23-Year-Old Juris Silenieks Sets Fastest Half Marathon Record... In Dress Shoes

When men’s shoe brand Wolf & Shepherd tapped former Syracuse runner Juris Silenieks to set a world record for running a half marathon in dress shoes, he was instantly up for the odd challenge. “If I have no reason not to do something, I’ll do it,” he says.

The goal was to prove a marketing campaign right. Wolf & Shepherd advertise their shoes as “designed with athletic comfort and technology,” and the company was ready to back that up. Wolf & Shepherd founder, Justin Schneider, a former decathlete from Notre Dame, previously designed running shoes for New Balance and Reebok, so he knows the keys to making shoes that are race-ready. But when it came down to running 13.1 miles to prove Wolf & Shepherd's comfort and stability, Silenieks was going to have to be put to the test, too.

On Sunday, 23-year-old Silenieks crossed the finish line of the Hotlanta Half Marathon with a time of 1:17:05, winning the race and setting the unofficial Guinness World Record for the fastest half marathon in dress shoes (Guinness must verify the record before it becomes official), and wearing dress shoes wasn’t even the biggest challenge. “Looking back on it, I think the hardest part were the hills,” Silenieks says.

Silenieks says that he was surprised how well the shoes held up over the hilly road race, admitting that he had to deliberately slow himself down after the first few miles (even though he felt great) because he wasn’t sure how much – or if – the shoes would affect him later in the race. Before Sunday, Silenieks had never run in these shoes before – albeit a few striders and lighter running to break them in, much like track spikes or racing flats.

By the end of the half marathon, the Honey Cap Toe lace-up shoes lived up to the Wolf & Shepherd motto, and Silenieks had accomplished the goal he set out to achieve. “I couldn’t imagine doing what I did in any other dress shoes,” he says. “It’s hard to put into words the difference that they made.”

And apparently they still look as good as they felt. “They still look too nice for everyday wear, so I’ll save them for special occasions.”