Hi All - being a new runner and never having done a parkrun (and maybe not likely to either), what do people do about their shoes. Mine are practically brand new, I clean them after every run with a toothbrush (I know, :() but if I do a park run (in a park) they're going to get wet and muddy and ruined aren't they? How do I cope with that? Do people have spare pairs just for parkruns? But then surely your feet will object to not having proper support? Do you just grin and bear it.


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34 Replies

  • Now that's what I call dedication :D Never done a parkrun but if you wait for the shoes to dry out it should be easier to get the mud off, though you might need something a bit bigger than a toothbrush ;)

  • Never done a parkrun - Wow!

  • :D Not brave enough :D

  • Ooooh, with all your experience, everyone says the experience is amazing don't they. If I can go for it - you can. My son, who will be coming with me for the first time too, just says 'as long as you don't come last Mum'. I know that what he means is that HE'D be so embarrassed! Well, can't guarantee it. Hey ho.

  • We'll see ;) Quite enjoy running alone and not too sure how I'd feel in a crowd. Anyway, will find out at the end of May when I do the RFL :D

  • Yes, its very relaxing isn't it; calming and restorative. I'm wondering how often people run once they've graduated - what's the minimum you can get away with?!

  • I think we're all different. I do 3 runs a week. On the rare occasion I might do 4. I do one short run concentrating on cadence, one interval run concentrating on speed and one long run. Do you have any plans yet?

  • Right, thanks for the info. No, no plans - just to survive without any injury until Saturday - and then I'll see. But happy just to 'jog' along for a while I think and consolidate.

  • Sounds like a good plan :) I did that for a while too. Enjoy :D

  • Get them muddy and dirty. Go on, so much more fun! My hubby is always threatening to clean my shoes and I won't let him. All that mud and dirt is my badge of honour. I'm proud of it!

  • My parkrun is on a Tarmac path. Check out your course and see how bad it is. I was proud of my mud but I used to have walk through the woods back home after a run. I always remember having my runners for three years before I learnt to run. They were pristine and I was quite embarrassed, but I understand we all have things that bug us, my other half hates his shoes getting muddy.

  • I actually did my first parkrun on Saturday, and I was a bit perturbed about how muddy my nice new New Balances got. However, I got over it pretty quickly. Parkrun is fabulous, and you need your comfortable trainers for it, surely the most important piece of kit!? Also, I found that finally cleaning the mud off my trainers this morning before my run (I ran with muddy shoes on Monday!!) was a handy procrastination tool :)

  • Loved this post - I have lots of procrastination tactics too!

  • Goodness me, I'd be at the bottom of the class! My shoes are filthy, and I love 'em. I run on and off road, they've been plastered in mud, dunked in puddles and drenched in rain storms. I just leave them to dry, bash off the big lumps of mud and dirt and leave them, badges of honour they certainly are!

    It made me laugh at my park run, at the moment, there are puddles and mud, and you do get splashed sometimes, some newbies who were near me were saying how they were concerned about getting their shoes dirty, and they were chaps! I just thought, crikey, don't look at my shoes then!

    There are some things you just don't need to worry about!


  • i could say the same for all my shoes... with the exception of the cosy felted slippers :)

  • Hi Buffy, why not try volunteering one Saturday morning? You will be made very welcome and get the chance to see how muddy the course is. It is also a chance to see how 'normal' the parkrunners are. They are not all superfit and skinny (not that you aren't of course!!!!).

  • Normal?? There's nowt so queer as folk. Yes, I want to volunteer but so far my routine has been doing my running on a Sat morning (that was established before I knew Parkruns existed), and until (if) I graduate I don't want any tweek in my routine to knock me off course. But ..... big announcement ....... my last run3 wk 9 will be on Saturday ..... will I / won't I get those shoes dirty ........

  • guess i am lucky the parkrun i do is on tarmaced paths :D only go off road at the start ... my shoes are still relatively clean but can wait for them to tone down and get dirty :D

  • Go for it! See how dirty you can get them!

  • I'm with you Buffy. I am rather OCD and I wouldn't want to get my shoes all muddy. I think I'd have to have two pairs - one for mud and one for road. I regularly have to clean my son's trainers after rugby at school (a waste of time as he hates it and usually spends most of the time prostrate in the mud getting trodden on by the sporty types) and I can't wait for May when he will go on study leave for GCSEs and then NO MORE MUDDY BOOTS FROM RUGBY EVER EVER EVER!!!! Hurrah!

  • I had to ask my son what OCD meant! Made me laugh - I have a story like that too.

  • Not all Parkruns are in parks - might be worth checking out the routes of a few local ones, some may well be on tarmac paths. My local is on a promenade, no mud in sight.

  • Everywhere I run is very muddy at the moment sometimes over the tops of my trainers (especially along the canal path at Parkrun) I put them in a plastic bag in the car and hose them off at home before putting them on the hot water tank to dry for the next time. They're not pristine but not disgraceful either! I have got a brand new pair waiting for the summer though....

  • I have two pairs for running. One (new balance) bought after getting gait analysis done, and the other (under armour) cheap on ebay. Both, by sheer coincidence and good fortune, are the right type. I used the cheap pair (which I prefer) at the parkrun and was a bit miffed by how muddy it was even though it's on tarmac all the way. I'm in denial at the moment, they are sat in the porch 'drying off' daring me to try to clean them. Fortunately they aren't that bad, just grey round the edges. I have to use 'indoor', i assume that means clean, trainers at the gym, so I use the expensive ones for the treadmill.

