Why Are Running Shoes Ugly? [Functionality Over Fashion]

Written By Sunny

Whenever you visit a running shoe store, you see bright and vibrant odd-colored chunky sneakers with multicolored checkered shoelaces and nodules all over them.

Have you ever wondered, why running shoes look this tacky?


In this write-up, I will put light on this trendy question and provide you with valid reasons for running pairs being so ugly.

So, read on!

Reasons Why Running Shoes Look Ugly

Running shoes represent functionality over fashion, so the outlook gets less priority. These sneakers have thick soles, proper breathability, sturdy upper and are durable as well. So these are not launched to be aesthetically pleasing and thus look ugly.

And users even stated that running shoes should be properly functional, which they are. The bright colors are accepted and runners seem to love them too.

It’s safe to say consumers are more concerned if they should buy running shoes one size bigger than their horrendous colors.

Let’s find out the major reasons behind the ugly running sneakers:

Safety Measures

Traditionally, running shoes are traditionally reflective or brightly colored as a safety measure. It makes the runner more visible when running under low-light situations.

Now you may wonder how safety relates to bright colors. Let me elaborate for you.

A generous amount of runners are early birds, and they love to run in the morning, well specifically at dusk. It’s quite dark or foggy, in such an environment if you are wearing vibrant footwear it’s easy to spot you and prevent any sort of accidents.


Drawing Attention while you run is necessary. This way, people will notice you, and you will have less chance to run over or hit by a passing car.

I used to run at night, and I had the audacity to wear black shoes when it was already dark. Fortunately, my Brooks Ghost 15 was seen by the driver because of those orange lines, and he stopped just in time to save me from a major accident.


Shoes Are Becoming More Complex

Nowadays, shoes are becoming more and more complex than ever, and this fact is undeniable. Just a few decades ago, running shoes were underrated and only had uppers, outsole, and laces, that’s it.

They even had very limited models and colors.


Now as the athletic world is upgrading rapidly, the running sneaker’s demand is skyrocketing along with the competition among manufacturers like Nike, Hoka, Asics, puma, and so on.

This is why manufacturers had to find ways to develop unique and special models for the crowded market, including from their own line-up.

That’s how the ugly designs and bold colors came in, along with the differences in sizes of running shoes among brands.

The Look

The look and aesthetic of any specific pair is a fact, though it’s not that major of an issue. If a runner is comfortable in his current running sneaker, he will stick to it no matter the color.

Yet, the look and style help your pair to stand out.

Your shoe must compliment your running style, and that’s why there are so many chunky models and funky colors.


To be honest, I don’t mind these colors, though they are not complimentary to my aesthetic. And I wasn’t sure if there is a difference between training and running shoes. I thought they are the same. My concept changed after I became more health-conscious and interested in fitness.

To Get A Hold Of The Crowded Marketplace

Another reason the running shoes are out of the box weird is to get a hold of the marketplace.

Running sneakers come in various price points from low-budget to highly-priced.  Also, all shoes need to incorporate logos or flair to indicate which technology is used during the manufacturing process.

Moreover, the overlays, colors, and ingredients increase along with the price. In the case of running, the ability to do more ends up in compromised looks.

Overall, the lack of aesthetics and the pricing system simultaneously contribute to bold and bright running sneakers.

Why Are Running Shoes Curved?

Running shoes are curved mainly to allow you to move forward while running. This curved toe part of your running sneakers holds your toes in, to prevent movement during walking and running.

This curved part of any running pair is named the toe spring. It also helps to roll forward with less effort.


Because of the bend in the front, the muscles of your feet and toe have to work less to stiffen your arch when you run. This is why running shoes are weirdly shaped.

However, some models are curved in a very different way, it’s due to the design and style purpose along with the functionality.

So, wear your running sneakers with your jeans or shorts it’s totally up to you, how you wanna style them.

Why Running Sneakers Have Weird Colors?

In running shoes, there’s a saying, the brighter the better!

With that being said you can see that the most popular colors of running pairs are lime green, bright blue & pink, red, yellow, and vivid orange.

If you have a pair of Adidas Ulraboost 21 running shoes, you must have wondered why neon yellow upper and what’s the need for those pink and yellow stripes in the bottom of your sneaker.


One of the reasons for such pigmented outlook is to draw attention to the runner.

As most people like to run very early in the morning or at dawn, the visibility of bright colors helps others and drivers to identify them from afar. It works as a prevention of accidents.

You have to admit, the fun colors make your workout and running sessions more lively. It’s also proven that bright colors help enlighten your mood.

At least for me, it works like a charm.

However, for your daily running, make sure you know which brand is best suited for you.

Not every sneaker is a running shoe. I have seen people wearing Vapormax for their morning run. I was optimistic about the functionality of these casual lifestyle sneakers.


Are Ugly Running Shoes Popular?

Ugly running shoes are popular despite their bold appearance because of the functionality and comfort they provide you. While running, you will get the maximum support even if you have bunion or plantar fasciitis.

Why Are Running Shoes Expensive?

Running sneakers are expensive due to the manufacturing process, insatiable demand, import charges, and higher wages. These shoes are becoming more popular along with their high price range.

Final Thought

Running shoes is functional, and durable but has weird shape and color combinations that make them look ugly. Yet they are the best in their field.

To provide you with the best performance, cope with the fast-growing market, and maintain balance with the manufacturing cost, they had to compromise with the outlook.

This is every ins and outs of running sneakers being ugly and bold bright colors.

Thanks for stopping by.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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