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Study: Running Shoe Discounts are Plentiful Online

The running industry has changed greatly in recent years, including and especially in the way that runners buy shoes., an independent site focused on running shoes, recently did an extensive study on running shoe prices online compared to brick-and-mortar stores.

The conclusion of 183,911 running shoe prices indicates that more than 86 percent of running shoes are offered at a price below MSRP online—discounts ranging from less than 1 percent to 70 percent and up.

The full study explores many different angles to shoe-pricing, from discounts by brand, by online retailer, by positive/negative reviews, by shoe weight, by the amount of discount for current models versus year-old models, and many others.

RunRepeat founder Jens Jakob Andersen, who has a background in statistics, collected prices of 183,911 shoes on March 1, 3 and 6. This included 2,436 running shoes (1,508 of which were current versions) from 36 different brands.

At Competitor, we believe runners should shop at local, independent running shops whenever possible, both because that’s where the soul of running lives and thrives and because those running shops are engaged in your local running community through the support of local races, schools and training groups. We’ve also pointed out the pros and cons of buying inexpensive running shoes just for take sake of getting a better deal.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Your Should Shop at Running Specialty Shops

Unfortunately, the running industry isn’t making it easy on independent running specialty shops. While most retail running stores keep prices at MSRP, online stores offer discounts on most running shoes—an average of 38 percent off. Brands with the highest discounts online include Scott, Reebok and Skechers.

“Running shoe brands ensure high retail prices through cartel-like price structures. Their contracts ensures that brick and mortar stores keep prices at the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP),” the study says. “Luckily to the consumer, prices on the internet are a bit harder to control.”

Some other tidbits from the study:

  • Trail running shoes are, on average, about 6.6 percent more expensive than road shoes.
  • The more arch support you need, the more expensive the shoe.
  • On average, the MSRP increases $5.60 for every ounce heavier the running shoe is. On the flip side, heavier running shoes are more discounted.
  • There is no difference in MSRP, price or discount for different heel-to-toe drops.

RELATED: Sole Man—The Pros and Cons of Buying Inexpensive Shoes

There are some things to keep in mind with this study. Oftentimes, the best deals online are only available in particular sizes. Only the largest 41 U.S. online retailers were studied, and MSRP for current models is assumed in the case of brick-and-mortar stores.

You can check out the entire, extensive study here.

RELATED: Do More Expensive Running Shoes Get Better Reviews?