Are expensive running shes better than cheap ones? Apparently not!

I had not planned on posting this week, but I could not pass up this opportunity.  I have always been sceptical of special issue running shoe reviews printed in running magazines.  I think it is inherently a conflict of interest, and frankly the studies are not very scientific.  I also think that running shoe design is more marketing than research and development. Much more.  It seems that most of what is written about running shoes is at best questionable, and at worst  just nonsense.  I have always wondered if the prices charged for more expensive running shoes, are worth it,  especially after the most expensive pair of running shoes I ever purchased, were absolutely the worst.  They hurt my feet so much that they were unwearable. I was delighted to read about a new study that actually suggested that owners seemed to be more pleased with the cheaper shoes over the more expensive models.

The information below is from  Run Repeat, and is used with their permission (as outlined on their website) as long as I cite them.  Specifically, the information is from  their report which is available online.  However, at the very end of this report I will provide a disclaimer:

Expensive Running Shoes Are Not Better Than More Affordable Running Shoes (Study)

Based on 134,867 reviews of 391 running shoes from 24 brands, this study compare the list price of running shoes with how well rated they are. The key conclusion is that expensive running shoes are not better than more affordable ones. In fact, inexpensive running shoes are better rated than expensive ones.


Based on 134,867 reviews and 391 running shoes from 24 running shoe brands:

  1. The higher the list price, the lower ratings the running shoes get.
  2. The 10 most expensive running shoes (avg. list price: $181) are rated 8.1% worse than the 10 cheapest running shoes (avg. list price: $61).
  3. Running specialist brands are rated 2.8% higher than running shoes from broad sports brands.
  4. The top three best rated brands are: #1 Skechers, #2 Saucony and #3 VibramFiveFingers, while the three worst rated are #22 New Balance, #23 Adidas and #24 Reebok. Adidas Group owns both Reebok and Adidas.
  5. The three most affordable brands are #1 Skechers, #2 Vivobarefoot and #3 Puma, while the three most expensive brands are #22 On, #23 Newton and #24 Hoka One One.


Me again.  Correlation does not mean causation, and the cost of the shoes may not have anything to do with how good they are, but rather how pleased the owners were with them.  I would think that it would take a lot of shoe to please me for $200, but I would be more forgiving of a shoe that retailed for around $65 dollars, but which I perhaps purchased for $10 or less on sale.   I also do not think I am that much different from other people.  They cheaper running shoes are perhaps not better per se, but rather a better value.  Two different things.  Here is what the research does perhaps lead up to.  You do not have to spend over $70 to be perfectly satisfied with your shoes.

Caveat emptor.


Shoelaces: Part II

Okay. Last post about shoelaces but I could not end without completing what I had to say.  Last post I gushed about the cord lock as a way of not worrying about loose shoelaces flaying about and creating havoc.  I thought this week that I should mention another system which is popular.  One is a patented system called Lock Laces (registered trademark and all that) that is not pictured here but there is a web site for, and the other very similar system is pictured below:

Shoe lacing system using a locking mechanism and stretchy shoelaces.
Close up view on the same shoe.
Shoe lacing system alternative view.
Lacing system on a pair of my all-weather running shoes.

Personally I do not use anything but the cord locks I wrote about in my last post.  I don’t like the stretch style shoe lace which gives it a “cushy” loose feel,at least on my feet, nor the cost.  My own personal preference, but I do think this type of alternative is better than just tying the shoes.  You may like that kind of  system better though.  I have tried both, and find no fault with the lower cost alternative which has proven very reliable, but admittedly does not make a dashing fashion statement.

Coming up is a series on safety while running and walking. It will also apply to bicycling but I will leave biking safety to someone else with more experience.  I ride largely on the local trail system avoiding the streets whenever I can.

Get up, get out, and do something!


Yes, this is a post about shoelaces.  Sort of.

