Athletic footwear, like the ones shown above at Sports Connection, can play an integral role in an athlete's performance. How athletes choose a shoe is the question.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Athletic footwear, like the ones shown above at Sports Connection, can play an integral role in an athlete's performance. How athletes choose a shoe is the question.

Athletic footwear varies among different sports

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From wrestling to basketball and beyond, what an athlete wears on his or her feet plays an integral role when competing.

Certain sports require specific types of shoes for obvious reasons.

A basketball player doesn't wear golf shoes; someone who runs track doesn't wear tennis shoes; and wrestlers don't wear running shoes.

That part is easy.

But what is the deciding factor for an athlete when they choose to get a new pair of kicks?

Adidas, Nike or Reebok?

Pump, Velcro or laces?

"I just got a new pair of Adidas," Moffat County High School wrestler Charlie Griffiths said. "I looked at other kinds, but Adidas is usually the best for wrestling. They are breathable, have a cover over the laces so you don't have to tape them, and they are specially made lightweight and with grips for the mat."

MCHS senior Ian Forgay is a self-proclaimed "Nike guy."

When on the soccer field, Forgay wears Nike cleats.

When on the ice, he laces up his Nike skates.

"I just love Nike," he said. "I don't even really think about any other kind. I've always worn Nike.

"The skates support your ankles better, and they have a different curve to the blade that helps you go faster."

Defending back-to-back girls long jump state champion Erin Urbanoski competes with two different pairs of track shoes: Asics for her running events and Nike for jumping.

"The Asics are the best for running because they are really light," Urbanoski said, "and the Nike's I just tried out a couple of years ago, and I really like them."

Unlike the boys basketball team, where on any given game day you can spot Forgay's black Nike's or the flashy yellow Adidas on sophomore Tracy Mendoza's feet, the MCHS girls volleyball team wore the same style and color Asics during their season.

"We just kind of all got together and picked out a shoe," Ariel Sanchez said. "Same with basketball. Pretty much every one of us wears Adidas."

Senior Alicia Nelson wore Asics on her way to clinching this year's 4A girls cross country title.

In fact, the only athlete to admit shoes played no role in her success was 2008 swimming state champion Kelsey Conci.

"You don't wear shoes in the pool, silly," she said while laughing.

Although athletes depend on their footwear to carry them to, through and from events, each said the shoe doesn't act alone.

"Come on, now," Sanchez said. "It's the work you do while in the shoe that counts."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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