August 6, 2021

Buying Running Shoes On The Cheap

When I first started running, it was BN, or before Nike, so running shoes were little more than P.F. Flyers or Sneakers. Yes, there were brands like Adidas, Onitsuka, etc. The Adidas were pretty cool shoes that I ran in most of the time in high school. Nike came out during high school so I transitioned over to waffle trainers. My brother used to run in paper-thin Onitsuka Tigers. But, my prized possession were my running shoes made by Arthur Lydiard (shown below.)

These were my pride and joy. They were super comfortable and actually looked pretty cool. I lost my last pair in an automobile accident in 1986. Somehow the EMTs we more interested in pulling me from the wreckage of my mangled 1980 Honda Accord, than worrying about my shoes. Sheesh! LOL!

Since that time, I’ve worn many types of shoes. Most of the major brands including Nike, Adidas, Saucony, and New Balance, to name a few. Interestingly, from the time I started running in the early-1970s, shoe companies spent $millions correcting things like foot roll, over pronation, etc. All the things I never worried about whilst running 15 miles/day. I’m not saying that they engineered my eventual injuries, but interestingly, a few years back Nike came out with these shoes called the Nike Free.

The Nike Free is essentially a piece of foam with minimal control and a suede upper. A lot like the shoes from the 1970s. Just as interesting, once I started wearing them, most of my injuries went away. I could run 10 miles painlessly; I even could run twice a day again. Needless to say, for 25 years I had endured all the control Nike, and the other shoe makers could inflict upon me. I wonder how many other running careers they engineered into oblivion?

With that in mind, I still bought running shoes albeit at all the discount stores. I never paid full-price for their over-priced foot coverings. I recently spoke to a friend of my daughter’s who qualified and competed in the Women’s U.S. 2020 Olympic Trials in the marathon in Atlanta. One of the freebies given out was a prerelease pair of the Nike’s new Vaporfly. This shoe supposedly gives its wearer a 1.2% advantage. We laughed at that. She also said that some of the other runners sold them for $2000. I told her to do that too. ASAP, before their release to the general public.

As you can tell, I’ve been buying running shoes for awhile. About 20-years ago, I got fed up and started buy shoes at discount sporting goods store. After I bought the Nike Free shoes, I was hooked. But Nike had other plans. They stopped carrying the versions of Nike Free shoes that I liked. I looked everywhere, I eventually wound up on Ebay.

At first, I only bought the new in the box (NIB) shoes, but they were getting harder and harder to find for the model I wanted. Finally, I was reduced to buying used shoes (Gasp!) I would look at the soles and uppers for wear. Most of the people selling the shoes weren’t runners; they just needed the money. So for the last couple of years I’ve been getting high-end slightly worn shoes from Ebay. I haven’t been disappointed yet.

As a precaution, I have a shoe disinfection system that uses ozone to kill any potential bugs. Another technique that kills almost everything is to put the shoes in a plastic bag and stick them in the deep freeze (-10 degrees F) for 24 hours. No fungus or bacteria can survive that long at that temperature. So I feel pretty safe. At least I’ve never had a problem. But I’m always cautious and I urge you to do the same.

I know some of you will be grossed out by this, but I’m not ashamed to get really good running shoes for 10% of new.

If you have a brand and model for you shoe. Just go to Ebay and put in the specifications for your shoe. Usually a number of NIB will come up. Only buy shoes where they have several pictures of the soles so you can see the amount of wear. Some runners put out these totally trashed shoes; don’t buy them. You should be able to find, as I said, NIB shoes at a significant discount.

You can do this with bikes, too. Everybody thinks they’re the next Lance Armstrong (sans the drugs, LOL!) So they’ve got to have the latest and greatest bike and are eager to unload the current top-of-the line bike they bought last year. I’m always willing to help them out. The other way is to be friends with a professional bike rider. They get new bikes all the time. My son had a friend that rode professionally and he picked-up this sweet bike for next to nothing.

Did I mention this technique works for getting skis, snowboards, and skates, too. Again, people who are wannabes just must have the newest models of everything. You can help them get the newest models by buying last years model from them. This approach works for just about anything you can imagine. There are obviously social and hygienic concerns regarding certain items and you must draw your own line here. But I’ve never been disappointed in buying used gear.