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Thanks for all of the advice, everyone. This has confirmed that I need to get fitted... and accept the small store prices that come with personalized attention. My knees are worth it.
Most of the suggestions that have been made so far have downsides. I'm not saying that should stop you, but it's good to know the downsides in advance.
- Getting fitted at a local store and then walking out just because their price is high is unfair to the store's bottom line. The reason they charge more is, in part, because they give you personal hands-on attention. If enough people just take advantage of that, the store will go out of business and then you'll have no place to get this experience.
- My experience with online retailers is that it's a challenge to shop on the basis of price - as the retailers with the best advertised prices require you to be a frequent buyer, accept substitutions, etc. I recall getting the best price from one retailer. A week later, I went back online to find out why I never got my shoes. They had canceled the order without explanation. Now I stick with a few online retailers with which I've had good experiences rather than googling for the cheapest prices.
- Another issue with online is that some of the models change every year or two. For the past two years, I was buying Mizuno Wave Riders 14, then they changed to a 15. Only in my local store were they able to explain to me what the significant change really was and, of course, I could try it out. I bought the new model from the bricks-and-mortar store.
- I've never seen particularly good discounts at expos. I can believe it happens but it sounds like a very rare event. Is it really worth the effort to pick through all that? Maybe it works better if you have an unusual shoe size? (My size is kind of average so there are never any leftovers in my size.) I've also made the mistake of being seduced by the show representatives to try on something different - never a good idea the day before a race! (In fact, that's a danger of expos in so many ways which is why I generally spend most of my time at expos talking rather than shopping.)
The other thing I highly recommend is once you know WHAT shoe you want check out the expo at a bigger race. Often they have discounted shoes (I scored a pair at last weekend's expo for $100 off!) but you have to really pick through them.
Jeckie (aka. Sarah) - Lowell, MA - EST
Half Fanatic #3032
I have no "goal weight". MY goal is to be as healthy, strong and active as I can be. This isn't about my relationship with the scale but my relationship with the world.
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After running over a year, I finally took myself to a specialty store that analyzed my foot/step/stride and recommended shoes for me; it was the best thing for myself I could have done. They explained which shoes would be best for me and why; they offered many, many shoes to try and actually watched me run in each of them. I would recommend you do the same....I like the suggestions of if the price is too high, write down the style and check on-line or at another store. Your feet won't regret it.
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Another suggestion is once you know what running shoe you like, look on line, too. I know my DH has bought many things on line for amazing prices. Running shoes are a godsend!! Welcome to the running world!!
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I've found some good deals on shoes by keeping an eye out - the other day I happened to see a clearance table in front of the local running store, so I stopped, and they had a nice pair of Mizunos in my size for $30. Sports Authority sends 20% off coupons all the time if you sign up for their emails, and the coupons are good on items that are already on sale. I got my New Balance Minimus shoes there for about $45 - I think they are about $80 retail. I've even gotten a Groupon to a different local running shop that saved me $30 on any purchase, which is how I got my first pair of Mizunos. Like Coach Nancy says, good shoes are the most important piece of gear you can buy, but there are ways to save a little money and still get good shoes.
Voluntary Discomfort is the secret cornerstone of strength. We build our whole lives around increasing comfort and avoiding discomfort, and yet by doing so we are drinking a can of Weakness Tonic with every morning’s breakfast. ~Mr. Money Mustache
5K PR: 23:40
10K PR: 48:57
HM PR: 1:59:37
CONGRATS on taking the leap to the next level. Shoes are by far the only 'real' equipment a runner needs but they are so important. That being said, I have a few tricks...first, I recommend that you head to your local running specialty store to get fitted. The reason, the store personnel can analyze your pronation and suggest shoes based on their findings. You will want to try on as many pairs that you can. Now is the IDEAL time to go and the reason, the spring models are getting ready to hit the store shelves therefore, stores are looking to liquidate their inventories and they may be offering AWESOME sales on the previous year's model. Talk to the staff and tell them your situation...sometimes they will offer a discount to runner's just beginning. If they don't...know that being fitted for a shoe does not obligate you to buying that shoe. If the price is still too high, just remember the shoe that fits well and then head on over to your local box store (Dick's, Sports Authority) and see if they offer the shoe at a discounted price.
I hope this helps!
After going back and forth about running a half for the past few months, I've finally decided to do it. (I ran a 5K a week ago and loved it.) I'm up 6 miles for my long runs and currently running with a pair of cheap sketchers, which I feel may be to blame for occasional knee problems. I have somewhat low arches and turn my feet in when I run, so I know I should get fitted for shoes at a running store. However, I have no idea what price shoes even start at there. And I really hate one-on-one attention situations because I feel like I have to buy the item, even if I don't want and/or can't afford it. I'm underemployed, so I can't spend $100+ on shoes. At this point, I could end up spending $90+ on entry fees and $50 on gas, not to mention the possible costs of a new sports bra and cool weather gear. I know I have to buy new shoes, so I'm looking for suggestions on brands/styles that won't break the bank. Thanks.