What Did Forrest Gump Spend?

May 14, 2012 in Editorial

“I just felt like running.” Forrest Gump responds when questioned about the purpose of his trek across the United States. But how much would that whim really cost him if you wanted to replicate it today? Centives found out.

When he starts running Forrest is living off of a healthy fortune as a result of his entrepreneurial pursuits in the shrimp industry. Shortly before he takes off running Forrest deems himself a “gozillionaire.” When he steps off his porch on October 1, 1979 he brings nothing with him besides the clothes on his back and the baseball cap on his head. In calculating Forrest’s budget we took three factors into consideration: clothing, running shoes and food.

Extensive analysis of footage from the film led us to conclude that Forrest makes ten wardrobe changes during his run. We came up with an estimate of how much each item of clothing would cost by looking them up in the Walmart and Nike stores. Centives also assumed that with each outfit he also changed his undergarments – the last time a Centives contributor ran in the same pair of socks for 3 years, a hazmat team had to be called in.

We start with this outfit:

And we found these rough equivalents:

Throw in socks and underwear and if you went out to a store today to buy this one outfit it would cost you about $84.49. Add up the rest of Gump’s wardrobe over the years of running and it comes out to: $907.27 today.

But what about a runner’s most valuable companion: their running shoes?

A standard rule of thumb is that a pair of running shoes can last for 500 miles before they have to be replaced. Because Forrest was never injured for an extended period of time throughout his journey we can assume he paid good attention to the mileage on his shoes. This means that in the 15,248 miles that he ran he would have gone through at least 30 pairs of shoes. The average price of a pair of running shoes today is $62.33. Totaled, he would have spent approximately $1,869.90 on shoes alone.

Once you’re clothed, and hopefully you are, there is one more essential thing that you need to consume: food. So, in the span of three years, just how much would you have to spend on food to survive? The average adult male generally consumes between 2,800 and 3,500 calories per day. Considering how many calories he is burning and how hungry that must make him, we can assume Forrest consumes towards the upper end of that. In America today, $1 can buy you 200 calories on average. That means that Forrest would have spent close to $17.50 per day on food alone. For the 1,171 days and 16 hours that he ran he would have consumed close to $20,518 worth of food.

In his time running back and forth across the United States over the period of three years, we have estimated that Forrest would have spent a total of $23,294.27 in today’s economy. If you take inflation into account this would’ve seen Forrest shell out $7,428.37 in 1979 dollars.

Read the rest of our coverage on Forrest Gump over here. Or take a look at our analysis of gravity in 2001: A Space Odyssey. You can find those and other interesting things in our Editorials although if you want a selection of our most popular check out the Greatest Hits. And be sure to stay in touch: