The Crowded Running Shoe Market

July 19, 2014 by
Filed under: Footwear, Sports 

Back in the early 80’s I bought my first pair of running shoes. I went for New Balance, and they coast an amazing $45.00. There were the big names at that point: Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Nike, New Balance, Puma, and Reebok.

That was then. This is now. Shoe companies galore.

  1. Adidas
  2. Altra
  3. Asics
  4. Brooks
  5. Chaco
  6. Ecco
  7. Hoka One One
  8. Inov-8
  9. Karhu
  10. K-Swiss
  11. Merrell
  12. Mizuno
  13. New Balance
  14. Newton Running
  15. Nike
  16. On
  17. Pearl Izumi
  18. Puma
  19. Reebok
  20. Salomon
  21. Saucony
  22. Scott
  23. Skechers
  24. Spira
  25. Topo Athletic
  26. Under Amour
  27. Vibram FiveFingers
  28. VibroBareFoot
  29. Zoot

Twenty nine shoe companies! I faint that amazing and overwhelming. There may be more I missed.

Then of course, each of these companies have different versions of shoes, typically road and trail. Then different types of control and support features. Then “regular” shoes versus minimalist shoes. And zero-drop shoes.

I went to one online website of a well-known company that sells many different shoes and some of the shoes manufactures had 16 or 18 different shoes models to choose from.

Companies that were known for their hiking boots and shoes now make running road and trail shoes. An underwear company makes shoes. It’s a hot market and everyone want a piece of the pie.

What’s a runner to do when they need new shoes? In my mind, there are three answers:

  • First, visit your friendly neighborhood running store. And no, I don’t mean Big 5. I mean a running store with people who actually run, know shoes, and can make recommendation based on your form and gait, foot strike, shoe history, and even injury history.
  • Secondly, use the services of a reputable online running shoe company. They typically offer call-in support to help you select the right shoes or a chat pop-up box to ask a sale person questions to determine the right shoes. Some even have online shoe buying guides.
  • Thirdly, take a chance and just buy or order a pair of shoes on your own.

I recommend the options in the order presented. The running shoe marketplace is too crowded to make an intelligent choice any other way.

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