Good morning! It’s time to announce the Ratty Sneakers Contest CHAMPION!  The winner is announced at the end of the blog.  She receives a $100 Gift Certificate to so she can replace her ratty old kicks!


But first, here are all of the AMAZING entries:


  • Erin, 23, from New Jersey



Ode to my Ratty Sneakers  (A Poem by Erin)

Though once a bright white pair
Now gym-goers only just stare
I used to simply not care
Until 2 red blisters appeared at the tares
"It’s like a new pair of underwear, meant to break in"
But not to the point that’s removing my skin
A long road we’ve traveled my sneakers and I
But this abusive relationship must end, so GOODBYE!



Hey! Your sneakers look perfect fine. They are snow white. Bet you hardly wear them. Well. The last statement is so true because everytime I wear these sneakers, my feet hurt because these were ‘on sale’ sneakers and I should’ve known better.  Running is my favorite summer exercise… [but] my old pair was history, so I needed a new one badly.  As a graduate student, I’ve limited budget, so when I saw these white sneakers on sale (I don’t even like white sneakers), I jumped at that chance, but long and behold, they actually hurt my feet everytime I wear them. So now, I can’t run, so I resorted to swimming  instead. I really miss my sweating session and that’s why I need a pair of good quality sneakers soon.  Don’t be fooled by the innocent whiteness. These sneakers are sharks! 🙂


  • Ashley, 21 from San Diego


These sneakers have carried me through finding my love of running (And of myself again) after a broken heart, my first marathon, two stressful semesters of full-time school and full-time work and 20-30 miles of stress release by hitting the open road every week for the past year and a half. It’s time for these babies to retire, I love these running shoes but they’re beat up from all my running and they’re a size too small for me! and don’t have enough support. Next to the shoes you can see where my toes keep grating and cutting against the edges of the shoes and bleeding into my socks. That’s why I desperately need new shoes, to save my poor, tortured, bleeding feet so that I can keep my love of running, competing in races, training and my toes all in one piece!




I wear these shoes to the gym five days a week and while walking my insanely hyperactive dog for probably about an hour or an hour and a half a day.  They are 1 1/2 years old and they have HOLES in them.  Also, I would just like to say that Chris and I were supposed to get each other new sneakers for Christmas, but I allowed him to purchase the 50 inch flat screen that is now taking up half of my living room instead.  So you know, when my knees and ankles give out due to a lack of supportive footwear, at least I will have something to watch while I lay on the couch.


  • Chandra, 25 from West Des Moines, Iowa


These shoes were purchased in June of this year.  Since that day these shoes have gone through:

  1. 2 months of 2-a-day training for my 200 mile relay race
  2. Ran 200 mile relay race
  3. Ran multiple 5ks
  4. PR’d a 5k
  5. 10 mile race
  6. Training for a half marathon
  7. Running (and PRing) a half marathon
  8. And miscellaneous recreational running 

They even have sole inserts in them that are worn down!!  (that’s the blue things sticking out of them).  I am now beginning training for the my 2009 season, which right now includes a half marathon on March 28th, a half marathon on April 25th, and a 20K on May 30th… and that doesn’t even count any smaller races I might be doing!!  I really need new shoes to start my training!! 


  • Chris, 31 from Boston entering for her brother, Andrew

chris for andrew

My brother is not a runner, but he is a long distance hiker.  Over the past few years he has hiked the Appalachian Trail (from Georgia to Maine), the Pacific Crest Trail (from Mexico to Canada through CA, OR, and WA), and the Continental Divide Trail (again from Mexico to Canada, but through different states).  Pictured here are some of his sneakers from when he hiked the AT.  This was when he reached CT, and I think he may have already replaced them once.  These are the same model and color of shoes, with the old ones on the left and the new ones on the right.  If they don’t qualify as ratty, I don’t know what does!  Due to some unfortunate circumstances he was unable to finish the CDT.  He only has a couple hundred more miles to go, and I know that receiving money for new shoes would be much appreciated.  Living in the Boston area, most of the money he earns goes towards rent and other necessities, with what’s left being saved for his next adventure.


  • Olga, 20 from Brooklyn, New York


Dear Sneakers,

It’s not you, it’s me. For the past 2 years, you’ve helped me step on the treadmill, run outside despite dirt and rain, cry in the locker room after weighing myself, all while leaving behind 10, 20 and finally, 30 pounds. But I’ve noticed that as I get fitter, stronger, happier, you’re getting weaker, rattier and less supportive. Now that I am nearly at my goal weight, the blisters you grace me with are only slowing me down. It’s just not the same anymore, blue eyes. You changed my life, but my goals have outgrown your abilities. Let’s stay in touch. I’ll call you when I drop another 5. 


Sincerely yours, Perseverance 


  • Sarah, 27 from Chestertown, Maryland


I have a confession. I am hard on my shoes. Very hard. Sadly my daily walks, exertion on the elliptical, and zumba classes have taken a toll on my favorite pair of sneakers. (They were the first gift my boyfriend ever bought me.) They have several holes in them, and they definitely don’t have the most pleasant aroma. In addition to the toughness I exert on my sneakers, they have another problem. I can’t seem to clean them. It all started when I stepped in Miss Daisy’s you-know-what. Miss Daisy is my boyfriend’s 120 pound bloodhound. She’s a big, beautiful, good dog, but she is messy. So, when I went to turn on the light in the living room to clean up her mess a few weeks ago, the unthinkable happened, and I stepped in it. I know- totally disgusting. Now, I just can’t get my sneakers clean which means I’ve resorted to wearing my even more ratty sneakers from three years ago. (As you know, money’s tight these days.) Because my sneakers smell awful, look disgusting, and hurt my feet, I would love to win your contest. I would buy an amazing new pair of comfy shoes from and DEFINITELY be more mindful of Miss Daisy.


