This post was originally submitted as an assignment for my Writing for Magazines course.
It’s 3:00 in the Elmen Center locker room. I throw my backpack aside, quickly transitioning from student to athlete. I unbutton, unzip and shimmy out of my jeans, pull off my sweater and slide into a t-shirt and shorts. I slip on breathable socks and twist my frizzy, red hair into a bun. The last thing I do? Double knot my baby blue New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s.
In four months, my 1080s have travelled to three different states. They’ve seen everything from sparkling St. Paul lakes to groaning treadmill belts. They’ve soaked in rain puddles and scraped against cement. A few mid-run falls tore holes in their toe fabric. Still, they’re reliable. Still, I love them.
Shoes don’t just hold runners’ feet in place; they represent our journeys. On Monday, I spoke with Augustana University cross country runners about their own shoe stories.
Name: Avery Selberg
Shoe: Hoka Cliftons
Why? “Dr. Wayne at Active Spine told me to wear them.”
Favorite run: “I did a four-mile MER [Medium Endurance Run] around campus, and my pace was like 6:35. I hadn’t been in that good of shape in a long time. It felt really easy.”
Name: Morgan Parys
Shoe: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18
Why? “They have a guide rail that helps my feet from pronating. It keeps my arch up and my foot in the right spot when I run.”
Favorite run: “I ran in Guatemala’s Tikal National Park through the Mayan ruins. It was a lot of fun. Most of the people were gone, so there were just open roads through the park.”
Name: Elizabeth Yoder
Shoe: Hoka Bondi 5
Why? “They have a lot of cushioning. My right foot gets hurt a lot, so I like shoes with a lot of cushion.”
Favorite run: “A pre-meet run with [my teammate] Rachel before Howard Wood. We went two miles, and it felt like we were flying the whole time. It was beautiful.”
Name: Mariah Haight
Shoe: Brooks Bedlam
Why? “They’re fierce, and they’re not purple. I feel like women’s shoes are always purple.”
Favorite run: “Probably this warmup that I did [for a track meet], and I accidentally forgot my orthotics. But, I PRed anyway. It was rough.”
Name: Paige Sunstrom
Shoe: Saucony Guides ISO 2
Why? “These shoes are what have worked for me in the past, so I just continue to wear them.”
Favorite run: “Quite honestly, today. I had a grand old time running by myself. I didn’t have a watch; I just went and jogged around.”
Name: Courtney Hottovy
Shoe: Brooks Ghost
Why? “They are the perfect amount of flexible and supportive.”
Favorite run: “Anytime I was with my teammates. For awhile I only wore [the Brooks] on the treadmill, and that wasn’t very fun.”
Name: Leah Seivert
Shoe: Asics GT 2000
Why? “I started wearing [Asics] in high school … and they’ve always worked. Well, I’ve gotten injured, so maybe they haven’t always worked. But I still like them.”
Favorite run: “The cooldown after my final collegiate race. It closed out 11 years of competing in a sport that I love.”