A Holiday Reminder: Running Shoes Aren't 'Cute Gifts'

 iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

We get it. The idea of watching your loved one unwrap a brand-new pair of running shoes on Christmas morning is undeniably fun—the anticipation, the "big reveal," the look of joy and love on his or her face, the excitement as the family's newest addition gets passed around and fussed over.

But what happens the next day, and the day after that, after the thrill has worn off? The reality isn't quite so happy.

Every year, tens of thousands of pairs of new running shoes wind up abandoned after the holidays. They are shoved into dark closets; dumped into big, scary clothing-donation bins; or simply left on thrift-shop counters.

Some never even make it out of their boxes again after Christmas morning, spending the rest of their lives trapped in a cardboard coffin. It's heartbreaking. 

They may seem cute at first, but running shoes aren't "toys" or playthings. They are a big responsibility. They require lots of exercise—you'll need to take them outside several times a week, for miles at a time. You need to keep them out of very high temperatures. (You'd be shocked to learn how many people leave their running shoes in a locked car on a hot, summer day.) If they get wet, you have to remove their insoles and stuff them with newspaper, replacing it as needed until they're dry.

In short, running shoes require a lot of work.

If you know someone who is serious about becoming a runner, there are plenty of other holiday gift options. And if they really have their heart set on shoes, take them shopping, after the holidays, at a specialty running store to ensure they go home with the right ones. Choosing a pair of shoes because they look cute in the store window is not the way to go. 

This holiday season, if you're thinking of giving running shoes as a gift, please think twice. Too often, gift-givers don't think at all. And it's the shoes that pay the price.