Why Now Is the Best Time to Find Running Shoes on Sale

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Running seems like a cheap sport (you just need shoes!) until you actually go shoe shopping. Basic models are well over $100 new, and their cushioning breaks down after a few hundred miles. It’s not unusual to go through a few pairs a year if you run a lot, and all of that adds up. So how can you save a few bucks on running shoes?

Of course, you can search for deals at any time—there’s usually something being discounted no matter when you look, as RunRepeat points out in their calendar analysis. But runners have often noted that, if you want a specific shoe on sale, it’s worth watching the schedule of new releases. New shoe models tend to be introduced in the spring, making right now an excellent time to snag discontinued models.

Save money by buying last year’s model

Just like cars, running shoes come in a make (Asics), model (Gel Nimbus) and, well, there is usually a number at the end of the name instead of a model year: Asics Gel Nimbus 26. Shoes are updated every year or two, depending on the model; the long-running Nike Pegasus is up to version 40.

And just as with cars, you can often snag a deal at the end of the model year when sellers get rid of their old stock to make room for the newcomers. You can follow websites like Runner’s World or Sole Review to check out which models are being updated and when they are scheduled to launch. But an even simpler way to keep up on shoe seasons is just to check the “new arrivals” section on your local running store’s website, or sign up for their newsletter.

For example, since the Asics Gel Nimbus 26 was just released for $160, you can bet that the Asics Gel Nimbus 25 is available much more cheaply. At the time of this writing, most of the color/size combinations are going for around $120—that’s a 25% discount.

That’s a pretty typical bargain, but you can do even better if you shop around—and if you don’t mind choosing your shoes based on the cheapest price rather than the prettiest colors.

By the way, that issue of selection is a good reason to shop now rather than waiting. As the summer wears on, you may find deeper discounts on last year’s model, but you’ll also have fewer options. Sizes sell out, too. Here’s a perfect example: the Asics Gel Nimbus 24 (that’s two models back) is going for just $84.95. The catch is that you have to wear either a men’s size 8 or 10, and you have to find the neon tie-dye spatter pattern with palm trees (?!?) charming, or at least tolerable.

Here are some more deals on popular running shoes

There are too many running shoes to list all the deals, but I’d like to highlight some prime examples where a shoe was recently released, causing the previous version to go for a much cheaper price. (Release dates below are based on what companies or publications announced earlier this spring, and may or may not be the actual release date. You get the idea, though.)

  • The Hoka Mach 6 was released in March for $139.99, and you can now find the Hoka Mach 5 for $109.99 (women’s) or $111.99 (men’s).

  • The Brooks Glycerin 21 was released in February for $160, and the Brooks Glycerin 20 is now available for $99.95 in some sizes and styles (women’s, men’s).

  • The Brooks Ghost 16 was released in May for $140, and the Brooks Ghost 15 is now available for $109.95 (women’s, men’s)

  • The Saucony Triumph 22 was released in May for $160. I’m already seeing the Saucony Triumph 21 go for around $120-$130, and even lower for some colors. Here are listings for a women’s model at $115.95 and a men’s model for $92.56.

But beware shoes that are too old

If you’re going to shop discontinued models, there are a few pitfalls you should know about. One is that the foam in a pair of shoes will degrade while it sits on the shelf. This isn’t a problem if you’re buying a model that was just discontinued—those should be fine. But if you find shoes that are two or three model numbers back, they probably won’t last as long as new ones. (The price might still make them worthwhile even with the shortened lifespan, but consider yourself warned.)

The same concern applies if you’re buying last year’s model as a backup, and planning to stash it in your closet until your current shoes break down. Consider how long it will be until you actually use the shoes, and decide accordingly. While you’re at it, apply the same logic to any gently-used shoes you might find on eBay or Poshmark.

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