Are expensive running shoes a waste of money? Yes it seems


Getting back to the most basic element of shoes… they protect your feet from the harsh surfaces. so forget all the performance aspect of it all, i would not run barefoot for this reason alone, but its a cool concept to kick around.
Forget “running”, people wear shoes to protect their feet, so if they really did a study of people just taking off their shoes and running on the surfaces they usually run im sure they would encounter many “injuries” only they would be in the form of cuts/infections, etc. so i guess its still a little subjective.

This is true, but really cant compare the two, medical devices get “marketed” to a very select, in comaprison, tiny crowd. Whereas footwear gets marketed everyone, and everyone to some extent buys/interacts with shoes, this aspect makes a world of difference in the ‘emotive’ quality that yo speaks of imo. And you are right about the diabetics though, i did my thesis in college on a dialysis clinic, they are very emotive about thier medical products. I dont have any research to make any claims but i think there is something to be said for the romance between something that you pretty much cant live without (glucose monitor) ans something that you really dont need at all (a 3rd pair of shoes).

Wow this has gotten copletely off topic. :astonished:

you make is sound as if people are just walking around getting randomly injured in shoes. if you are referring to hardcore athletes, im pretty sure shoes or no shoes the majority of them will end up developing joint injuries after time, they put about 1000% more strain on their bodies than the average person.

I’d say the problem is the consumers who don’t do their research and get the shoes for the wrong reason. There are definite performance differences.

I remember getting a pair of high tops to play ball in and then was wondering why I had so much trouble with my game, couldn’t run as well or jump and I’m a big jumper/cutting type of guy. Then I did some research on the shoes I had and found that they were made for Shaq types, for stability and ankle support. Then I switched for some made for people with more of my types of movements and there was an instant difference. I just had the wrong shoe, bought them for the looks.

And when I ran track in high school, we’d purposefully wear the “boots” as we’d shoes (very light) for competition. It messed with technique some (like kicking too high on the hurdles because you’re used to heavier shoes, I’ve kneed myself in the face a couple of times doing that), but it did make us completely fly in any straight racing events. My schools 123 sweeps in just about every sprinting event in the city level for years attested to that. But you could definitely tell the difference between the “looks good” shoes vs the ones you’d use for the high jump, vs your sprint shoes.

I think for the average person, trotting around just to burn a few calories, for them there’s no point in paying extra. But once you are in an actual competitive field and you are very skilled, the right shoes do make a big difference. But you don’t get them for looks. I used to hate that I had to spend money on those ugly track shoes because I couldn’t use them for anything else.

though it was once a performance model, this particular model is over 20 years old, and is being brought back specifically for its style not its performance…surely you could reference a more current model?

just like bikes, cars, & watches, a shoe’s performance is built in through construction, design, detailing, overall consideration, & materials. that being said (or typed), that aesthetic/emotional component is a big driver! for the cat the buys that lambo…

i don’t really think any performance footwear designer is in total disagreement with the article, we want feet to perfom as they were meant to & there is a definite “shift” towards making footwear that does not impede on or get in the way of the natural movement of the foot. however it comes off as an all or nothing proposition, wherein we would all be better off barefoot…

This is what I run in. Designed in the 70’s. Foam, Rubber, Niylon, Leather (Suede). It doesn’t get any simpler.

I’m in the reductive camp, which is what shoes like these are all about:

Personally, I pronate, but I don’t believe in corrective shoes for pronation. I think it is important to find, and use your natural gait, which is what bare foot running is about.

Does anyone think they will jump higher because of a pair of shoes. Was there ever an ad claiming that? Will you bike farther on a $5000 bike vs a $1000 bike, or hit the ball farther with a particular driver in golf?


And also that lots of consumers don’t go with what’s cool to them, but what they’re told is cool to others, but a lot of this is changing by designing the format, like with Nike ID for example. Designing the end-product in this case isn’t so much important as designing the format that allows the consumer to further design it, to explore their tastes and get a grasp of what they prefer.

These articles are interesting.
The truth sometimes is not what people want you to think, and questioning things is a good start to better understand them.

That said I think a few points have not been taken in count.

They speak about injuries nowadays and 30 years ago.
I believe 2009 people are actually weaker than 1970’s people, especially in our so called advanced countries.
Lifestyle has changed a lot. Our lifes have become sedentary, we stay sit for 8-10 hours a day…without moving a single muscle, almost…and then we go running or play basketball or tennis, etc.
Many more people is fatter and heavier.
Many people start running in their 30s after many years of non-active life.
Our lifestyle is “get everything and now”, so minds are ready to run but bodies maybe not.
The base of sports players and runners is wider and with many more variations than in the past.
So at the end i believe many injuries also happen for these reasons.

Modern technologies in footwear, orthotocs, training, etc offer the change to anyone to try sports or running.
When you have body problems, this chance could lead to injuries…but at the end you love sports and also accept the risk for injuries as a counterpart for the joy you have in putting that ball in that damn rim or run a sec faster than your best time, even if you had wind in your tail for all the course…:slight_smile:

Coming to bicycles I think that cost/performance ratio is well perceivable in different range of products.
I started with a 300€ road bike and my second and last one, bought 3 years later, costed 1000€.
For the type of use I did the difference was BIG. Both did the job but feel was different and safer (for last one) especially for stiffer and stronger (but also lighter) chassis (I weigh 85kg) and brakes…which are important in 70 kph downhills.
In mountain bike category this is also more noticeable, in fact due to hard use and need to wash bike after use in dirty environment, good (and for that reason more expensive) components make a big difference in terms of durabilty.
Engine is important for sure, but you also need the right bike for the use you are going to do.

MC [pietro]

Ummmm… “Air” Jordan? “It’s gotta be the shoes”?

