Why We Should Think About Running Shoes the Same Way We Think About Bras

Photo: W+G Creative
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When Brooke Torres was first getting into running, she made what she calls a “rookie mistake”: She wore new, un-broken in shoes during her first half marathon.

“I got almost golf ball-sized blisters on my arches,” Torres says. “I just wrecked my feet.”

But the experience helped her come to a realization. Maybe we were thinking about the way we size running shoes totally wrong. One way that Torres came to this revelation was by considering a different garment: the bra. She thinks that bras and footwear *should* have a lot in common.

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“Bras are really a performance product, and we size them in a way that takes into account that there's more than one measurement that matters,” Torres says. “But running shoes just have this one fit model, essentially.”

brooke torres
Photo: W+G Creative

Flash forward to the present, and now Torres is the founder and CEO of a new running shoe company, Hilma, that’s based around giving customers a personalized-fit shoe. So custom that when it launches this fall (starting with women's fits), shoe styles will come in 45 different sizes.

How will customers find the right shoe? Hilma has developed fit prediction technology, and shopping will include an online consultation that takes your personal preferences and your foot shape into account. Like a bra, there will be more than one measurement that matters, which Torres hopes will serve her ultimate goal of allowing everyone who wants to run to get out there and have fun.

Torres joined us on the Well+Good Podcast to discuss her running journey from novice to ultra-marathoner and her professional trajectory from start-up employee to company founder. This episode is part of our month-long celebration of runners, called the United States of Running, which features 5K and 10K training plans that just about anyone can do. Learn more about why your footwear is a feminist issue by listening to the full episode.

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