By Anja Trenkwalder
Elm Staff Writer
Not everyone is able and willing to spend a fortune on athletic shoes, and the good news is you don’t have to. When it comes to purchasing athletic shoes, the you get what you pay for rule is only true to a certain extent. There are great options for any budget. The trick is to identify what you want the shoe to do. If you want the shoe to stay nice throughout long periods of heavy use I recommend investing in a high quality pair. If you prefer having several pairs of athletic shoes for different purposes, like one for running, one for the gym, one for soccer, etc., or don’t mind replacing your footwear more frequently, inexpensive pairs may do the trick for you just as well.
Small Budget (under $50):
There are many nice, inexpensive options on the market. The trick is to know how to get them: There are two things to consider when aiming to score a cheap but good athletic shoe: when to buy and where to buy.
1.) When it comes to timing, it is best to wait for the big sales that happen frequently throughout the year: Summer Sale, Winter Sale, Black Friday, Post-Christmas Sales, Presidents’ Day Sale, the list goes on and on. Don’t shy away from the clearance sections, either.
2.) My recommendation is to check out the sales sections of medium price range stores. One easy way to get your hands on an amazing pair of shoes for a cheap price is shopping at department stores, like Century 21 where they offer even high-end designer pieces for reduced prices. Check their amazing offers out online at www.c21stores.com. Simply type “athletic shoes” into the search bar and you should be good to go. Century 21 prides itself on giving discounts up to 65 percent on designer items and frequently offers well-known name brands like Nike and Adidas shoes for a fraction of their original price.
Medium Budget ($50-$100)
Most good quality brands of athletic footwear that are currently on the market will fall into this price range. $50-$100 will buy you a nice and durable pair of shoes and allow you get to pick from a large selection of options.
I am personally a big fan of Sketchers (www.sketchers.com; most pairs are about $60-80). They have wonderful running shoes with stylish designs fit for everyday wear. Their shoes are made of very soft, yet high-quality materials that are comfortable to wear and you can choose from several categories to fit your individual preferences. The list includes shoes designed for running, walking, toning footwear, ones that come with a memory-foam sole, ergonometric shoes, ones that glow in the dark (made for running at night) as well as general athletic shoes.
An additional plus is that Sketchers are incredibly durable. I have had my own pair of black running shoes from Sketchers for over 10 months and use them regularly at least five times a week yet they still look and feel almost like new.
Another good brand that falls into the higher end of this price range is Nike (www.nike.com). They have plenty of options below $100 (and also some above $100) and offer excellent quality shoes for any kind of athletic activity.
Big Budget (above $100)
The closer you get to the high end the more special features and unique designs you will get. Many brands even offer to customize your shoes for you according to your individual preferences.
One brand that does individual customizing is New Balance (www.newbalance.com). They offer a wide selection of footwear for any kind of athletic activity that combines high quality and beautiful designs.
Another brand that is way on top in the design department is ASICS (www.asicsamerica.com). Their wide selection of colors fits any style, and the quality is amazing as well. I have had very good running experiences with the “Gel-Nimbus 16” (sells for $150), which is comfortable beyond compare.
If you are willing to make the investment make sure the shoe fits you really well. Nothing is more annoying than spending a ton of money on a stylish pair that ends up hurting.
In addition, Adidas (www.adidas.com) sells wonderful quality, and they score with their simple and classic designs that are ideal for every-day wear. You will pay about $140-160 for a pair that will remain like new for a very long time.
Regardless of your price range, before choosing your ideal pair it is essential to know your size. Most stores can measure your feet for free, and the sales staff will be happy to help you select a shoe that really fits the shape of your foot. Be smart and take the offer – ill-fitting shoes can easily lead to injury or may significantly impair your athletic performance.