Yes. And the difference between sporting goods other than the shoe industry is that they prove perfomance gains.

I definitely won’t bike farther or hit the ball better… and did you really think those would make you jump from a comical character jokingly saying “Its got to be the shoes?”? Wow. OK I guess… so there’s this bridge in Brooklyn I got, you interested in buying it? Maybe some beach front property in Idaho?

Seriously though. Cushioning technologies tend to be about consistent cushioning feel…Which they do. EVA foams feel great, but break down quickly. Tested cushioning response on all of those technologies is far more consistent than foam. In my opinion, foam has a better initial feel and faster break in, and if you get new shoes frequently and are a heavy user (ie, marathon runner) I think foam is a good choice. There are specific measurable that all of these technologies are tested to. They all do something… you still can’t dunk though.

To get back to the article, if you run improperly long enough, you will hurt yourself… just you have cruise control on, doesn’t mean you can unbuckle your seat belt and crack open a beer.

No. I work in the bicycle industry from time to time, and there is absolutely nothing regarding efficiency that can be proven. Sure you can claim to be lighter than another, have a stiffer bottom bracket than another, have less resistant wheels than another, but there are so many things out of your control you simply cannot prove performance gains based on price.

As you know, any given performance can be measured in watts and if the athelete is performing at 100%, that wattage is absolute. $5,000 will get you 50mm Zipps and 1-2kg less than the $1,000 bike.

Less weight + more aero = a measurerable gain in performance as long as the atheletes are equal (please don’t compare a cat1 to a cat5).

Unless of course, the laws of physics don’t hold in your neck of the woods.

Because a particular ad campaign does not work on you or I does not mean it is ineffective with its claim. Are you going to argue advertising and branding are ineffective? When people see the icon of Jordan floating in Nike shoes people aren’t buying the connection?

Nike can’t make a direct claim because you and I know it is BS and it is hocus-pocus nonsense. And if you would read the article in the OP, that is their point, Nike is selling hopes and dreams which has nothing to do wiith reality.

And BTW, you don’t think a larger head driver will out drive a small head one? Do you live near NURB where physics don’t work well?

There is no claim there. The man can dunk. A comercial for his shoe should not show him dunking? Seriously?

This has nothing to do with belief.

I KNOW my golf swing sucks. It sucks with a cheap club, and it sucks with an expensive club. I also know that Tiger Woods could beat me on the course with only a 5 wood, a rusty 9 iron, and a crooked putter… with one arm tied behind his back. The shoes can dunk as much as an Agassi pro tennis racquet can hit a smoking hot serve… when used by someone with ability… do I want the racquet? Maybe. Do I believe I can hit that serve? No.

Lets talk about where you live. The land of not getting it.

Alright then, what about 50mm Zipps vs. Bontrager Race wheels in a cross wind? Zipps have more surface area than standard rims and the spoke size and count is about the same. My $1000 bike would be better suited in this case.

Of course this is all irrelevant because the basis of the argument here is that all of this data is subjective. I’ve seen plenty of people lose races on expensive bikes, and plenty of people win on “cheap” bikes. It’s the user not the equipment.

The physics must not have been working so well there NURB.

Chiming in about the more expensive bicycle going farther…

Yes, it will.

You could also argue faster, but I’ll leave that one alone.

If X person is able to perform at Y efficiency for Z amount of time, decreasing the weight of the bicycle and providing better components that are more efficient will allow that user to travel a greater distance. I’m also treating the person like a machine here. There is no adrenaline involved, competitive edge. Just a number of output the human can create on either bike. If that number stays the same, the bike will go farther.

It’s like how a gallon of gas will provide a greater distance for a 500lbs vehicle than a 3,000lbs car/truck. The person is the one gallon, a non-variable number, and the weight of the vehicle will determine what that gallon can do. Obviously we’re talking similar engines as well. Just an example.

As far as the golf club…

Yes, it will.

The materials and technology for the more expensive club will provide a better impact for the ball, sending it farther. Hit a golfball with a rolled up piece of carpet, or hit it with a wood club. Now design that striking point via materials and technology, and it will go farther.

I don’t have any comments on the sneaker discussion though. Interesting to read through though.

Yes, as you have written it is all true. But what if one of the high end parts I’m using is an Easton EC90 carbon stem? If you read the fine print in the warranty information it recommends replacing the stem after a certain number of hours. Now, that’s an expensive stem that might be found on a $5000 bike. But if your stem breaks, the guy on the $1000 bike has an alloy stem that is not going anywhere, so he wins.

Of course my physics might be turned off in the land of make believe.

While the math might make sense in the lab, it doesn’t in the field. Go to an expensive pro shop and ask them to test drivers. I did, and I also took my father in law who is a scratch golfer (a for real scratch golfer). Neither of us saw any consistent measurable difference in our driving ranges.

Sorry, I have to get back to suing ‘guitar hero’ for not in fact making me a guitar hero. Garage Band, your next, and I know Steve J got some deep pockets!

Trust me, I agree.

I’m just playing devil’s advocate I suppose.

I like my moderately priced ($under $2k) hardtail mountain bike, it has everything I need. And no carbon parts that will break or stab me on the trail.

with this bike I am blasting by and getting over obstacles of other people on the trail with $5k bikes.

How can you trust them that that’s how many hours until you need to replace it? Is it not an expensive part to replace? Would they not want you to buy a new one? If they made one that never needed replacing would that be less profitable for them? Would it be better for the customer to have a lifetime product? Do you think it’s fair to charge more for a product that needs replacing? What happens to the old stem?

Products do not need to be more expensive to last longer, they need to be designed to do so. So the carbon stem is a bit lighter, big deal, train harder.