Adidas study highlights ‘ridiculous’ precautions women have to take to feel safe running

A new study from Adidas has highlighted the precautions women report taking to feel safe while running.

On 10 March, the German sportswear brand released new research as part of its new campaign “The Ridiculous Run,” which aims to highlight the safety concerns of women and call on “male education and allyship to help create change.”

Adidas surveyed 9,000 runners – both men and women – across nine countries to understand their different experiences when running. According to the study, 92 per cent of women reported feeling concerned for their safety, with 51 per cent saying they feel afraid of being physically attacked, compared to just 28 per cent of men.

Over a third of women also claimed to have experienced physical or verbal harassment during a run, while others said they have received unwanted attention, sexist comments, unwanted sexual attention, have been honked at, or were even followed.

Among those who have experienced harassment, women were more likely than men to suffer mental and physical side effects. More than half of women, at 53 per cent, said they now experience anxiety during a run, compared to over a third of men, at 38 per cent.

As a result, 69 per cent of women surveyed said they have taken precautions – such as wearing loose clothing, running with a partner, or wearing only one headphone – in order to feel more safe. Data showed that 46 per cent of women surveyed have now lost interest in running.

Despite 62 per cent of men recognising the issues women face while running, per the study, only 18 per cent of men believed the responsibility lies within them to help women feel safer. To highlight their findings, Adidas shared a new YouTube video on Thursday titled “The Ridiculous Run”, which featured women running at night alongside a motorcade of cars and bikes to escort them for safety.

“This is ridiculous,” the video’s text read, before adding: “So is 92 per cent of women feeling unsafe when they run.”

The survey and video were made in collaboration with the non-profit organisation White Ribbon, which focuses on preventing violence against women and girls by educating men and boys.

Adidas’ efforts come after a woman recently uploaded a TikTok urging fellow runners to be aware of their surroundings after she was followed.