Are you a brand loyal runner?

Be careful about falling into the trap of being too loyal to a brand or model of shoes

Do you identify with a brand? Do you always buy the same brand, maybe even the same model, of shoes? If so, I’d like you to consider breaking this habit.

Why?

While many elites are loyal to one brand, there’s a clear reason for this. The brand is supporting them and has a vested interest in their success. If a brand pays you to wear their shoes, then this post doesn’t apply to you.

Most of us do not have a brand paying us to wear their logo, though. The brand you wear, even if you are loyal to it, has no more loyalty to you than it does to the thousands or millions of others who wear the same brand. You are just another customer.

The brand might discontinue or significantly change what works for you. This happened to me about a year ago. I became too reliant on a specific model of Asics shoes, not by plan but by just getting comfortable with something that had been around for years. When they discontinued the model last year, I was lost. I didn’t know what to go to. I tried a few different models from different brands before I found a replacement that seemed suitable. In the meantime, though, I think the search for just the right shoe and my lack of ability to find that shoe for such a long time played a role in some difficulties I faced this year.

The brand might do something else to alienate you. For example, Asics did eventually bring back the same structure of the shoe I liked. The catch? It came with new “features” that did not work at all for me and a price tag that was over 50% higher than the old model. Even if they didn’t have the almost year long gap between these models, I would have been in a very similar situation, with the option to over pay for a shoe that doesn’t really work for me or start the search for a replacement.

Had I found at least two different models of shoes, ideally from two different brands, I could have handled the loss of one of those models much more easily. I honestly don’t blame Asics for making a business decision. I blame myself for becoming too reliant on a single model of shoes that I should have known wouldn’t be around forever.

Now, I’ve found a Saucony shoe that does seem like a good option. However, I’m not done searching. I also have a Brooks shoe that is good but not great. This is a shoe that, for the time being, I’ll use and be prepared to go to if Saucony pulls the rug out from under me. In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye out for other possibilities. Maybe even Asics will give me an option I can appreciate.

If you’re too reliant on a single brand or, worse, a single model of shoe, you’re really at the mercy of a company that can change what it’s doing based on a market you’re only a small part of. By having more options, preferably across different brands, you can greatly reduce your risk of something like this happening. So, if you are a brand loyal runner, give some serious thought to diversifying your options.

2 Replies to “Are you a brand loyal runner?”

  1. “I became too reliant on a specific model of Asics shoes, not by plan but by just getting comfortable with something that had been around for years.”

    This same thing happened to me with the Asics Gel-Exult ES back in the late 1990s. I would still train daily in that model if it could be exhumed and resurrected.

    The problem isn’t that useful replacements don’t come along to fill the gaps created by such corporate decisions. It’s that it’s impossible to know how to find them without spending hundreds of dollars.

    1. “The problem isn’t that useful replacements don’t come along to fill the gaps created by such corporate decisions. It’s that it’s impossible to know how to find them without spending hundreds of dollars.”

      That and a lot of time. If you’re out looking for a backup shoe while “your” shoe still exists, when it becomes discontinued, you’re good. If you wait until the shoe is gone, maybe you’re lucky and find that replacement right away. More likely, as happened to me, you’re spending months looking for something suitable.

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