Carrie Bradshaw filled her closet with Manolo Blahniks. Kira Stokes prefers sneakers.
The hard-core personal trainer, star instructor at Revolve, Reebok Sports Club/NY, and Ripped Fitness, and creator of Stoked Fit Camp spends 16 hours a day in sneakers—running to and from her own workouts, teaching up to six classes, and training four to five private clients.
That begins to explain why her mudroom in Westchester, New York, is filled with about 70 to 100 pairs of sneakers (really).
So what’s the method to her sneaker madness?
Stokes matches her kicks to her workout, with different pairs for running, cycling, plyometrics, and more, to maximize performance and injury prevention. And she chooses colors that will motivate her clients.
And don’t worry, she donates them regularly. “My husband now enforces ‘You buy a pair, you give a pair,'” she says. (She’s also been known to give pairs to clients.)
We caught up with the incredibly fit (and fashionable) trainer to find out more about her seriously unique sneaker habits. One question: If we follow her lead, will our abs look like hers?—Molly Gallagher
So the obvious question is…why?! I completely understand that it’s a little excessive, but it’s what I do for a living. It’s my work uniform. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. Some people get dressed in work shoes, or spend the day in Manolos, this is my version of that. I also believe that what you put on your feet affects your workout—and affects the people that take my classes. If I’m wearing a bright outfit (and sneaks) it wakes my clients up, it puts people in a better mood.
Got it. So how on earth do you decide between all of your pairs? I get up at 4:30 a.m. when I’m going into the city, so I plan the night before. I’ve done that since I was five years old. It’s definitely a marriage of style, function, and color—the color, so I can match it with my outfit, and the style and brand depending on my workout.
Do you change your sneaks throughout the day? I believe in shoe rotation. Being that I’m on my feet 16 hours a day I change my sneakers three to four times throughout the day, so I bring three–four pairs with me into the city. If I’m at home and I go for a run, I change my shoes right when I get back. Whatever I run in, I will not use for anything else besides running.
Other than wear and tear, why change them so often? One of the keys to preventing injuries are the shoes you wear. Different shoes distribute the impact forces of whatever workout you’re doing, whether it’s running, HIIT, plyometrics, jumping rope—force is distributed differently depending on shoe you’re wearing. Changing your shoe can lessen the strain on any given tissue.
I’ve been able to stay healthy with an incredible amount of impact on my feet over the years. I think in part because I never let a shoe get to the point where I say, ‘Oh I don’t feel that cushioning anymore.’
That makes sense. Tell us about how you choose different sneakers and brands depending on the workout? I run five days a week, but I’m always changing up what I do. I call myself the ultimate cross-training machine. One day it’s for distance, one day I’ll say I’m going to cut a minute off my pace. I really do stick to my shock-it-to rock it theory.
Right now, for long distance I wear the Brooks Glycerin or Saucony Power Grid Triumph. They have more cushioning. If I’m doing a shorter run, I’ll wear the new Brooks Ghost 7, but I never do just a run and call it a day, I’m either jumping rope or doing plyometrics. The Ghost also works well for Stoked 360. The Reebok One Cushion is also good for Stoked 360, Stoked Fit Camp, laterals, and sports-specific drills. When I’m straight lifting, I put on the Reebok CrossFit Nano Speed—it’s pretty flat and keeps you stable, cross-fitters wear them. And, finally, the New Balance 1080V4 is great for jumping rope.
So, what would you recommend to someone who doesn’t have the space (or bank account) for more than a few pairs of sneakers? If you’re a runner, pick a pair for running and one other pair for all other activities. If you have to buy the same pair twice, it does make a difference. I love using www.roadrunnersports.com to buy my sneakers.
For more information, visit www.kirastokes.com