When Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) wanted to take his passion for sneakers and his recently formed Congressional Sneaker Caucus to the people, he naturally chose a place hundreds of people go to get their kicks — in this case, Pacers Running in its Navy Yard location. In mid-June, Moskowitz, an avowed sneakerhead who is looking to loosen the restrictions on wearing more casual shoes, including sneakers, in certain parts of the halls of Congress while at the same time promoting their impact on health and fitness, taped a segment at the store for CBS Morning News to spread the word.

The show was set to air in early July on CBS Morning News.

“Being just a stone’s throw from the US Capitol we service congressional members and staffers regularly,” points out Kathy Dalby, CEO and partner at Pacers Running. “We are hoping with the normalization of running and fashion footwear, individuals walking the marble halls of Congress can do so in comfort.”

But what exactly is the Congressional Sneaker Caucus? Let’s back up a bit.

This Spring Representatives Moskowitz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) launched the Congressional Sneaker Caucus (CSC), which will encompass a bipartisan group of Members and staff dedicated to their shared love of sneakers and their impact on American culture and fitness. The role of the caucus is intended to be a means by which its members and staff can find common ground and foster bipartisan cooperation in Congress. The caucus will organize community events and social gatherings to promote interaction between members from both sides of the aisle. 

The Caucus was formed because there is an age-old tradition that prohibits wearing sneakers and other casual shoes in the speaker’s lobby off the House floor, where members and the press often meet. Put simply, Moskowitz, who owns an estimated 150 pairs of kicks and still wears sneakers to work as an elected member of the House, is looking to lift the sneaker ban for reporters, with an eye to eventually doing the same for lawmakers.

 “The sneakers I wear across the Capitol represent a pathway back to my childhood and a connection to the next generation,” Moskowitz says. “They routinely are a starting point for conversation with my colleagues. That’s exactly why I launched this Caucus — to use sneakers to promote social interaction between Members of Congress, their staff, and visitors to the Capitol.”

“I’m excited to join Congressman Moskowitz to launch the bipartisan Sneaker Caucus,” adds Chavez-DeRemer. “From expressing style to demonstrating athleticism and innovation, sneakers are a fun part of our culture. It will be a light-hearted way to build relationships with other members of Congress and our constituents.” 

The Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America trade association has even lent its support.

“We applaud Representatives Moskowitz and Chavez-DeRemer for founding the Sneaker Caucus,” says CEO Matt Priest. “Shoes impact every single American individual and family no matter their background. Sneakers also play a critical role in shaping our culture, art, entertainment, health, and fitness."

“There are so many things that seem to divide us as a country right now, but sneakers bring people together,”  he adds. “We look forward to working with the Sneaker Caucus as it highlights the love of sneakers shared by so many Americans.