Gender And Jogging

As a dedicated walker, I get an opportunity to observe joggers every day as they come slogging past me.  And based upon years of study I can confirm that there is one obvious difference between female joggers and male joggers.


It’s not speed, or running style — it’s attire.

Women runners clearly have paid attention to what they are wearing.  Their outfits are colorful and stylish, and they’ve clearly put time and thought into the clothing effort.  Often their running shoes match their headwear, or gloves.  Earlier this week I saw a young woman runner sporting a terrific color-coordinated ensemble with bright white shoes, striped red and white leggings, a red fleece jacket, and bright white earmuffs and gloves.  She looked like she was jogging to the mall to get her picture taken with Santa Claus.

The guy joggers?  Not so much.  They’ve apparently just rolled out of bed and rummaged through the dirty laundry pile to try to find their “lucky” sweatpants and a ratty sweatshirt.  They pretty much look like crap as they go huffing and puffing around Schiller Park, and they obviously don’t care about it one bit.

Since I have never been a jogger, I can’t speak to motivation when it comes to running, but I can certainly see how selecting the right outfit might actually contribute to the exercise effort.  Careful attention to clothing is bound to help with the mental preparation for the run, and if you feel like you look ready for a good run it’s more likely that you are ready for a good run — just like kids who wore Red Ball Jets sneakers back in the ’60s felt like they could “run faster and jump higher” in those shoes than in others.

The guy joggers need to up their game.

Red Ball Jets

When I was a kid, my favorite sneakers were Red Ball Jets. At the heel of the shoe, where the rubber label was, they had a bright red ball that looked like the afterburner on a jet. They were cool-looking and definitely made you run faster — and as an overweight kid, I needed all the help I could get!

I happened to mention Red Ball Jets today, and to my disgust the people I was talking to scoffed at the idea that they ever existed. So, I ran a Google search, and to my amazement not only are there webpages discussing Red Ball Jets, there are even vintage, unworn pairs of kid-sized Red Ball Jets for sale on ebay — pairs like this one. They look just like I remembered. I can almost feel the cool canvas and smell the sharp new rubber tang in the air as I lace them on and run outside on a hot summer day.