Are Expensive Running Shoes Worth It?

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Expensive Running Shoes

So you say those $200 running shoes in your closet are well worth the money? A new study says maybe not.

A sampling of more than 134,000 customer reviews showed that paying more for a running shoe did not necessarily equate to higher customer satisfaction and perceived performance.

In fact, the results showed quite the opposite.

The study from looked at reviews of 391 models of running shoes from 24 brands and found that the most expensive running shoes were rated worse than the least expensive shoes.

The graph below shows the average rating versus the price of the shoe, reflecting a negative correlation between price and customer satisfaction. While the ratio isn't dramatic, it's enough to raise suspicions on whether you should drop some serious change on your next pair of shoes.

Price vs Rating

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The study also looked at brand ratings and found similar results to those with individual shoe models as noted above. The graph below shows declining ratings for more expensive brands, including low ratings for popular brands such as HOKA ONE ONE, New Balance, Mizuno and Asics.

Brand Matrix

In another category, looked at running-specific brands (i.e., Asics, Newton, Brooks) versus general sports brands (i.e. Nike, Adidas, Reebok), and found there was only a slight advantage for running-specific brands—performing 2.8 percent better than shoes from general sports brands.

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Of course, every study has its potential biases that can influence the outcomes. cites a higher expectation for better results when someone purchases expensive running shoes. So when a runner is anything less than extremely satisfied with the shoes, there is more room for disappointment.

The site also notes that its website — where the data was collected — "attracts a certain type of runner," potentially leading to biased results (in either direction).

Read the full study on Still curious about which running shoes to buy? Check out their ranking of the best-rated running shoes.

What do you think about these results? Will they impact your next running shoe purchase? Let us know by tweeting us @active.

More: 2015 Fall Running Shoe Guide

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