Running Shoes Buying Habits: Results from our Survey (plus Infographic)

2,571 readers told us about their running shoes buying habits. Let's see if anything stands out.

At the end of 2017 we surveyed our visitors to find out some of their running habits and preferences. More than 2,500 people completed the survey and that left us with a mountain of extremely interesting data.

Who likes what?

In our previous analysis of this data we found out that the favourite brand of running shoes for our readers is Asics, with Brooks and Nike fighting closely for the other spots on the podium.

Favorite brand of running shoes

favorite brand of running shoes

Competition is fierce as the visitors of our website showed us that they tend to appreciate a multitude of brands.

Though Asics and Brooks reign supreme for the moment, other brands have their portion of fans that keep things interesting as the race is on for the most popular brand.

But is this true for all runners? Does their age influence their running shoe preference? What about the number of miles they run per week, or their favourite race? And what does influence runners’ choice of shoes? Is it the brand, recommendations from friends, reviews?

We have all the answers and we are ready to share.

Note: If anybody wants to use this data or charts on their websites, feel free to do so – just credit us as the source. And if you want a summary of this article in an infographic, you will find it at the end of this article.

Clash of the generations

From the hunt for looks to sheer functionality, the purchase of the ideal running shoe is constantly changing with age.

Nike and New Balance lead the choice for the under 20, with Nike at a staggering 38%.

Once reaching the 20-40 age bracket, arguably the so called millenials, Nike starts to leave some room to what are perceived as more technical brands such as Asics, Brooks and Saucony.

Favorite brand of running shoe by age

favorite brand of running shoes by age

We observe that Nike reigns supreme up to the age of thirty as top choice registering a significant decrease as the runner gets older and may be more oriented to functional benefits and a more optimal price/ quality ratio gladly sacrificing brand appeal.

Adidas gains popularity after the age of 30 as a more mature functional fashion statement but loses it after the user reaches the age of 40 and turns his eyes to brands like Brooks and Hoka One One.

Asics seems to be preferred more among the people in their third decade of life though there is no significant variation to support this fact.

We also looked at how long people were running for, and if that influenced their choice of footwear.

No significant correlation with the runners’ experience as those who have been running for more than 5 years tend to manifest similar preferences to those who have been running for less than 5 years.

The only significant difference is that inexperienced runners tend to prefer Nike more, but this can be attributed to their age rather than running experience alone.

As for timetable patterns, Adidas fans tend to be more evening runners (27%) rather then afternoon as opposed to the morning-oriented Brooks (58%) and Saucony (54%) fans.

Favorite brand of running shoes by average weekly mileage

favorite brand of running shoes by weekly mileage

Asics is the favourite choice both of runners that run less than 10 miles a week (think running 5k three times a week) and people who run 11 to 25 miles (which is the kind of mileage for somebody who wants to run a 5k or a 10k).

Nike is the second-best choice for the recreational runners but slides down to 4th position in both the 11-25 and 26-40 miles per week group. It does lead the 40+ group though.

This may be attributed to Nike recently releasing extremely successful racing shoes (Zoom Fly, Vaporfly 4%, Speed Rival, Zoom Elite…) especially when runners run more than 40 or 50 miles per week mostly when preparing for a race.

Adidas is the 5th favourite brand in the first 3 mileage groups but it makes a great comeback in the 40+ group. I do believe the reason is similar to the reason Nike is first in this category: how renowned and popular their racing shoes are.

Other findings:

  • 64% of the runners that prefer Altra run more than 26 miles a week, with 24% running 40+ miles.
  • All “Puma” fans run less than 25 miles a week.
  • Brooks are preferred by women (20%) rather than men (13%).
  • Female runners are more committed to a brand than male ones, with only 3% of them having no preference as opposed to 5% in males.

What do runners look for, when buying a new pair?

Comfort is the most sought after characteristic people look for when purchasing a new pair of running shoes as one out of three respondents (38%) stated. One in four (26%) tend to place most importance on their personal experience with that brand. One in six respondents (17%) is guided by reviews while the rest tend to be guided by brand (7%), recommendations (5%), price (4%) and style (1%).

running shoes criteria wordcloud

This is good news. Comfort should always be your first concern when choosing a pair of running shoes. But also, your own experience. If you know you feel well in a certain brand or in a certain style of shoes you should put that information high up in your buying criteria.

We’re certainly happy to see reviews at number 3 and it does match with our experience: people usually refer to their own experience and then look for reviews to find information about a new release of their favorite model or for similar shoes in other brands.

All other criteria get a mention, but we are honestly surprised (and pleased) to see “style” to be the last one.

For runners that run less than 10 miles a week, reviews are more relevant than own experience. This makes a lot of sense: when we are looking at possibly beginner runners, they won’t have much experience to draw on.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, runners that run 40+ miles a week, value their own experience more than comfort.

Gender analysis sees women put significantly more importance on comfort (47%) as opposed to men (35%) and tend to value reviews much less (7%) as compared to males(20%).

Almost half of Hoka ONE ONE fans (46%) are comfort seekers which supports the migration of older segments to this brand known for the maximal cushioning.

Amount willing to spend on a new pair of running shoes

running shoes price

In general, almost half of respondents (47%) tend to put aside between $80 and $120 for buying a new pair of running shoes while more than half (55%) of those who guide their purchase mostly based on the price tag will buy them if they fall into $40 – $80 category.

That means either they don’t buy the top of the line shoe or they wait until a shoe is on sale before buying it. Or both, possibly.

Whatever the reason, it’s a valid choice. There are a few good running shoes out there for less than $80 and many great shoes will drop to that price range once they are replaced by a new version.

Unsurprisingly, nobody in this group purchased a shoe for more than $180.

We spent quite some time looking at the correlation between the price paid and the brand of choice, but we did not find anything worth of note. The same findings were common across all brands of running shoes.

The group that – proportionally – purchased more in the less than $40 range is the group that runs less than 10 miles a week. Wild guess: they are not buying proper running shoes.

The groups that runs between 11 and 25 miles a week and the 26-40 miles group purchase most often shoes between $80 and 120, while the 40+ miles a week has the highest peaks between $40 and $100.

Infographic

We condensed the most important info in the infographic below. Feel free to use it in your own publications, but please remember to cite us as the source of the data and to link back to this article!

Running Shoes Guru Infographic - Survey v2


This concludes our second deep dive into the results of the runners’ survey. Does this information match your own experience? Does it seem strange to you? Please leave a comment!

The next article in this series will talk about racing preferences!

If you missed the first article, you can find it here.

Thank you for reading!




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