Fitness Fridays: Would zany sneakers make me run faster?

Just recently I've been noticing some flashy footwear worn by some impressive athletes. Soccer players around the world have adopted eye-catching colorful cleats that send a statement: I'm confident and I'm worth watching. For European league superstars, such as Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, it's OK to draw attention to one's spectacular footwork with sleek gold or neon yellow. But do they also gain an additional psychological edge over their less flashy colleagues? Could the person-in-the-street improve their game with some dazzling footwear?

(Friday's the day the Health Notes blog gets personal. Every other day it provides updates on both local and national health news. You can also friend Health Notes on facebook. Or follow on twitter, @dphealthnotes. Or receive a free e-letter every Monday with a weekly digest of the top health news. Go to and sign up under e-newsletters.)

I contemplated this one day in the course of a very pedestrian treadmill 'workout' at the Y while the girl on the machine in front of me hurtled along, pink shoes flashing, ponytail swinging. It had to be the shoes I thought to myself. When she finished, I brazenly asked her how fast she had set her machine. "Oh, I was doing sprints," she said, sounding nonchalant -- she was hitting a peak momentum of 10 mph for several minutes at a time, it turned out. That's fast! (The shoes, the shoes!)

Then there's one of my not-so-young tennis partners who routinely wears black sneakers. Their very appearance suggests an athleticism and youth quite different from the others on the court. She just looks as if she must be moving faster than the others. They have to be what adds the dynamism to her game.

It's hard to find "court" shoes rather than running shoes or cross-trainers. Routinely, once I find a pair I like, the maker discontinues that style. (I know that's true for lots of people -- we'd still buy shoes, they should know. They wear out within months. WHY DO THEY DO THIS?)

Anyway, fit IS still the most important -- so I compromised and went with the neon-pink laces to jazz up my almost the same-as-usual new shoes. (And I have found that replacing shoes before they're completely worn out is worthwhile in preventing injuries.)  I don't know that I'm any faster. Nor could they possibly be construed as intimidating. But the distraction factor is working as I've posted a good record with them -- and received an extraordinary number of compliments! Just wait till I try the green ones. (One thing - the laces are 45 inches, as recommended in the store. They're too short and I have to miss the last two holes. Next time I'll get longer ones.)

(p.s. I'm thinking about making New Year's resolutions this week instead of waiting until after the holidays. That way I might not have to be so hard on myself in January! Just an idea.)

For more health news, go to



Copyright © 2018, CT Now