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£30 trainers or £100 trainers?

Although I'm in the more money than sense camp, in my researches into what shoes to get next, I came across a few interesting articles (I think I posted a link on another thread). Anyway, someone has done some research into the relationship between shoes and and performance, comparing barefoot, cheap and expensive. While there was some difference between barefoot and shoes, there was no discernible difference between expensive and cheap.

I expect the difference is more about weight - after all, there aren't that many materials that you can make a modern shoe from - but diminishing returns will soon set in.

I'm particularly interested in shoes as means to avoid/induce injury. Rather interestingly my researches have also turned up the fact that there is no evidence to relate the design of shoes to the likelihood of injury - i.e. sports science isn't evidence based. Most designs come down to the whim of the designer/fashion/aping what the others do. And there is an increasing amount of evidence that suggests that shoes may actually be harmful!

Currently, I think that, say with a £100 annual shoe budget, you would be better buying going through three pairs of £33 pound shoes, than one pair of £100 shoes in a year.


  • huwdhuwd Posts: 228
    I tend to think its more about the fit than the cost.

    If a £30 pair offer you enough support and comfort then I don't have a problem but with the caveat that it would be all too easy to settle for something that isn't quite right and could be more likely to cause long term troubles.

    Saying that - even a £100 pair might not be right without going down the custom fit route.
  • maltesermalteser Posts: 25
    I agree with huwd ... its about the fit and its also about the cushioning and support ... i'm mega flat footed and overpronate like there is no tomorrow so usually £30 trainers don't offer the level of support that I need to avoid injury and the such ... then again, I really hate paying £100 for trainers so I try and find a happy medium ... New Balance are doing the job at the moment and they're at the £75 mark
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    I am with huwd and malteser.It is fit and ability to avoid injury.I will try various options if the price is right,but if the don't work they get relugated to the garden footwear dept.When I find a pair that works I may opt to get a couple more as each year,new models appear and the footlast is not the same so it's back to square one.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    For me the choice is about comfort and support - i overpronate like hell and so need very stable trainers. I go for what fits is comfy and what works, that said i don't think i have ever paid £100 for trainers. Conehead, my one concern with buying trainers that are a few years old could be that they won't last that long - i tend to change my trainers about ever 400miles, trainers that are a few years old may not last that long with the cusioning and the glue etc not being as new and according to an article i read on runners world, this is the case. I'd have to replace my trainers a lot more frequently if i did that. So i figure £60 2/3 times a year is better than £25 5/6 times a year.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    md6,with maths skills like that do you work for one of the banks,or other financial institutions?
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    um, looking back at it ...um i see your point . Yes, i do also work in finance, but my point was that i tend to buy trainers twice a year, if that, but i expect that as i start training for a marathon next year then i will need to buy more refquently (3 times a year) but if i buy older trainers that aren't going to last and i have to buy 6 times a year, then it could work out more expensive.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    I totally see you point and agree.
  • willieverfinishwillieverfinish Posts: 1,381
    I tend to buy the right shoe for me. I know bugger all about them so I trust the chaps in the shop.

    Got Brooks ST3's and I love them. Think they cost £50. I'm not fussed about he cost, I supose I'd pay whatever I needed but I would start to get jumpy at the ton mark.
  • MrSquishyMrSquishy Posts: 277
    It's comfort and fit for me - my local running shop have sorted me out with a couple of good pairs for my running style and when trying on the selection of shoes they suggest I avoid looking at the price, that way I'm not swayed by how cheap/expensive they are relative to how skint/flush I am at the time.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    To put a spanner in the works...as Jack says, research points toward at best a non effect on injury at worst a negative or injury causing effect & barefoot may be better...with me so far? Recommended that shoes be replaced varying distances but 4-5-600 miles are oft quoted....by manufacturers as shoes break down lose cushioning etc..OK? Does that not make them more like barefoot then? So the slow breakdown of the shoes could be beneficial to your foot/leg/joint well being after all but Mr Nike/Reebok etc need you to keep replacing on a regular basis. Discuss.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    I'm with conehead. I paid £40 for my saucony and the rrp was £80. They are great fit and really comfortable so to me they tick the right boxes.

