The ad from Adidas shows a young boy, wearing a Nike sneaker, trying on a pair of Adidas running shoes.
The ad says the shoes have been “designed with the athlete in mind.”
I guess they were meant for athletes, too.
But the ad is also about me.
I wear shoes.
I can run fast, and I run fast for the wrong reasons.
They say the sneakers “are made for the athlete who is running.”
But they also make the wearer vulnerable, because the shoes do nothing to make me feel safe, let alone like a man.
As the ad shows, I wear running shoes for one reason only: to run fast.
And that reason is to run for me.
And to me, the ad makes me feel bad for wearing running shoes at all.
I am not proud of my body.
I know that I am in the minority.
Running shoes are the only shoes I know I will never be able to wear, so I wear them as a symbol of my vulnerability, of my struggle to survive, of how far I have to go to prove myself.
Running is a rite of passage.
Running brings me joy and pride, but the reality is, for most of us, the running shoes don’t work.
Runners feel pain, fatigue, and exhaustion when they run.
The pace and intensity of running can affect the quality of sleep, feelings of anxiety, depression, and more.
Running can also cause heart disease, and in some cases, cancer.
As a result, millions of people worldwide have stopped running because of their physical limitations.
The problem is not limited to runners.
Runers can wear running as a form of protest, a way to say, I am an outlier, and so I should be supported.
I have always run.
I’m not a man, or a woman, or an athlete, or even a child.
But for many people, running is a sign of weakness, self-doubt, and self-loathing.
I was once so proud of running that I thought running was my right.
But then I realized that I had no idea what I was running for.
I had never run at all, but now I know, and it feels good.
The shoes in the ad are not meant to be a sign.
They are meant to feel like something I would wear if I were to run.
But that isn’t what I want.
I want a shoe that is a symbol, a reminder, of the things I have achieved, of where I stand in the world, of what I could achieve, and of how I could change.
To me, running shoes are just a form.
I don’t want to wear them because I’m a woman.
I’d like to wear running to show that I’m an outlander.
I need to wear my running shoes to prove that I can stand up to the bullies.
I love my running, but I want to run to show my power.
I wish to show what I can do with my legs.
And in the coming weeks, I hope that the Adidas ad, like many others, will help me achieve that goal.
It is a way of showing that I, too, can run for myself.
It’s a way for me to feel safe running on a Sunday afternoon.
I also hope that running will help to bring more visibility to the fact that I cannot run for a sport I love.
It doesn’t matter how big a sport my love of running is, running isn’t about me anymore.
Running for myself is about me, and showing that it can be.
Running doesn’t have to be about me in order to be good for someone else.
It can also be about you, your family, your community, and your world.
It could even be about all of us.
When you wear a running shoe, you put yourself out there, and you show others that you can run and that it’s okay to do so.
Running isn’t just for the elite.
It should be for everyone, not just runners.