This is Miss Daisy. She feels really bad about ruining my sneakers:



  • Sarah, 27 from Texas



I run 5-6 times a week and sadly, because my shoes are in not-so-great condition and because they’re probably not the right shoe for my foot, my toenails are perpetually black and/or falling off. (I would lovelovelove to win this contest so that I can save my feet from future damage… and finally retire my faithful shoes.  Have mercy on my toes and choose me as your winner!



    1. My sneakers have that unique shade of gray achieved only by running in every conceivable weather condition. These used to be white.
    2. They smell. Trust.
    3. They helped me knock 40 minutes off my best marathon time and that doesn’t happen without blood (blisters), sweat (long runs on vacation in Puerto Rico), and tears (oh dear God, I’m about to run 26.2 miles…)
    4. I’ve just done the math for the first time and they’ve logged 600+ miles. That’s gotta make them like, scary ratty.
    5. I feel it necessary to mention they smell again because let’s be real, why should those around me be punished for my running addiction? 


    Bonus reason why I deserve the gift certificate and the even bigger honor of being named Ratty Sneakers Champion:  1 need new kicks if I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year!


  • Amanda, 25 from Fort Collins



    Once upon a time, I was a dancer.  I didn’t worry about my weight or level of physical fitness because I danced for 4 hours (minimum) every single day.  After my first year of college, I gave up my dream of being a dancer to become a teacher.  My teaching job left me with very little money for a gym membership and I didn’t know where to start anyway so I gained weight and was very unhealthy. 

    Eventually, I learned enough about nutrition and exercise to take off the weight.  Last Thanksgiving, I decided to learn to run, it had always been a dream of mine.  I put on the only sneakers I had (who could afford new sneakers on a teacher’s salary anyway?!?) and I completed the Couch to 5K running program.  I have become the runner I always dreamt of being! 

    I have set a goal to run the Horsetooth Half Marathon in April of 2009 and am still running in these sneakers.  I am so proud of how far I have come in the past year.  Running has become a passion of mine and I dread not having the tools (sneakers) to do it safely!  The worst thing that could happen between now and April is that I suffer from an injury due to my sneakers!  Let me explain this further.  These are little boys sneakers.  They are a size 6 in BOYS!  That means they are not made for an adult foot, let alone a woman who pronates!  Yes, those are Odor-Eater insoles inside, you can’t imagine how they smell!

    Anyway, winning this contest would help me get the shoes I need to train safely as I continue to evolve into the runner I was meant to be!


  • Lee, 30 from Atlanta, Georgia


I adopted a dog last week. Today, we decided, rather unwisely, to take a trek into a local park.  The park turned out to be extremely muddy which really sucked when we got lost and all turned in circles and could not get out of the mud. Needless to say, my shoes took a beating.  I’m about to train for a half marathon in March, I could really use some new kicks!




  • Isabel, 21 from Washington, DC


Why I deserve the certificate: In the picture, my ratty shoe is on the right foot. I got those sneakers right before I started college–I’m a senior now, graduating in May. I’ve been running seriously for about 6 months, but as a poor college student, $100 running shoes aren’t exactly in my budget. The lovely boot you see on my left foot is due to a tendon injury– the RESULT of running 20-30 miles a week in my ratty sneakers (which aren’t even running shoes to begin with). I haven’t been able to run for the past 3 weeks, but I get to take the boot off exactly one week from today, and I would LOVE to have shoes that won’t put me back in a boot.


I am proud to crown Isabel the Ratty Sneakers Champion! She won because I am obviously very sympathetic to running injuries! Plus, I think the $100 Gift Certificate would be an excellent way to get her back into the sport when her boot comes off next week!  I am very impressed Isabel is  running 20 – 30 miles a week after only 6 months of running… DANG!


THANKS again to everyone who entered! You each are so inspiring, funny, and dedicated to your health and fitness! I wish I could give away Gift Certificates to to EVERYONE! 


Don’t forget to check out and  is totally amazing because they offer a 110 percent price guarantee AND 90-day unconditional returns AND free shopping and exchanges on EVERY order. 



  • VeggieGirl December 30, 2008, 6:19 am


  • Erica December 30, 2008, 6:20 am

    What a fun contest! Congrats to the winner!

  • K December 30, 2008, 6:55 am

    Congrats Isabel!!

    Some of those shoes are a riot!

  • Robin December 30, 2008, 7:21 am

    What a great idea, loved the post!

  • December 30, 2008, 7:28 am

    Wow congrats to Isabel!

    Man those are some ratty sneaks! I think everyone should go buy a new pair on sale this week. 🙂 One thing I read over and over in my marathon book was never to run on old sneakers! It can really do some unnecessary damage.

    Fun contest!!


  • Halie December 30, 2008, 9:46 am

    Congratulations to Isabel!! I hope your foot heals well and you get out of that boot and into your new sneaks as soon as possible!

    Great job again, Caitlin, for a super AWESOME contest! I find it so great you’ve been able to provide tangible support to some of your readers that has helped in their fitness and running efforts through your awesome contests! But you do offer support and inspiration to all your readers every day!

  • Tami December 30, 2008, 10:48 am

    i truly can NOT believe what poor shape all of these people sneakers are in and they are running in them! it’s so bad for you to run in crappy shoes. people need to budget for new sneakers!

    you had a tough decision! i hope she reports back what type she got

  • Laura December 30, 2008, 5:53 pm

    Congrats Isabel!

    No one should run in shoes that cause injuries! She certainly deserves to win!

  • ttfn300 December 30, 2008, 7:26 pm

    congrats isabel!

    and everyone else–go get new sneakers! and get fitted!! it’s important 🙂

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