Whether you run in shorts or capris, a T shirt or just a sports bra, the things all runners have in common are our sneakers. Some of us are minimalists while others are total hoarders, but odds are we’ve all had these six pairs in our closets at some point.
The destroyed pair
This pair has been through a lot. Marathons, mud runs, mountain trails—these sneakers have seen you through all your toughest running pursuits in cushioned-sole bliss. But after more miles (and holes) than you’re willing to admit, you finally had to retire them, lest you give new meaning to the term barefoot running. But even though their appearance—and let’s be honest, their smell—is less than stellar, you can’t bring yourself to toss them. So they sit in your closet, remind you of your running triumphs… and occasionally make an appearance for some particularly grungy yardwork.
The fresh pair
There’s nothing like that first run in a new pair. You open the box, unfold the tissue paper and inhale the possibilities. You try them on around the house, imagining the epic ten-milers you’ll run and the countless races you’ll crush. From the cushioning to the ankle support to way you positively bounce with each stride, you wonder if you should put them back on the shelf and save that magical first run for a special occasion. Then you come to your senses because duh, new sneakers!
The painful pair
Maybe they were on sale, maybe they were just too cute, but for some reason you were temporarily possessed and purchased a pair that was a tad too small (or tight, or pinchy, or ankle-rubby). Even though you knew they weren’t right, you were drawn to them…and ran in them exactly once before putting them on the shelf to remind you to never forsake a shoe fitting again.
The pretty pair
While you know, deep down, that the colors and designs on your sneakers don’t matter, every runner occasionally falls for the pair that is just.so.pretty. They somehow make every outfit cuter, every run-selfie more stylish and give you an extra pep in your step whenever you look down. This pair is the little black dress of your shoe collection—they go with everything, always make your feel confident and it’s nearly impossible to resist buying yet another pair whenever you go shopping.
The gym pair
If you’re good, you keep separate pairs of sneakers for running and cross-training to keep both in the proper shape. But just like runners can be notorious for neglecting the gym, they also tend to spend a fraction of the time they’d spend choosing running shoes picking out cross-trainers. Instead of experimenting with different brands and testing them with squats and lunges, you likely waltzed in, pointed to the ones that “looked fine,” and carried them out without even trying them on. Not the best idea and a recipe for adding another painful pair to your collection but hey, if they don’t work out, there’s always yoga, right?
The tried-and-true pair
It was love at first stride with these sneaks and you’ve never looked back. You’ve faithfully replaced them with identical pairs, had panic attacks when they changed the model, scoured the internet for the old ones and bought multiple pairs at once to be safe. They’re the shoes you have to wear on race day, the shoes you recommend to everyone, the shoes that just get you. They’re your sole-mates and you’ll wear them until the day you stop running or the day they stop making them (please let it be the former!).
Related: 6 New Running Shoes To Try Right Now