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Are You Spending Too Much on Running Shoes?

When I first started running, I used the cheapest running shoes available. Don’t evenrunning and juggling shoes remember the brand name, but they were white with velcro closures instead of shoelaces. In 1992, they cost me $20 (US). Over the next decade plus, my shoe choice became a bit more sophisticated and expensive. I’ve worn Reeboks, Brooks, Asics, Mizuno, and Saucony brands. My current shoe is the Saucony Omni 6.

Spending too much on running shoes?

While I believe there is a big difference between my shoes now and the ones from my early running days, how can we know for sure? Is it all a big scam by the shoe marketing companies? Are the differences really minimal and we’re wasting money on expensive shoes?

Consider this recent research soon to be published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. According to scientists, expensive running shoes are a waste of money! That’s right, in their tests they found…

Cheap and moderately priced running shoes are just as good, if not better, in terms of cushioning impact and overall comfort…

Note, they compared shoes in three categories based on price, lowest cost ($80 – $90), middle range ($120 – $130), and highest cost ( $140 – $150). In my mind, $80 doesn’t really seem like a low cost shoe. I’d like to see this study done using $20 or $30 shoes. Here I think you would really feel a difference.

Anyway, take heart budding, young jogglers, if you want a good pair of running shoes there is no need to spend more than $80 – $90.  Of course, if you really want to save money perhaps you might try Barefoot Running. You could become the world’s first marathon joggling barefoot runner! If you do it, let us know. The rest of the joggling world would love to hear about it.

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Note that a shoe which sells for the equivalent of $80 in the UK will sell for rather less in the US. Many things are just more expensive here.

    Have a look on the newsgroup uk.rec.running, there’s a bit of a discussion of this study there. In summary, it doesn’t attempt to cover everyone (e.g. abnormal gait or other problems) or the effect of wear (I’ve not read the paper).

    I’m sure the general point is still relevant…

    Beaneater, I actually considered this already. I converted the price of the shoes studied from UK Pounds to US dollars. In the study they looked at shoes that were $40-$45 POUNDS and higher.

  2. Shoot! When I read “cheap and moderately priced…”, I was thinking $30-$40 — that would be great! Then I figured out that, according to that study, I’m already wearing “cheap and moderately priced”, even with the price differences between items in the UK and the US.

  3. Perry, you don’t seem to have taken my point there. I realise you converted the prices from pounds to dollars, but just because $80 is about £40 doesn’t mean that a shoe that sells for $80 over there sells for £40 over here.

    It’s popular here to talk of “rip off Britain”. I wouldn’t go so far, but it’s certainly the case that prices aren’t comparable. I just hunted around the web and managed to buy a pair of New Balances (767) for £40 when they’re £65 in all the shops – I wonder what they’d sell for in your neck of the woods.

  4. Beaneater, you make an excellent point. To buy New Balance 767 here in the US costs $89 which converts to £44. So, at least on that shoe the prices are about even.

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