    I may be one of madge50's newbies complaining at the start how muddy my shoes were going to get!

    Do it - you'll love it. I'm going again on saturday morning

  • Much that I am proud of my grubby trainers, I take your point about the gym, I rarely run on treadmills - if I can help it, they probably wouldn't let me in! Having two pairs one 'clean' and one 'dirty' is food for thought though.


  • My local parkrun has a mix of tarmac, cinder track and grass (round the edge of playing fields so not muddy). The other one I visited was all on tarmac. However, my route to my local parkrun is a scramble through the woods which is anything but clean. I tripped over a tree root on the way there, last time and fell flat on my face into a particularly boggy piece. The state of my shoes was the least of my concerns. I arrived at the run looking as if I'd been mud-wrestling - I was covered from head to foot.

    I don't worry about my shoes - just knock the big lumps off and periodically wash the uppers in warm water to get the ingrained mud out.

    You will find that people wear all sorts at parkruns. We had a fireman there earlier this year in full gear - boots, helmet, the lot (though I noticed that it didn't take him long to dump the breathing apparatus...).

  • I've never done a Park Run but I have run on the road, on gravel paths and cross country. To answer the first question I do clean my shoes when they start to get a little grubby - they cost me enough, so I need to look after them. Regarding the second part of the question, I don't have spare shoes, but I do have a second pair - specifically trail shoes for the cross country and gravelly path stuff. For me its a question of confidence. If I'm wearing shoes that give me the best grip under the conditions, then I'm likely to run safer and, you never know, possibly better.

    No need to grin and bear it for support. You can find support shoes that are designed for trail running - at a cost, naturally. I chose my road running Brooks GTS after a gait analysis and then bought a pair of Brooks ASR for the trails. The ASR are the same shoe with the same support but the sole has a lot more tread on it. I'm sure other manufacturers do something similar. No reason why you couldn't mix and match either!

    It's a bit like making the right tyre choice on a racing car.

  • I can relate to the tyres living with car enthusiasts. Thanks

  • Hey I never clean them unless they are very dirty. I like to get them as dirty as possible.

  • I never clean my shoes. My nike road shoes ard brill at repelling muck. They look like new despite having more than 500 miles on them. My trail shoes have some dried mud on but it just falls off when i next tun in them

    I would only ever do parkrun in proper running shoes. i think most folks would

  • Funnily enough, with this very concern in mind, I've ended up ordering another pair of running shoes that have been delivered today. Can't have a peek at them until I get home though.

    It was partly prompted by planning to take part in my local parkrun which is mostly tarmac but some cinder paths and grassy bits which can get a bit muddy. Also, so far I've been quite lucky and haven't had to cope with any really wet weather when on my runs. But in preparation for the inevitable I thought it prudent to have another pair to run in whilst one pair dries out.

    My current shoes are Asics GT2000 v2's so rather than risk getting some others which might not be right I thought I'd just get another pair of those, but in a different colour.

    When I went to look online for some I found that they've become as rare as hens teeth, especially in size 10, as they've been replaced by a v3 model. I only managed to find one website that had a few pairs in stock, of a "Lite flow" special edition.

    On the plus side they were a good price £55 instead of £105 full price.

    They're bright orange with extra reflective bits and pieces (hence the lite flow in the name). So I think I shall wear those for my early morning runs in the dark and wear my current blue version for parkruns.

  • As others have said, wear that dirt with pride :) Just let them dry, then whack them together to knock off any big clods of mud. Don't want them getting too heavy ;)


    This is typical for our parkrun at this time of year (ignore the look the chap in black is directing at yellow chap). My shoes come home and if it was wet like this they're probably OK just with drying out. If it was slightly less wet (so the mud is a bit stickier) then they'll need cleaning or once they're dry they will shed mud all over the house (or at least by the front door, and probably through the kitchen to the loo as there's always the need for that last wee before leaving). I figure that small particles of mud are abrasive so if they're left on/in the shoes they're going to cause wear over time, for this reason I do clean my shoes. And very unorthodoxly (is that a proper word?) I stick them in the washing machine. I use a rinse only cycle with no powder or anything and just rinse/gentle spin. Then even worse I stick them on the radiator to dry! (Hey, they're synthetic material, getting warm isn't going to harm them, it's not like they're leather or made of materials that will crack up if they dry out too much.) I figure that if I run through muddy puddles for half an hour in them then a gentle swish round the machine for 15 minutes isn't going to have any adverse effects. I was chatting to a chap after parkrun last week, he actually has a 'shoes' setting on his washing machine! As he said, that's not going to be for your leather brogues so has to be aimed at trainers so his running shoes go in there when they need it as well.

    Well that's my trail shoes and 'all purpose' shoes. My minimals haven't seen the inside of the washer, mainly because they're generally only used on road so haven't yet been dirty enough to justify washing.

    I did run the Royal Parks 10k winter runs, I turned up for the first one at Greenwich with my rather dirty, post parkrun, not washed shoes on to be greeted with views of everyone with sparkly clean trainers and as we were wandering round before the start I was thinking how they'd get a shock of running in the park with muddy tracks, then the whole of the run was on tarmac paths! No mud puddles in sight! I'm not sure whether I was disappointed or pleased at the underfoot conditions.

  • Thank you everyone for all your thoughts and comments - great advice and laughs. I think the denouement is that I'm going to go for it - wear the mud with pride as most of you say. But I don't think I'll be doing it in the conditons posted by 'Beads' My Goodness what stars - I adore the look on that chaps face - and then there's the one who is obviously having an absolute ball. What amazing people.

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