I want something indestructible, which is how I feel we all have to pretend to be right now.
I’ve been asking people about their favourite shoes and hearing a lot of vocal responses. Sneakers, to a runner, become almost like a pet, like a lucky charm—I guarantee you there are people out there who wear their favourite sneaker on their arm, as a tattoo.
What shoes do you run in?
This is a very personal thing. You can’t just ask somebody their PB. You have to know them first for a little bit. What brand of shoe do you represent? Do you wear New Balance, which is tried and true; Asics, known for running and not, for instance, partnerships with Kanye West? Or how about Nike, which makes the new, new thing and is probably worth more than every other brand, combined? Tell me your sneaker and I may just judge.
I have no interest, during a global pandemic, in wearing $300 shoes. I don’t want to wear something designed to make me out sprint a horse. This time, currently, for me, is for the long, slow run. I want cushioning. I want foam. (My last purchase, off Amazon, was a weighted blanket).
There’s lots of new people running and I see them along the MGT in Toronto and perhaps our social distancing could be improved. They wear hooded cotton sweatshirts and basketball shorts. The guys, lots of times, throw in some variation of shadow boxing and yesterday, along Dundas, I saw a woman break into yoga poses to her reflection on a crafts store that was closed. I love all these people. They’re getting outside and turning running into whatever they want it to be. However, we’re a running magazine, mostly, and I feel like I should help them, or anyone looking for some new running shoe advice.
When buying sneakers during COVID-19, if possible, go with something you’ve worn before. Go with something you trust from someone you know and, preferably, and this is super important, from an independent retailer who’s probably broken-heartedly had to lay off their staff and needs a government loan just to pay off their rent. I wouldn’t worry about shoes that correct pronation and I wouldn’t worry about a carbon plate. Most humans need neutral running sneakers, which every brand makes, and most runners need decent heel support, because almost all of us—including our stars—land on our heels.
Mike Anderson, owner of BlackToe Running, recommends, for my purposes, the Nike Pegasus, New Balance 880v10, Saucony Ride ISO 2, adidas Boston 8, Asics Cumulus 21, the Hoka Clifton 6, and On Running Cloudswift.
99% of us should be adequately supported by any one of those.
I don’t think it’s time for a shoe that you can only wear once and then the sole burns away so your sock hits the street. COVID-19 is not the time to break out your Excalibur. No one cares how fast you can go.
I want to run slowly and, as the sun starts to shine, spend as much time as I can feeling free. I don’t want to race. I want to jog. There’s a bunch of stories we have coming out about people writing about their favourite shoes, including one from Brittany Moran, who named her cat Pegasus, after those Nike shoes. I like that, because our sneakers are important. During COVID-19, they’re a portal to a world before this world.
I want it to last for as long as it can.