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!
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.