Most of the runners start as “distance” runners as they probably want to get in shape, to lose some kilos or to “refresh their minds”.
So it is very normal that most of the runners buy their first shoe from well-known brands (depending on geographies) considering mainly price (opportunistic), cushioning capabilities and style. And depending on runner target (age, income etc.) they will focus more on style or price.
With this in mind, most of the “distance” runners they will tend to buy 50-120 EUR pairs, some with excellent style, but in my opinion heavy and not flexible enough shoes (I am a time runner…) from different brands:
- Nike: All kind of models and prices. Style became key for Nike and for some time I thought that was the only thing they were doing but finally they have decided to do a bit more…
- Adidas/Reebok: I think they are pushing to push Adidas as a Pro brand and leaving Reebok for the starting/stylish models . There are still some “heavy/cushioned” models for stylish and non
- Asics: Another global classic with great supporters. Some of their models cover from starters to serious amateurs e.g. Kayano, Nimbus
- New Balance: well balanced shoes with not too much noise but great implementations for all types of runners
- Saucony/Brooks: for runners that like to “study/compare” before buying and specially for US runners. They have excellent models for all levels e.g. Ghost 11
- Puma: lost in translation. Incredible how much marketing punch they have lost
As running is becoming more and more popular (you can rely on a friend in the office) and shoes are becoming more complex (type of feet, surface, distance etc.) and pricey most of “starters” have changed slightly their buying process. Amateurs and Serious amateurs are becoming great “business developers” with their recommendations (word of mouth) Moreover many of the runners are moving quickly to digital channels. (before they will go to shops and try for later buying online, now they are confident that they will be able to change them)
Advice on buying (more to come on this)
- Brands are starting to change their channel strategy getting greater contact with their customers (online channel, promoted activities etc.) and offer direct promotion (30% discounts in different periods and discount codes)
- Online retailers have great discounts with older models but it is less and less evident. They usually specialized in specific brands. Amazon has not been able to really beat this one. (except for On running in Spain)
- Local shops have become either clubs or “experience” shops (apple type) with limited profitability (pricey) but “great” services (footprint analysis), latest models etc. limiting the sustainability of old corner shops.
Finally more advanced “distance” runners they tend to mix with “experience” runners. As traditional distance runners, pro marathon runners may tend to run with traditional shoes (drop >8mm) experience runners tend to buy new maximalist and minimalist shoes as they have discovered new ways of running (natural way)