Are Expensive Sneakers Really Better?

A cheap pair of running shoes might suit you as well as an expensive pair, a new study finds. Which brands are rated best?

Are Expensive Sneakers Really Better? Photo (cc) by Elvert Barnes

A cheap pair of running shoes might suit you as well as an expensive pair.

That’s what the running shoe review website RunRepeat.com found by analyzing nearly 135,000 consumer reviews it gathered over a year.

Higher prices were associated with lower ratings in many cases. The 10 most expensive pairs, which had an average list price of $181, were rated 8.1 percent lower than the 10 cheapest pairs, which had an average price of $61.

RunRepeat.com founder Jens Jakob Andersen tells the Washington Post:

“If money is a matter to you, you will not get more in expensive running shoes. Affordable mid-range running shoes are very nearly the same as expensive running shoes.”

According to RunRepeat.com, based on average user rating across brands, the top three brands are:

  • Skechers
  • Saucony
  • Vibram FiveFingers

The bottom three brands (with the worst listed first) are:

  • Reebok
  • Adidas
  • Hoka One One

Skechers had the highest average ratings and lowest prices out of 24 running shoe brands.

Andersen explains:

“What Skechers are doing great is that they don’t do the really high premium running shoes. They are the running shoe brand for moms.”

As we reported last month, Skechers now accounts for 5 percent of the sports-footwear market, which makes it the second most popular brand in the U.S., with Nike maintaining the No. 1 spot.

Do you think expensive sneakers are worth their higher prices? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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