How much should you pay for running shoes?
There are two categories of prices for technical running shoes: prices for in-line shoes and prices for close-out shoes. So when people ask, ‘How much should you pay for running shoes?’ it’s best to give two answers, one for each of those two categories.
How much should you pay for running shoes that are in-line?
Have you ever noticed the number at the end of a shoe’s name? For example, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18. That ‘18’ means that there were 17 earlier versions of the shoe. Typically, manufacturers annually release a new version.
The 18th version is called the in-line version. It’s the current model. And it will remain the current model until the 19th comes out.
It’s common in retail to refer to the in-line shoe solely by its number. ‘The 18’ is the way most retail workers would refer to the Adrenaline GTS 18.
Retailers sell in-line shoes for the same price, more or less. Retailer’s prices will be within a dollar of each other. Manufacturers tightly control the wholesale prices on in-line shoes. Those price controls limit price differentiation among retailers.
In-line technical running shoes typically cost between $100 and $170. The most frequently occurring price is about $130.
On our wall is Philly’s largest selection of technical running shoes. The prices start at $80 and end at $170. But the most common prices are $120 and $130.
How much should you pay for running shoes that are close-outs?
To go back to our example, The 17 became a close-out as soon as The 18 shipped to retail stores.
Manufacturers sell close-outs to retailers, not just in-line shoes. Manufacturers tightly control in-line prices, but close-out prices are all over the place. When retailers negotiate a great deal on close-out shoes, they will pass that savings along to consumers.
Let’s go back to our example. The 18 costs $120, no matter where you look. (If you see The 18 advertised for significantly less than $120, you’re probably looking at an advertisement that is incorrect.) However, The 17 is available at a number of prices. The cheapest that I’ve seen is $68!
Close-out shoes can cost almost anything. There are no price controls. Compare the price of The 17 and The 18 on this site.
Close-outs are a wonderful way to get technical running shoes for less. But remember that two iterations of the same style are not necessarily going to feel the same.
Comfort is key.
If you’re in a sneaker store and you’re wearing a comfortable pair of in-line shoes—buy them! Never assume that the close-out version is going to feel just as good.