Let’s face it, running gear costs can add up quickly. The good news is running is cheaper than a lot of sports out there. You really only need a good pair of shoes and you can usually head out the door. Any athletic shorts and a t-shirt will do just fine in the summer and you can bundle up in a light jacket or sweats in the fall, winter, and spring. However, when you are looking to upgrade your gear how can you do it gradually and in an affordable fashion?
When I am buying shoes, I do a couple of main things to get a better price. First, I wait for seasonal sales. Sometimes shoes go on sale near holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas. Another time to wait for shoes is when the older model goes on clearance and the new models roll out. When I find a shoe I like and a price that is good I usually buy a couple of pairs because in the long run I am saving money. I wear a really common US 9.5 in mens. This means demand for shoes in this size are always high. I want to buy a good shoe on sale when I can before I am forced to buy a shoe at a higher price that is not on sale or as good of a sale. If you have a popular foot size you will not want to wait long when you find a good price.
If you have a brand you like you can opt in to receive emails on their promotions and coupons during the year. For example, I like the Ultimate Direction Hydro Short. Ultimate Direction will send me notices on sales and discounts from time to time. I never know when a deal will hit so I have to be ready. Every now and then companies will send me a 50% to 75% off type of sale on running gear like apparel. Popular websites that send me notices on sales include jackrabbit.com, sierratradingpost.com, and runningwarehouse.com. You’ll want to comparison shop the hundreds of online stores but you might find it safe to keep going back to the few that you can trust are legit in sending you the product you paid for.
Outlets and running stores are also fun to browse. I like to go through the clearance racks at places like the Nike outlet, sierratradingpost, and Dicks. You might want to look up if there are any local running stores or shoe outlets. We have a local place right outside of Grand Rapids that sells discounted Saucony and Merrell shoes. I have also supported and bought things from the local running store.
Some gear is expensive because of the brand’s name. Take for example, Oakley sunglasses. You could easily pay over $100 on a pair of Oakleys. However, Tifosi makes great running sunglasses from $25 to $80 and that’s their regular price! Don’t be afraid to look around and try other lesser known brands. With over 60,000,000 American’s running last year there is a huge market for smaller and newer companies to offer running gear. When I am at running expos, I will see new companies all the time selling running gear and tech.
One of the places you can also find cheaper gear and apparel is Amazon. However, be careful and read reviews carefully when you buy gear online from Amazon. Some of the shorts I have gotten from Amazon have been a miss on fit, comfort, and quality. When you can’t see a product in person and you haven’t tried it on, there is always a high probability it may not fit right or the pictures you saw online are different from what you receive in person. If the price and reviews are too irresistible to pass up, I’ll buy one pair and try them out before committing to getting more.
I don’t buy used shoes or gear online. You really don’t know how many miles or what kind of life may be left on a pair of shoes even though they look clean and have plenty of tread on the bottom. However, I will take chances on used running clothes in a Thrift Store if the price is right. Upgrading your gear isn’t hard and doesn’t have to be expensive if you have the patience and don’t mind doing some research and digging around the internet or driving out to the stores. Remember, upgrading your gear isn’t about getting everything now but look to upgrade throughout the year.