What Color Are Your Running Shoes?

by Carilyn on March 20, 2012

Remember that book, “What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles?

It was, and is, a hugely popular “career guide” that helps people find work that matches their personality.  The author uses color as a metaphor for unique personality traits that, if we don’t take them into account when picking a career (or making any big life decision), will keep us from finding fulfillment in our work and lives.

I have always been fascinated by people’s personalities (remember my confession about watching every “eccentric” documentary ever made?), especially what makes them unique, so I’m always a sucker for a fun personality test.  Back when I was practicing law, I attended a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) seminar on some boring topic that I can’t remember now. What I do remember though, was how the speaker opened the class – with a quirky personality test.  It was simple and quick, more of an icebreaker than a true assessment, but the speaker claimed it had true scientific validity.  At the time, I was very skeptical, but since then, I have used it in many of my own seminars, and the results seem to be astonishingly accurate!

So why does this matter on this blog?  Because I have had such a hard time trying to make decisions about my priorities in running, and in life, with all the changes over the last few years, that I have really tried to learn to be….here comes the corn…”true to myself”.  It has not been an easy task, and I still fail at it miserably at least three times a day (not that I’m keeping track, because I’m not obsessive, or anything).  But, as I move forward with all the moving, kids growing up, more free time, and general “what’s next?” questions, I am trying to pay better attention to the signposts that are pointing me in a specific direction.

So, here is that quirky personality test that got it all started.

1.  On a piece of paper, draw these figures.  Don’t worry about “exactness,”  just get the shape.


2.  Circle the shape you like best.  Don’t think to much about it.  Go by “feel,” not thought.


3.  Check your results:


Square:  You are a person who likes routine and structure.  You are well-organized and consistent.  If something needs to get done. you are the person to do it.  When you commit to something, you finish it.  Unfortunately, this ability to be reliable and structured can sometimes cause you to miss out on the spontaneity of life.

Rectangle:  Much like the square, you enjoy routine and structure.  You are highly capable, as you get things done, but are still able to see the “broader” picture.  Sometimes, however, your ability to see more options can drive your more rational mind a little crazy, and you can get overwhelmed by options.

Triangle:  You are a natural born leader.  Your take-charge personality usually puts you at the front of any group, but can also put you at the forefront of conflict.  Bold and daring, you are up to many challenges, but need to be careful not to alienate those who might want or need to follow.

Circle:  You are the “connector” – the person who keeps everyone together.  You enjoy good relations with everyone around you, and really strive to help others connect and get along.  In groups, you are the peacemaker.  All your goodwill is very valuable to the people around you, but you need to be very careful about not losing yourself in the crowd.  It is important to become aware of your own needs and make sure they are met.

Do your results reflect your personality?

Funnily enough, I think the geometric shapes could be substituted with running shoes.  I believe much of our personality is exhibited right on our feet.  My choices for matching shoes are (and they’re all in pink just to keep it consistent):






What do you think?  Did the personality test match you?  What are your running shoes saying about you?


Happy Running!



olga March 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I got a circle:) As for shoes, I don’t know, I am one type for trail and whatever cheap I can score for road, no preferences (although at this point simply trying to find something that hurts less).

Carilyn March 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I’m not surprised you are a circle – you are one of those people who can reach out and make everyone feel welcome. I have worn the same shoes since I started running, but I do love to see runners express their personality through their shoes 🙂

Marcia March 21, 2012 at 4:18 am

Haha this was fun! I went with triangle, and I was thinking it would say I was all quirky, disorganized and creative, but no. Go figure.
In running shoes,I’m more tried and true. I stick with Mizunos for distance and Newtons for speed….not that I have much of that these days!

Carilyn March 21, 2012 at 8:01 am

I think for the triangle, it is all about leadership. That’s why I love your blog – tons of great information and inspiration – the traits of a good leader!

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