Winter is my least favourite time of year at the gym. The gyms are typically crowded, temperature is never right (too muggy in Australia, too cold in Canada), and gym etiquette seems to go out the window. The last point leads me to today’s topic and one of my biggest gym pet peeves: dirty, non-gym dedicated shoes.
What are gym dedicated shoes you ask? These are runners/joggers/sneakers/whatever-they-call-them-in-the-country-you-are-currently-reading-this-blog-from and/or lifting shoes that you only wear to the gym. And only the gym! They are like your indoor shoes from elementary school that never see the great outdoors. They stay clean and pretty for the gym, which make most personal trainers very happy.
Where my pet peeve starts is people who wear dirty shoes into the gym without a second thought. That run in the park yesterday? Yep, all that grass is still stuck in the bottom of your shoes. Wet shoes from the rain/snow outside? You are creating slippery puddles beside the weight racks now. Sandy shoes from the beach yesterday? It is now all over the stretching mats. And don’t even get me started on mud!
Winter means wetter weather, which in turn leads to dirty shoes. This is fine if you have gym dedicated shoes. Simple change out of them when you get to the gym and you are good to go! But if you have worn your shoes anywhere else, especially if you got them wet, many of the above examples apply. This in turn can lead to a very dirty gym and, especially in smaller gyms, personal trainers that are left to clean up your mess. In addition, if your dirty shoes created a mess in the first class of the day and we teach back-to-back classes, we often have to take time out of the second class to clean it up. Not exactly the start to a class PT’s like.
While I understand that shoes can be expensive (former student here!), I do strongly believe having dedicated gym shoes is a must for any gym goers. Depending on use and if you take care of them, gym shoes should last you at least 3-5 years. My current ones are about 4.5-5 years old and just starting to show their age. Not bad shoes I wear daily, and well worth the approximately $110 price tag. If you really can’t afford an extra pair at the moment, cleaning your shoes really well before going to the gym. (And avoid puddles in the parking lot!)
The whole point of the rant is: please wear clean shoes at the gym. Whether it’s gym dedicated shoes or well cleaned everyday runners, clean shoes make the gym a better space. All gym goers want a clean, beautiful space to get our sweat on, so let’s work together to achieve it!