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Pricey Running Shoes Not Worth It: Study
Date:10/10/2007

hristina noted. "It would have been interesting to have the subjects run a certain length of time, a certain schedule of months or a year, and then compare how the cushioning held up."

Another expert agreed, and added that fit -- not price tag -- should remain the most important consideration when selecting shoes.

The study's methodology "didn't tell me if the shoes are appropriate for a particular runner," said Dr. Gerard Varlotta, director of sports rehabilitation at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, part of New York University Medical Center.

"You have to not look at the price but look at the sneaker itself," he said. "Is someone who runs 300 miles a week the same as someone who runs 3 miles a week?"

Bruce Wilk is a physical therapist, a former board member of the American Medical Athletic Association and owner of the Runner's High, a Miami store catering to avid runners. He said too many runners just try on a few sneakers in a store without giving them a "test run."

They "often spend money on something that just doesn't fit," he said. "New shoes always feel 'comfortable' -- if it doesn't dig in or squeeze my foot, then, hey, it's comfortable. But when they have a real good run in it, and you teach them what to look for, that's a whole other thing."

To that end, Wilk has customers run in a variety of sneakers on a treadmill before they pick the shoe they think is right for them.

As for cost, Wilk agreed that "at $80 versus $200, there really may not be a big advantage at all. It's just how the shoe feels to the beholder."

Varlotta agreed. "You don't have to go to the most expensive [shoe] to get something that's adequate for your needs," he said, "just like you don't need a Bentley to get a nice smooth ride."

More information

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