My sneakers + How to buy active shoes

I present to you, my beloved sneakers.

Aren’t they pretty?

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve had them for over a year now, and I don’t remember the name of the model. Just that they are by Merrell.

I really like Merrell! This is no sponsored post, I just admire the company a lot. When I worked one of my last retail jobs, I sold a lot of Merrell products, and I always liked how they made technical stuff that doesn’t look too techy. If The North Face makes vintage-looking products that wear well on a casual camping trip, Merrell’s stuff wears well on your commute to work, or anywhere else in the city.

Anyway – these are my sneaks. I bought them last April as one of those quick decisions. Like, I wasn’t even intending on buying shoes that day, but I saw them and went “YASSS.” How could I not? Do you see that combination of yellow and turquoise? Gorgeous.

They appealed to me for a few reasons. One being that they’re just a nice, light shoe. The shoes I had before these guys were big, clunky running/hiking hybrid shoes that honestly discouraged me from working out a bit, being so heavy and awkward. I needed a pair of shoes that would keep me light on my feet and breathe better than the old ones. These do the trick.

Second, of course, the colours. Listen, it’s not 1998 anymore and we have the technology to create a sneaker that is both beautiful and powerful. So why must dad sneakers continue to exist? I embrace the movement for aesthetically pleasing footwear fully and welcomed these shoes into my life with open arms.

And finally, the cost. These were under $100 if I remember right, and depending on the brand you want or the budget you have to stay within, sneakers are anywhere from $50 to $200. Some people get put off by the cost of good shoes, but remember that good shoes are an investment! They are the things you walk on, and walking is one of your essential skills. Good shoes will reward you big time.

So as a seasoned professional of the athletic shoe business, I can tell you a few things:

  • The more a shoe costs, its likely the higher in quality it is. But if a shoe is the exact same as another except for a slight price difference, it’s probably because one shoe has a waterproof treatment. That sounds like it might be better, but not always. I can tell you right now that your hiking boots probably should have waterproofing like Gore-tex if they’re all season, but if you’re buying summer hiking boots, or just running shoes, you can probably get away with no waterproofing system embedded right into the fabric – just waterproof by hand with wax.
  • Also, shoes tend to cost more if they have a name brand waterproofing system like Gore-tex, but almost every outdoor brand on the market has its own system that works just like Gore-tex does. If you buy the shoe with the brand’s own waterproofing, you’ll probably save a few dollars.
  • Some brands run smaller or bigger than a usual shoe size. My feet fit anything between a 6 and a 8 depending on the brand. So you never know until you try!
  • If the store sells merino wool socks, do yourself a favour and buy them to wear with your shoes. You really feel the difference between normal socks and merino wool, your feet stay cooler and dryer when you wear them working out! But try to buy socks with padding on the soles of the feet – learn from my experience, they will wear out fast if you don’t have extra cushion on the bottom.
  • It seems daunting to imagine dropping over $100 on a pair of shoe, but think of it this way: if you have to buy name $50 shoes every year, soon enough you’ll be spending the same amount on 4 pairs of shoes in 4 years that you could have on one $200 pair that will likely last even longer than 4 years. Again, worth the investment.
  • Do your research, and know the return policies and warranties of brands you want to buy from. Most companies will reimburse you if there is a genuine defect in the product, but they don’t cover regular wear and tear, of course. Oh, and when they say “lifetime warranty,” that means the lifetime of the product, not your lifetime. Most people you deal with from the company will be fair about what they consider defective and what they consider the product breaking down naturally.
  • Finally, if the stores in your city don’t have a good selection of colours in the model of shoe you like, you can try it on for size, and ship it to your house online. Or the store may be willing to ship in the colour for you if they can. Remember, the employees know a lot of about fitting the shoe well and getting you the product you want, ask them for favours nicely and they will get you what you need.

Go forth! Find some nice shoes for all the running!


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