Photo courtesy of Rema Haile
Right before leaving for school last Wednesday, junior Rema Haile made the executive decision to completely change her fit. Why would she take precious time out of her morning just to change? “I had a whole outfit on and I was like, ‘this is cute,’ but I knew I wasn’t comfortable so I just took it off,” she explained. As a defender on the girls varsity lacrosse team, Haile carries this same approach when selecting a pair of cleats.
The meticulous process of choosing one pair of cleats from a long row has made that much harder when dealing with foot pain. “I have flat feet and it’s the worst. My feet hurt every day after practice, after games, and after any type of running. I’m just in pain and my feet are swollen,” she said. To address this, Haile must try on cleats of all shapes and sizes (including mens’) in order to find a perfect match. For maximum comfort she looks for cleats with removable soles, that are narrow, and, above all, light. “I want to be able to run wherever I want to without feeling like I have bricks on my feet,” she explained.
In last month’s edition of “Who’s in those shoes?” I talked to varsity football wide receiver and defensive back Chad Rockingham who prefers his cleats to be vibrantly colored and have complex designs. Haile, on the other hand, is happy to sacrifice color for commonplace—so long as it matches her uniform. “Our uniforms on JV were like neon yellow. My dad was like ‘get these hot pink ones’ and I was like ‘Dad, neon yellow and hot pink doesn’t match at all.’” And when she doesn’t know what color her uniform will be, she always plays it safe. “I’d just rather not look tacky,” she explained. “I try to stay with… like gray, white or black and now I feel like they’re safe.”
At $90, Haile’s cleats are neither really cheap nor are they incredibly expensive. However, while shopping she saw many pairs at both ends of the spectrum before ultimately deciding on her black Adidas. “I saw some $30 cleats, but when I put them on they were uncomfortable,” she said. Her reasoning for not copping high-priced cleats was also logical. Lacrosse requires additional equipment—mouthguard, goggles, and a stick—that is often very expensive. A high-quality stick alone can cost between $100-300. “I don’t want to waste $200 on shoes that I am going to grow out of,” she said. Yet there are still many people who chose to buy expensive cleats. Haile advises that those people spend the money wisely. “If you’re spending $200, make sure that they’re black white or gray because if you’re gonna get annoyed when you have a bright color uniform and your shoes are just like totally different.”
There are some people, like Rockingham, whose shoe game breaks the scale. Haile is not one of those people. “I’d rate my shoe game as a four. My running shoes look horrible. I like to laugh at them. And my cleats are normal but are Adidas,” she said. Though at the end of the day, she doesn’t really care about what her cleats look like—she cares about what they feel like. “If everyone had black, gray, or white cleats and are comfortable, it keeps everything simple and you can focus on what you’re doing in the game and not how you look.”