2015 Shoes

Running Shoes: How I’ve Been Buying

With start of the new year, I got myself two pairs of running shoes. One is Asics Gel-Cumulus 16. The other is New Balance 780 V5.

Normally I get a new pair and run with the pair until it’s time to replace them. However, after reading about rotating running shoes to avoid injury, I decided to get two pairs and see what it is like to rotate.

I hope to write a review of the shoes soon. Before I do, I thought I should give you a bit of background how I have been going about buying my running shoes. (I may have titled this post as “how a lazy man buys a pair of running shoes.”)

There are three things that I have looked for when I got a new pair of running shoes:

  1. Is it Asics?
  2. Is it available in size 10 with 4E (extra wide) width?
  3. Is it on sale?

These three heuristics came about for their own reason. Let me explain why.

Why Asics?

Well, if you don’t know anything about something, you look for an expert advice on what’s the best brand to get. And when I was searching for my first pair of running shoes, which must have been about 16 years ago, I remember standing in front of the magazine section in a bookstore, and going through multiple running magazines to get a consensus on what brand of shoes was the best to get.

Needless to say the most commonly sited best shoes were by Asics. I think it was right around the year when Asics launched Gel-Nimbus and Gel-Cumulus line. And ever since then, I have been sticking to that advice.

Plus it was helpful to know how exactly the size 10 would feel on my feet when ordering it from Internet. I didn’t have to visit the store to try out the new shoes. I knew the size would be the same, hence could save the trip to the local sports store.

Why size 10 with extra wide width (4E)?

Size 10 is easy. I think I tried 9 and half way back when, but realized that with 10, I didn’t have to risk getting blisters on my toes.

As for extra wide, it took me a while to realize that there were such a thing as extra wide width, and my feet could use that extra margin. I tried wide width (2E) several years ago, but it was not as comfortable when I started running in them. My feet felt like it didn’t have enough space to move around and breathe.

So since then I’ve always looked for extra wide width in all my running shoes.

It was only a few weeks ago that I noticed that not all shoe manufactures offer 4E width on their running shoes. It seemed like 4E width are offered by Asics, New Balance, Nike and Brooks.

Why look for sale?

What can I say. I am a total value shopper. Especially when it comes to recurring expenses, I look for all the possible ways to cut the cost.

Buying running shoes became a recurring expense for me a long time ago. Ever since I paid a visit to a sports medicine doctor due to right knee pain, I have been paying attention to running shoes. Even when I procrastinated buying a new pair of shoes, I usually ended up buying a new pair once every 9-10 months.

Now that I started running long runs, and getting two pairs at a time, running shoes purchases will be even more frequent recurring expense. So that’s why I look for discounts when I go shopping for my shoes.

I normally look for shoes around $80 – 100 range including tax and shipping charge. Within the budget I have been able to get Asics Gel-Nimbus, Gel-Cumulus, GT-2170,  and GT 2120 over the years. It looks like the shoes that I got the most often was Gel-Cumulus, followed by Gel-Nimbus.

I found that the best time to buy shoes is just before the Thanksgiving time when lot of retailers are having sales to clear off their inventories for the next season. I often got 20 – 25% off from the already discounted online price.

Now that I’m getting two pairs of running shoes, I plan to relax my Rule #1, and look at other brands.

For the first time, I got my first pair of New Balance to try out. I just did my 12 mile run on it today, and I will share what I think about the shoes once I put on more miles on it.


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