    I don't see they point in buying the latest bling shoes when no-one really gives a toss anyway.Chances are when your racing most folks are too knackered to give a toss about whay shoes you have.
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    Ah Britspin, good point but barefoot running tends to be forefoot running as you can't (so i understand) heel strike barefoot without causing lots of discomfort. So if you are a heel striker like me, then as the cusioning breakes down then there is the problem that the shock of heel striking goes straight up the leg and is not absorbed by the shoe. So as the cusioning decreases, the impact and therefore injury potential increases...at least for heel strikers like me. Also i understand that wearing runners means you run in a different manner increasing the impact you take on the foot. If that applies for forefoot runners, well i don't really know for sure
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    £30 or £100... ummm... both. Well, almost.

    Allow me to explain: I've always winged it in Chavs 'r' Us when buying trainers, spending about £30-£40, but when my latest shoes started to collapse a bit I decided to go to a proper shop for an assessment. I was prepared to spend a wallet popping £130 on shoes, if needed.

    I limped in to Up & Running in Southampton on a friend's recommendation. The owner is a pretty handy runner and coach (UK Endurance Level 3, whatever than means) and he stuck me on a treadmill with a video camera and showed me that I looked like a baby giraffe when running. Feet flopping everywhere, legs out of line etc.

    He then surprised me by producing a few pairs of shoes that where all around £60. I felt comfiest in Asics 1130s, which where £70rrp, £60 in the shop, and I got a tri-club discount to £54. I also got to see a video of me running in them which explained perfectly the concepts of 'Over-pronate' and 'support shoe'.

    On-line they were available then for £45, now you can get them for £40. I consider the extra I paid to be fully worth it, because before I went into the shop I had no idea what to buy and now I know and have seen evidence that they make my legs go straight.

    I've decided that I'll replace on-line every 4-6 months for say 18 months, then go back to the shop to pay a bit extra and see if my 'prescription' has changed. Dead happy with £40 trainers that actually work.
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    I'm thinking along the lines of Bopo.

    I bought £30 trainers all the time, and ran in them until my shins hurt! Then I'd buy another pair of £30 trainers etc.

    I'm doing far more training since I took up tri, so I went for an assessment the last time I got sore shins. I was told I mildly overpronate so I got some Brooks for £65. I think there must be something behind the science to it as the price would have been the same for similar trainers for neutral runners. So the manufacturers aren't making an extra money from me buying motioned controlled trainers.

    Next time I will shop around on t'internet, I reckon I can get some for much nearer the £30 I usually pay.
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Its all well and good for the average Joe to be able to buy discount trainers but when it comes to specific running trainers to counter act bad technique it starts to cost!
    I am at present the proud owner of Adidas Supanovas which set me back (hope you are sitting down) £85 which is a whole stupid amount more than coneheads £30. I do need to mention that i have an odd running style and these trainers actually work for me.

    There has to be a happy medium between cost comfort and support.
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    I'm in the same boat as Bopo on this one, but with a slightly different destination. This year, I've been runnign a lot. At least 5 times a week, up to 8 times and if spending 3x the price on shoes would make my feet more comfortable or stable and properly positioned while the rest of my body is in agony then it is worth every penny. I ended up switching from New Balance after 4 years on the 1020series and now in the Asics Kayanos. These are good high milage shoes and have lasted about 800 miles so far for me.

    After running more than I had before for sustained periods though, I've decided you need lots of shoes. Like 4 pairs of running shoes as a BARE MINIMUM. 1 pair for trail runs. 1 pair of light weight trainers for intervals or tempo runs. 1 pair of long distance shoes that leave you feeling good after 2-3 hours on your feet. 1 pair of light weight racing shoes. None of these are optional and no pair of shoes will fulfill the requirements of the other category. Spend what you want on any 1 pair, but get the shoe that you feel good in.
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    danny_s wrote:
    1 pair of light weight racing shoes.
    Fortunately for my bank balance I'm too heavy (fat) for racing shoes
  • Barny51Barny51 Posts: 16
    Best trainers I ever bought / used were £35 from JJB.. bought of the shelf with no gait analysis or nothing....

