‘I’m a Team USA Heptathlete, and These Are The Running Shoes I Swear By’

Photo: Provided; Art: W+G Creative
One pandemic silver lining is that we're collectively spending a lot more time outside than before. Even though temperatures are frigid in some parts of the country, battling the elements for a walk or run is well worth getting out of the house. (Cabin fever has definitely taken on a whole new meaning these past 11 months.) More people have taken up running to care for both their mental and physical health. Whether you're logging one mile a week or 20, it's important to have a pair of running shoes that you can truly rely on to feel both comfy and protect your feet.

Regardless of being in the middle of a pandemic or not, someone who puts a lot of miles on her running shoes is professional track and field athlete and Olympic hopeful Chari Hawkins, who represented Team USA in the heptathlon at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. A heptathlete, Hawkins competes in a track and field event that consists of seven events—100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter run, long jump, javelin, and 800-meter run—spread out over two days. Intense, right?

"As a heptathlete, I surprisingly don't run a lot of miles per week, as I have to maintain my quick-twitch system as much as possible between warming up, cooling down, and running and sprinting workouts," Hawkins says. "I run about five to eight miles a week, but it would be interesting to see how many miles the other events [I'm training for] add up to."

When it comes to the running shoes she relies on to not only power her runs but all her training, she says she 100 percent has a favorite pair—two in fact. "I run exclusively with ON running shoes. Cloudflow and Cloudflash are the ones I wear for my running workouts," she says. "The Cloudflow has so much cushion and is light and flexible, while still giving structure and bounce to each step." Hawkins says for her sprinting workouts, she'll lace up her Cloudfash pair, which are lighter and a little stiffer, allowing her to be put force into the ground when running, while still giving support.

Experts In This Article
  • Chari Hawkins, Chari Hawkins is a heptathlete on Team USA. She represented Team USA at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. A heptathlete, Hawkins competes in heptathlons, track and field competitions made up of seven different events.

On Cloudflow Running Shoe, $140

Shop now: On Cloudflow Running Shoe, $140

On Cloudflash Running Shoe, $180

Shop now: On Cloudflash Running Shoe, $180

Hawkins says she actually used to hate running—seriously!—but it wasn't until she found running shoes she loved that made her change her mind. "My feet would get so hot and start to hurt, and I always found myself having to slow down or stop," she says. "I put on a pair of Ons and then went on a nice jog. For the first time, I realized that I wasn't paying attention to my feet. I was sold instantly."

Her best advice when shopping for running shoes is to focus on the weight, cushion, and overall feel. "Everyone has different preferences, but I like my shoes to be under 10 ounces, have cushioning that also gives energy back to my runs, and I like when I don't notice or feel them at all," she says. If you're more of a walker than a runner, that will affect your shoe needs too. (Well+Good's fitness director is a big fan of the new Reebok DailyFit shoes, $76, for walking.)

Having running shoes that work for your body and running style will protect you from injury and make your run more enjoyable overall. Then your mind is clear to focus on something else, like the delicious post-run snack you'll make when you get home.

Check out this video for a pre-run warm-up routine:

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