On my most recent Saturday run, I laced up my Brooks Glycerin 19s and rolled out to hit the American Tobacco Trail for a 9-mile long run. Unsurprisingly, the parking lot was filled with runners, bikers and walkers who all had the same idea as me — to take advantage of the early morning’s cool temperature. At a crisp 61 degrees and a light breeze, I knew it would be a good run.
While I typically choose to entertain myself with a perfectly crafted playlist of my favorite Beyoncé or One Direction songs, I've lately found my entertainment on long runs with my eyes glued to the ground. No, I’m not an aspiring geologist interested in the types of rocks embedded in the trails — I’m a bit of a sneakerhead who is a little too interested in the running shoes of everyone I pass.
Hoka, Asics and Brooks are among the three most popular brands I see on any given Saturday.
It’s always a treat when I find someone wearing a plated racing shoe like a Saucony from the Endorphin Line. As I count the shoes, I start to count the dollars. Hoka Clifton– $140, Brooks Glycerin– $160, Asics Gel-Nimbus– $160, Saucony Endorphin Speed– $160.
Not a single shoe on that trail was priced under $100.
After my run, I decided to do some sleuthing. Surely there had to be a place one could find one of these shoes for cheaper than what’s listed on the seller's website. I went to Walmart’s website and found several pairs of Brooks and Asics, and although they were much older models and were pre-owned, they were all priced at under $100.
The issue came when I went to pick my size. The only sizes available were under size 6.5, which very few adults wear. It's clear that a limited variety of shoe sizes makes stores like Walmart unreliable suppliers for the running community.
When runners, myself included, evangelize about running, we like to talk about how cost-effective it is. We preach that "anyone can do it!" But running mile after mile, passing runner after runner, each wearing a different shoe with a different price, I realized how incorrect that statement is.
But that's just not true. Not everyone can spend more than $100 on a pair of good running shoes.