Shoe Buying Habits II

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  james05 10 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #10848

    Would it be worth it if the shoe were of high enough quality?  Have you been consistently satisfied with both the quality and the value that came with the price?  What was the brand and model name of the shoe on which you have spent the most?

  • #26977

    As with the first poll, feels weird to reply to my own post — I suppose I could have just thrown in my own response in the original post with a paragraph break.

    Anyway, though I do have a hard time justifying spending $100+ (or often even just $70+) for a pair of running shoes, considering how much it cost to make them, I took the occasion to splurge a little a few years ago.  I had a gift certificate to spend at the local Fleet Feet and the owner happened to have a size run of Karhu M2s in stock.  I tried them on and really liked them and so took the plunge.  I am happy to report that they have been the single-best shoe purchase I have ever made.  The quality (workmanship, materials) and design (low profile, construction) are by far the best I have ever experienced in a running shoe.  I would run in nothing but Karhu shoes if I could.  (However, given the frequency of shoes sent to me in the wear-testing program I am in, free beats all.  I do anticipate getting some M10s before long, though.)  I do not recall exactly what I paid (MSRP is $120) as I had the gift certificate, a discount, and bought a canister of Gookinaid while I was there.

  • #26978

    I came into the sport when running shoes were hard to find.  The inexpensive Adidas I purchase are way better than the shoes I ran in the first 5 years or so.  I'm a pretty stable runner.  No uneven wear.  I like Adidas and always like Asics.

    I think when you begin to run a lot and include a steady diet of long runs over various terrain, your feet get pretty tough.  This has been my experience.  If I had the cash, I'd run in light weight trainers all the time. 

    Many people run in trail shoes on thetrails, but I found the one pair I bought years ago cumbersome and not to my liking.  I see no advantage in buying a spcial shoe for trails.

    But I am more of a road hog.  I like the weekly trail run, but give me a stretch of pavement anyday so I can cut loose.

  • #26979

    never have paid more than $100, but I marked the 'up to $149' hoping that if I paid that much (after being advised by a coach or trying a 'free' pair) they would make a HUGE difference in my running…

    so far (and maybe this is the next poll?) the big expenditure that made the most difference in my running was working with a coach for two years…

  • #26980


    I have paid in the 90s for a pair of spikes back when I was getting heavy use of my spikes. I actually just recently threw them out after about 10 years of use, including 2 years of heavy use. I'd have to say they were worth the money.

    I tend to pay more for shoes I use for racing than ones I use for training. I can't think of a pair of trainers I've ever paid more than $80 for but racers tend to be more in that range. It's just harder to find quality racers at lower prices.

  • #26981

    Well, I will say that during my third trimesters of pregnancy I needed to pay a lot more for shoes than I wanted to – but the need for more motion control to protect my looser tendons was more important than price…..I think the Kantaras I wore were over $120??? The most I have ever paid.

    Now the most would be, maybe $100??? But I'd have a hard time with that as an everyday trainer price.

  • #26982

    I am currently wear-testing a shoe that I think retails somewhere around $120.  I have previously wear-tested a slightly altered version of the same model as well as its prior incarnation.  I believe it is the model that replaced the shoe that corina referenced.  This one, by far, is the best of the ones I have tried.  They removed a hunk of plastic from the medial side of the shoe and it is noticeably less clunky.  Not that I would endorse the shoe, though it works well enough and the design is at least improving.  I wore the Asics rival to this shoe, the Kayano in its first few editions, years ago when I was in college.  A teammate from Kenya was puzzled that I would train in such a heavy shoe.  I had some odd ideas about running shoes at that time.

    Also somewhat of a “road hog,” especially in winter, I too have found that regular running shoes work just fine for the majority of trail running.  I do have some purpose-built trail shoes, but those are more for running up and down mountains where sharp rocks (and the desire to protect the soles from them) and steep slopes would be more of an issue.  I have found that most purpose-built trail shoes seem to be over-built and thus tend towards the lightest ones available that still have a tough sole with good lugs. 

    It is sort of odd, as much as I may know about running shoes I really do not dwell much on the details and truthfully I consider them as little more than slabs of rubber and foam to grind into the ground and erode away.  If I am training right then they should not last me more than about 100 runs, anyway.  They end up used up and gone so quickly that it renders thinking too much and/or spending too much on them make little sense at all.