    Reebox premier roadrunner.....

    NO blisters, no leg pain, PBs all around....

    An absolute revelation!

    4 pairs later they have stopped making them....... sha#'ed up the [email protected] again and on my second pair of £75-100 trianers which are hurting/giving me blisters....

    Going to do IMUK in a couple of weeks in my old pair of reeboks.. which have little tread and have done 1000miles.... BUT ARE STILL MORE CONFORTABLE...

    I actually think getting the perfect pair of triianers is LUCK... yes luck... Gait all you want, when you find that perfect pair buy a lifetime supply!

    I am mourning my lovely shoes!
  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Been following this thread with quite a lot of interest... Only a couple of weeks ago I posted a thread on "Should I buy a pair of Newtons?" Well, I didn't in the end as I ended up buying a garmin 305 so had to put the trainers back a bit.

    And sort of glad now as I'm thinking I really don't need to spend that much, but I do need to buy some trainers as I've had my current trainers since 2005... No wonder my shins have been hurting!

    So, I'm going to get a gait analysis, and go for recommended trainers. Whatever they may be and hopefully the shins will improve.
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Newtons definitely fall into the more money than sense camp.

    I just can't decide whether to get the "trainers" or the "race" version.
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    Newtons definitely fall into the more money than sense camp.

    I just can't decide whether to get the "trainers" or the "race" version.
    Trainer version. There's only a 1.5 ounce difference, and you get almost all of the padding depth doubled. Unless that 1.5 ounce is going to make the difference in your races...

    I've gone from being really excited to being quite afraid of those shoes though. After talking to a few running coaches, apparently almost everyone who competitively races in them end up cutting the lugs off because they tend to keep getting Achilles injuries... So you go from knee injuries if you heel strike to calf injuries if you run on the toe. I'll stick somewhere in the middle hopefully and let my room full of shoes average each other out.
  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Hmm, well I often spend around the £60 mark, I have overspent in the past and it has not turned out well.
    Recent trainer purchases -

    Mizuno precision waves - got them for £45 thanks to my mate who owns a running shop, got them for training primarily.
    Saucony fasttwitch - £60 my racers!
    Saucony A2s - £60 - loved them and will get another pair for racing next season.
    Asics nimbus - £120 or something like that, horrible, horrible, horrible trainers a complete waste of money, they are so padded they actually cause me calf pain.

    The long and short of it is, i prefer trainers with minimal cushioning and weight, I feel like I have increase proprioception in them so I can feel the ground better, I can also run much faster in them.
    I tend to get two pairs a season, 1 training, 1 racing, spending 60ish on each.
  • WannabetriWannabetri Posts: 219
    I am a bargain hunting like the Conehead. Looking ro last year's trainers (same as this years just different colour) and get them on the cheap. Always buying two pairs of the same shoe. One for predominently training in and one for 'racing' in. (I'm not that fast a runner!).

    The adidas badboys I have at the moment came in at £35 a pair and the current model retails for £80. Big savings to be had if you need it.

    Would I buy the more expensive trainers? Probably not. I can't imagine ever being good enough to think that the additional 50g off the weight, or increased response of the Newton Actuator Lugs will really make that much of a difference to my race time. Another 4 hours training a week, and being 5 kilo's lighter might though.......
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    i started off believe it or not with a £^ pair of lidl trainers! To be honest they did make my feet hot in retrospect!

    Then got gait analysis and i am a HUGE overpronator and got Brookes somethings... circa £70 new in may 2008. have never replaced them yet and they are probably due a change... but they are still comfy. I do have a pair of £50 trail shoes but they only come out in the winter - they are heavy buggers in comparison to the Brookes, which themselves are not anywhere like racing flats!

    Being a tightwad by nature I have a healthy scepticism about "latest theories" (aided by empirical evidence in my professional life of bleeding edge technologies being a PITA and/or totally shite for several versions...) and i do have concerns that all this "over pronation" blather is just that and a way to get punters to shell out for something that they might not actually need. Thoughts on THAT possibly contentious issue?

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