Take heart. The Brooks shoes and other expensive ones can be found online much cheaper - it's good to have tried them on in a store first, though. Just google the shoe you want, and the size.
They're even cheaper if you don't care about this year's model. The companies update them every year, and the changes often are irrelevant.
In a self service store like Academy or Sports Authority, you can try on different brands without dealing with a clerk.
Some of the online tools might help you know what type of shoe you need - but the in-person evaluation in a running store is the best way - especially if they have a video camera on your feet as you run on a treadmill.
(I like www.runningwarehouse.com
If you have outlet stores in your area, they might have the big shoe brands. I get Nikes there, and we have outlets for Reebok, Adidas, and Puma.
Another link: www.joesnewbalanceoutlet.com
If you want to wear thick socks, just be sure you still plenty of toe room; maybe a half size larger.
Edited by: SWIFTSEATURTLE at: 2/4/2012 (18:13)