    Do any of you donate your shoes once their running life is used up for you?

  • #26983

    Do any of you donate your shoes once their running life is used up for you?

    Unfortunately, by the time my shoes make it through their natural life, which includes hundreds of miles, followed by a stint as my painting shoes, then finally a part of the summer as lawn mowing shoes, they really aren't fit for donation.

    In response to the main point of this post (or is it part I?)

    I am a bargain hunter, cheaper the better.  But mainly Adidas or Asics, they just seem to fit my foot best, which makes it easy to buy online which is where I usually find the best deals.  As someone else mentioned, I have been in the habit of stockpiling shoes when I find them really cheap.

  • #26984

    There are “shoe recycling” programs that send shoes to people who would get use out of them, even if not for running, or turn the shoes into athletic surfaces.

  • #26985


    I don't donate but I do recycle. I'm another one who, by the time I'm done with my shoes, leaves them in an unusable condition. However, if the shoes can be recycled into something useful instead of filling a landfill, I'll choose the recycling option.

  • #26986

    after my shoes get well-worn they get to be gardening shoes and then they go to a running store that is connected with a donation program

  • #26987

    The most I ever spent was on the Zoot Ultra Racing Flat.  I liked the lace-less feature, the weight and the material which allowed for quick drainage and drying.  The shoes cost $130.  I found them decidedly uncomfortable unless I was running at full gallop (sub 5 pace, which is NOT where I spend any measurable amount of time running.)  I do not feel as though I got much value as they hang in my garage with less than 50 miles on them and never make it into the rotation.  Conversely,  I spent $35 on a pair of New Balance 825s (now extinct) and found them to be the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn.  It would fall into the category of lightweight trainer, but I was able to get about 800 miles out of them (unheard of for me).  I would consider that to be an extraordinary value.  For me, the addage, 'you get what you pay for' does not apply in the world of running shoes. 

  • #26988


    It would fall into the category of lightweight trainer, but I was able to get about 800 miles out of them (unheard of for me).

    I know you've been at least peripherally following my venture with using racing flats in training. I've had similar experiences, including a pair of flats I retired last spring with well over 1000 miles (I don't have an exact number). I didn't get them for $35 but my miles per dollar was still quite a bit higher than I'm normally used to. I've actually consistently been in a higher mileage range with the racing flats than I was with bulkier trainers.

  • #26989

    I spent $35 on a pair of New Balance 825s (now extinct) and found them to be the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn.  It would fall into the category of lightweight trainer, but I was able to get about 800 miles out of them (unheard of for me).

    Khannouchi's favorite shoe, too bad for both you and him that they discontinued it.  I tried those a few years ago, too.  Ever tried the Asics Speedstar?  Similar shoe to the 825.

    The local Fleet Feet had the Zoot shoes when they came out.  I was intrigued but not enough to lay out that much dough without positive feedback, being that Zoot was a newcomer to the footwear game.  I have since learned that there have been a lot of returns on these shoes, so perhaps you could try to return them where you got them and possibly get some store credit out of it?  I see these shoes significantly discounted at online retailers now, though even at >30% off they are still rather expensive.

    Regarding flats and durability, it could be that thicker (and less dense?) foam in typical trainers compresses more unevenly than the thinner (and denser?) foam of racers.  Racing flats also tend to encourage a softer foot strike, so that is likely a factor in favor of durability, as well.  I have found quality racing flats at both outlet stores and online in the $20-$40 range, and would buy multiple pair when I found such deals.  Couple the discounts with a free shipping coupon that one can find on this site and it seems a crime to pass up.

  • #26990


    Regarding flats and durability, it could be that thicker (and less dense?) foam in typical trainers compresses more unevenly than the thinner (and denser?) foam of racers.  Racing flats also tend to encourage a softer foot strike, so that is likely a factor in favor of durability, as well.

    These are precisely the two factors that I believe are most likely to be the difference.

  • #26991


    800 miles on 825s!!!!!!!  😮  I would throw them away after 100.  You would have loved the 827s from years ago. I wore them due to comfort, rather than mileage.  Of course I had to own 3-4 for one marathon.  I'd save one pair for my last 2 MP runs and then the marathon.

    I'll second GTF's suggestion of Asics Speedstar for a replacement, with the difference being I'd wear the Speedstar for a few more miles than the 825s.

    funny, I've been going through stuff as I'm moving soon, I might have to yank my 825s and 826s out of the “toss” box and try to get a few miles on them.