No matter how, or how well, I tied my shoes they would come loose whenever I walked or ran.  It did not happen all the time, but it happened often enough for it to be bothersome, and, I suppose, somewhat dangerous. I also had problems whenever I rode my bike and my right shoelace would get caught between the chain and gear.  Last year when one of our local athletic stores (the kind that is locally owned and caters to serious bicyclist, runners, and swimmers) had their annual shoe sale I made a discovery.  A bucket full of these little doodads called cord locks.  I think they started out being used on clothing and sort of migrated to shoes.  I thought I would try a pair during an upcoming 5k because I did not want to stop in the heat of competition to tie my shoes.  A rookie mistake like putting your number on your back.  I have been hooked every since.

Cord lock for shoestrings
Cord lock for shoestrings
Cord lock closeup.

This is the original pair that I am still using. I now own four additional pairs in various colors.  At first I thought they might break, come loose, or somehow otherwise fail to meet my satisfaction. They have exceeded all expectations, to the point I keep them on my training shoes, my competition shoes, and my beater shoes I wear for everyday use or to do house chores. I can honestly say that I no longer have issues with loose or tangled shoelaces, and the shoelaces last much longer.  I also discovered it is easier, and faster, to get my shoes on and off.  Plus there is a bonus use.  You know those running shorts, with the tie string, that keep coming loose on you when you run?  One of these bad boys makes that problem go away too.

You can see how I put them on.  The trick is to not to cut the laces too short, but yet keep them long enough so you can get in and out of the shoes.  As a general rule I cut the cords short enough so I cannot step on them.  That seems to be short enough so that they do not get caught up in the bicycle as well.

I suppose the one drawback is they look kind of geeky.  I don’t care. There are fancier methods such as stretchy shoe strings, with fancier fasteners,  but this is a simple fix.  I love things that work.  I really love simple things that work well.

Running in Nasty Weather – the right shoes


This is a review for the Saucony Progrid Razor Trail Running Shoes.  I purchased these shoes at an end of season sale from Tryathletics, a locally owned athletic store here in Columbia for around $60 (they retailed for $135), and now I wish I had purchased two pair at that price. Especially after finding out they have been discontinued despite positive reviews all over the web. Latter I will tell you why I decided to go ahead and do this review despite the fact that this particular model has gone the way of all flesh.

The first day I saw these shoes I decided to pass them up.  The next day the weather had turned cold and wet for the first time this winter, and  I decided to go back and see if they still had a pair left.  Thankfully they did. These shoes may not be for everyday, nor all conditions, but for the right day and the right conditions they have no equal.  Since then I have put about forty miles on them, in wet winter weather.  They are not the kind of shoes you are going to want to race in, they are pretty heavy, but they are the kind  of shoes you want when the weather gets nasty outside and you would still like to train. I  have put over 40 miles on my pair so far, including one five mile run, without discomfort or blisters. My feet remained warm and dry despite the cold and wet conditions.

DSC_0011In this next picture you can see the outside waterproof gaiter folded down to reveal what looks like a pretty conventional running shoe nestled inside. In all the photographs you can see the thick Vibram sole which provides good cushioning.  The only real complaint I have about the shoes has to do with those soles, and it will probably not be an issue for most people.  The trail I run on has old railroad bridges   withDSC_0009 wood flooring.  The soles of these shoes were unbelievably slipper on that surface. I do not know about snow yet.

After the first snow I want to come back and do an update on how these shoes handled under those conditions, and if I had to add screw lugs to the soles to keep from slipping and sliding.   I plan on doing an article later on running on ice and snow, if the conditions are not too dangerous, and how you can increase traction in that kind of weather by adding screw lugs to the soles of your shoes.

As I mentioned earlier, these shoes are discontinued.  I was also unable to find any indication that Saucony plans on releasing an updated model, so why bother doing a review? Because the concept is sound.  I think there is a place for this type of shoe for serious runners or walkers. Other makers have not abandoned the concept.  New Balance has a similar shoe with the Trail 110, and Saloman makes a more radical model called the Snowcross, but I have not had the pleasure of trying them.  If anybody has any experience with either of those shoes, or something similar, I would like to hear from them.

Coming up next week is a review of Olympian Jeff Galloway‘s famous, or infamous (?), book 5K/10/K Running.

By the way, I know the snow is a bit cheesy, but I like it.  It is an option hid deep within the bowels of WordPress controls (which I am still using), and I couldn’t resist.   Especially since most of my articles for the next several months will deal with running and exercising in winter weather.