The fashion industry is a peculiar one. If ever there were an industry that can simultaneously have you thinking you started a trend while also feeling several years behind, it’s this one. While there have been some truly questionable styles to have emerged in the last decade or two – bootcut jeans immediately come to mind, followed closely by any kind of embellished t-shirt – if there’s one trend that has reared its (rather ugly) head only to be considered cool, it’s sandals. And by sandals, we mean Crocs.
It used to be the case that Crocs were a footwear style made for boating and fishing enthusiasts who liked the simplicity of utility dressing. Every item of clothing had to serve some kind of function and when it comes to footwear, Crocs did just that. Somewhere along the way however, Crocs came to be fashionable. Perhaps it was because celebrities like Justin Bieber started wearing them ironically, but as Post Malone released his own version of the sandal, they hit the mainstream and now it’s all anyone can do but try snag a pair, if only to be considered cool and keeping up with the loop. Even so, while Crocs might be “cool” for weekend wear, we’d hardly recommend wearing them for sporting pursuits. But for ultrarunner Jeff Garmire, he wanted to test himself by running in the sandals.
It should be said that Garmire is an athlete used to pushing his body to the limits. An ultra-endurance athlete, he often takes on gruelling challenges that include Fastest Known Time attempts covering hundreds of kilometres on foot. He currently holds the FKT on the Colorado Trail, and also has the FKT on the Long Trail and Arizona Trail. In a different kind of challenge though, Garmire took on a much shorter distance than he’s used to: the Sweet Pea 5km in Bozeman, Montana. Not satisfied with the challenge the distance posed alone, he decided to run in Crocs because if there’s one thing that can be sure to test the body, it’s logging miles in foamy, unsupported, squishy clogs.
According to Garmire, running in Crocs was a good way to not only push himself, but have fun with the race too. “I ran a couple years of cross country in high school and never particularly loved how hard you had to run in a 5K race, so I haven’t run one in 10 years,” he told Runner’s World. “So I decided, if I’m going to run this distance again, I’m going to do it in a unique way.”
When the gun went off, he did his best to stay with the faster lead group. “It was pretty straight shot on a paved road, but we did go on a trail for a little while, and that’s when I noticed my traction wasn’t quite as good as the runners around me. Around mile 1.2 we had a right turn, and I had to take the turn a little easier [than everyone else].”
Though he tried to make up for the lost time with a 5:50 third mile, Garmire ultimately came through with a time of 19:05.26 and 22nd place in a field of 439 runners. At a time where cancellations have brought sport to a standstill for many athletes around the world and others are simply lacking the motivation to train with no races or competitions on the calendar, Garmire’s feat of bravery serves as a great example to never lose sight of what’s really important: having fun. We wouldn’t ever recommend running in Crocs, but it does leave the door open for other interpretations you can take onboard with the outfit.