Are more expensive running shoes better?
What does an expensive pair of running shoes have over the lower cost pair? Does it provide us with better plantar support, is it much more durable or are we just paying for the brand name?
We do a fair bit of running, and we tend to run through our running shoes quite quickly (pun intended). Going through somewhere between 2 – 3 pairs a year, and as expected we tend to gravitate towards the more expensive pairs. However just the other week, during one of the regular running sessions, one of the runners turned up with a lower-cost pair of running shoes. He said, it felt just as comfortable as his previous overly priced pair. He wasn’t running any slower, didn’t feel any soreness after the run; he was just fine.
Well there was an article* published in the British Journal of Sport Medicine which did some studies on that. It investigated to determine if more expensive running shoes provide better cushioning of plantar pressure and are more comfortable than low-cost alternatives from the same brand. The results were that low and medium cost running shoes in each of the three brands which they tested provided the same (if not better) cushioning of plantar pressure as high cost running shoes. So there you go, just because the shoe is more expensive doesn’t mean its better.
Actually, what’s more important than price is how a shoe fits. Low and medium cost running shoes can fit just as well as their expensive counterparts. In fact, an expensive pair of shoes, if not properly fitted can be detrimental to your feet.
So how much will you now pay for your next pair of running shoes?
* Abstract of article available at http://bjsm.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/bjsm.2007.038844v1