How to Save Money on Walking and Running Shoes

Exercise doesn't have to break your budget. Check out these tips and save some serious money on your next pair of running or walking shoes.

If you walk or run for exercise on a regular basis, you already know that one of the great benefits is that these are activities on which you don't have to spend lots of money. In fact, the main expense for walkers and runners is a good pair of shoes. Unfortunately, these are typically more expensive than a basic sneaker. Here are some tips for how to save money and spend less on walking and running shoes.

First Things First

When you first start a walking or running program, one of the first things you should do is go to a running shoe store. (This applies to walkers as well as runners.) This type of store is different from a large sporting goods chain store, and is typically staffed with runners and walkers. The employees are also often trained to look for the biomechanics of how you walk and how your foot strikes the ground. For example, the majority of the population overpronates, or rolls the foot inward, and if you're an overpronator, this will affect which shoe is the best for you.

The employees at a good running shoe store will talk to you before you start trying on shoes, and will likely ask you to walk around the store while they watch so that they can determine your foot type. They will also measure your feet (this is an important step, even if you think you already know your shoe size). Only then will they bring out shoes for you to try on. It is important to spend time on this process so that you can get the right shoe for your feet. The first time you buy walking or running shoes, it's best to spend the money on the right shoe for you. Once you find the type of shoe you need, then you can look to save money on future shoe purchases.

Savvy Shopping

When it comes time to replace your walking or running shoes (usually after about 300-500 miles), you can shop around for the best price.

1. Shop the sales. Your local store might have periodic sales; ask the employees if shoes are marked down at certain times of the year. Also, retail stores typically mark down shoes when the next model comes out. Running and walking shoes manufacturers often update their models annually, making changes based on customer feedback. When the new models hit the stores, retails are eager to get rid of their now outdated inventory. If you time your purchases right, you can save big.

2. Look for online deals. There are several online outlet stores, including Sierra Trading Post,Backcountry Outlet, and REI Outlet. These companies typically have last year's models at a heavily discounted price, and you can save as much as 50% (and sometimes more) on your favorite running or walking shoes.

3. Take a few minutes to look for a coupon code. Use your favorite search engine and type in the store name and coupon code (for example, if you're shopping at Sierra Trading Post, enter "Sierra Trading Post coupon code"). You're likely to find a few results that can save you from 10-25% (and sometimes more) on your purchase. Some stores also offer free shipping if your purchase is over a certain dollar amount.

4. Finally, don't forget about eBay. eBay can be a great source for both new and used walking and running shoes. Take the time to do some research. Make sure that you get the exact shoe (brand, model, and size, including width) that you want. Also, look at the seller's feedback to see what previous buyers have to say about their experiences with the seller. When in doubt, send the seller a question about the shoes for sale; if they're used, it's reasonable to ask how much use they've had, especially if it's not indicated in the item description. Depending on the shoe you're looking for and how well you bid, you can save more than 50% on a pair of running or walking shoes.

Walking and running shoes don't have to cost a lot of money. By following these suggestions, you'll be exercising in comfort, content in the knowledge that you saved money without breaking a sweat!