Do I get what I pay for??

I have a problem. I surf the internet, I know all the best sites and like someone with something to hide I always remember to clear the history when I’m finished.   But my wife always knows, she can smell the guilt, I will give the obligatory denial…….. But she knows, I’ve done it again, I’ve bought another pair of runners!

The Runners I bought in 2014
The Runners I bought in 2014

I have a shoe fetish, I don’t have a budget for runners – I don’t like to limit myself. It’s safe to say last year’s spending on runners would have covered a family holiday. It was only when I was asked by my wife to throw out some runners (no chance of me doing this) that I realized how many pairs I have bought in the last calendar year – 10 pairs …….. Well that’s all I’m admitting to, my wife does read this.

Why do I buy so many runners? I am fascinated by the potential for improvement in my running without doing more training (aren’t we all). Will this particular pair help me be better, be faster, I am an advertising dream. I have minimalist runners, racing flats and neutral cushioned runners. If I take the minimalist runners – I have 3 pairs because they have been proven to make you  significantly more economical than traditionally runners (Perl et al., 2012), I alternate these with neutral cushioned runners for comfort for my longer runs.

I have memories associated with runners, the miles logged, thoughts had, problems I have worked through, people I have met. Bad runs in a particular pair of runners get stored as learning experience – beta testing, and good runs get stored as aspirations for the future. It’s the weirdest relationship I have ever had.

But do I get value for my average investment of 90-100 euro per pair? Am I less likely to get injured, be more comfortable because I buy “well made”, expensive, branded runners that suit my running speed (slow), my weight? They are better??? Aren’t they? A review of the relevant literature would suggest they are not. In fact low to medium-cost running shoes have been found to be as comfortable as more expensive models (Clinghan et al., 2008). But at least by spending more money on my runners I am protecting myself against injury???? ……. No seemingly not (Lieberman et al., 2010; Goss & Gross, 2012)

So my next pair will be yellow pack runners from a department store just to see, and my wife will have the pleasure of picking them with a budget of 25-30 euro. This is an experiment in going cold turkey – because I admit I have issues. I am already nervous – anxious about injury, about not believing in them enough and being able to use them as an excuse. Amazon, sport shoes direct and all my other favourites I will return soon I hope…………


Barry Kehoe MISCP CSCS


Clinghan R, Arnold GP, Drew TS, Cochrane LA & Abboud RJ. (2008). Do you get value for money when you buy an expensive pair of running shoes? Br J Sports Med 42, 189-193.

Goss DL & Gross MT. (2012). Relationships among self-reported shoe type, footstrike pattern, and injury incidence. US Army Med Dep J, 25-30.

Lieberman DE, Venkadesan M, Werbel WA, Daoud AI, D’Andrea S, Davis IS, Mang’eni RO & Pitsiladis Y. (2010). Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners. Nature 463, 531-535.

Perl DP, Daoud AI & Lieberman DE. (2012). Effects of footwear and strike type on running economy. Med Sci Sports Exerc 44, 1335-1343.

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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