  • #26992

    Thanks for the suggestion on the Speedstar, I'll have to try them out.  I was surprised by the 825s durability as well, they just kept going.  They never became uncomfortable or unsupportive until the very last undulation of tread was worn off.  I wonder if Khalid has a stash of those that he wouldn't mind parting with?  …..I've also gone through several pair of the Brooks Adrenaline which I've read is supposed to be quite durable, but I haven't gotten much more than 250 or 300 out of them.  The Gel Nimbus as well, a very comfortable shoe, but for around $100, I need more life than 300 miles. 

    Ryan,  did you find yourself searching out softer surfaces as the weight of your shoes decreased?  I don't think I can make the switch to flats, the lightweight trainer seems to be about as light as I can go while still supporting my frame.  But I will keep working at it. 

  • #26993


    I actually didn't change surfaces, I've always had what I consider to be a pretty good mix of soft surfaces to keep from beating the legs up and hard surfaces to prepare myself for what I'll face on race day. As for what you're doing, maybe going all the way to flats isn't for you. In my opinion, it's more about not wearing more shoe than necessary. If the lightweight trainers are what's necessary, so be it. For me, the flats seem to cut it for at least everything I've done since making the switch so far.

  • #26994

    Like any significant change to training, it should be gradual.  If up to using the lightweight training flats for several runs per week, perhaps start using the racing flats for one workout (repeats, tempo, etc.) every two weeks for 6-8 weeks, then perhaps progress to using them for one workout every week for a stretch, then perhaps progress to alternate using them for one workout one week and two workouts the next and etc.  Doing some barefoot running (before and/or after workouts) a few times each week could help, as well.  Perhaps following an alternating pattern (e.g. 1-1, 1-2) of using lightweight trainers and racing flats for long runs might be a way to go.  I am not sure that using racing flats exclusively or even primarily is really a good idea if there is no issue (e.g. frequent lower leg/foot injuries while using conventional training flats) pushing one in that direction.  While recognizing the utility in training in the same shoes in which one races, I also like using supportive shoes for easy and recovery runs, since those are supposed to be runs that do not unduly stress the body's systems and thus better allow for the recovery that brings about the gains from the stresses of training.

  • #26995


    The most that I spent on a pair of shoes was 90-something for a pair of Pearl Izumi Vitals. Although I put 1130 miles on them, I also noted in my log not to purchase them again. I felt like there was too much shoe. Also, I noted that after I took some time off for plantar fasciitis, they started rubbing on my Achilles tendon. I even noted that it was controllable with two socks and now I remember how I got several pairs of socks with holes over the Achilles tendon.

    My best value in miles/dollar was a pair of Reebok Premier Lites. I put 1948 miles on them — probably closer to 2000 because there was a period of inconsistent running when I didn't . I believe that I paid less than $60 for them. For fun, I added a couple of columns to my training log to calculate cost per mile for my shoes. The Vitals cost around 8 cents/mile and the Premier Lites cost around 3 cents/mile.

    Of course, cost/mile is not the only factor. Comfort is also important. I consider 8 cents per mile to be pretty good actually. It was the other issues that caused me to look elsewhere for my next pair of shoes. I have never found the more expensive models to be more comfortable. If I were to make a generalization, I would actually say that the opposite has been true for me.


  • #26996

    About a month ago I purchased a pair of Nike Zoom Skylons as a possible replacement to the 825.  I find them decidedly uncomfortable.  There must be a post in the forefoot that makes contact with a pressure point on the balls of my feet because I get periodic numbness.  There is nothing to the tongue so you notice every minute difference in the way I lace them.  The tread is noticeably worn after less than 150 miles.  Needless to say they will not make a repeat appearance in my rotation.  However, as I got ready to run this AM, I thought I'd give the 825s one last go 'round.  Just putting them on, I know it's a better shoe for me.  7 miles this morning and no numbness, no discomfort.  I think they still have some life left in them.  So I guess it's 800 miles and counting.

  • #26997

    I have spent more than a hundred dollars for shoes and they were Mizunos. Honestly, those are the best shoes that I have ever had and the really helped my foot feel better. You see I overpronate when I run so these shoes gave me just the support I needed. I would say that you can usually get away with buying a less expensive shoe, but if you have pronation problems it just might be worth the hundred bucks.

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