RunRepeat.com, an independent site that features user-generated reviews of running shoes, recently explored the data from 134,867 shoe reviews on its site to closer examine the relationship between favorable reviews and the price of shoes.
The results are interesting: Of the 391 running shoes from 24 brands reviewed on their site, the trend line suggests that expensive running shoes get lower ratings than more affordable ones. In the most extreme examples, the 10 most expensive running shoes (generally $175 and up) received an average rating of 79, while the 10 most affordable running shoes ($65 and under) got an average rating of 86.
Why would that be?
“One might expect that if a runner buys an expensive shoe, he will have higher expectations for the quality of the shoe and therefore he will more easily get disappointed,” writes Jens Jakob Anderson, founder of RunRepeat. “True, the more you spend, the more you expect. Though, the list price should reflect expectations. If you spend more on a running shoe, you would logically expect to get a better product.”
Anderson also acknowledges that reviews, although plentiful and user-generated, are aggregated only from his site, which attracts a certain type of runner. “That being said, we still believe our conclusion is right, and that the potential biases have not influenced the data in any very significant direction,” he said.
The most extreme example was Skechers, which had the lowest average price of shoes reviewed on RunRepeat, while also having the highest ratings. In all, the highest-rated shoes on RunRepeat are Skechers, Saucony and Vibram FiveFingers. In total, running shoes from running specialist brands are rated 2.8 percent higher than running shoes from brands that do more than just running shoes, like Nike or adidas.
You can view all the findings here.