What athletic shoes are worth the bigger pricetags?
June 28, 2012 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Best all-around athletic shoes? snowflakes after the break.

I bought new athletic shoes to replace my winter pair. These new ones are Saucony outdoor-something-or-other purchased at DSW for about $50. The left foot is fine- the right shoe has left me with new blisters and some good pain... and they seem to beginning to wearing out after only three weeks.

My boyfriend has suggested that I need to purchase more expensive shoes in order to avoid them wearing so quickly (they usually last around three to five months of heavy use).

I walk at least a half hour each day doing errands on pavement- walk for pleasure for more than an hour many days. I wear them to the gym. I wear them non-stop while working at a bar. Are there really athletic shoes that can last longer than a few months under these conditions? I have been assuming that with such heavy use- spending more will just mean cuter shoes for the three months I will be wearing them. I'm just not that kind of vain.

so, hive mind- what SHOULD I be wearing for comfort and durability? Please no boots, or ballet flats or anything outside of "athletic shoes."
posted by Blisterlips to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I really love my Nike Air Rifts. I had to get on a waiting list on Zappos for them, but they're awesome running-around-town-doing-errands shoes.

They're light weight, cool, and because they have a toe split, you wear them barefoot (although you can get some tabis or special Nike Air Rift socks.

About $100 but I've had mine for 3 years.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:05 AM on June 28, 2012

I wear the (apparently old ladyesque) new balance for overpronators all the time and they are pretty rad for running and walking and life in general.
posted by elizardbits at 9:05 AM on June 28, 2012

All the people I know who both work on their feet and wear the same shoes everywhere else where New Balances. Usually around $50 or less from Shopko.
posted by jillithd at 9:09 AM on June 28, 2012

*ahem* wear
posted by jillithd at 9:12 AM on June 28, 2012

Walking for an hour a day on pavement wears out shoes pretty fast. Are you wearing through the bottom of the shoe or are they just kind of falling apart? If it's the bottom of the shoe this probably won't help, but if they're falling apart try getting two pairs of shoes and letting them dry out in between uses (alternate days, or wear a different pair to work or whatever).

Also if you've bought trail shoes, sometimes the soles of trail shoes wear out faster than the soles of road shoes, because they're not really intended for heavy use on pavement.
posted by mskyle at 9:22 AM on June 28, 2012

you could go to a running store, the sort of fancy place that will put you on a treadmill and measure your gait and all the angles of your feet, etc, you might benefit from some expert advice if one shoe has wear so different than the other.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:33 AM on June 28, 2012

In terms of durability, I think that more important than any particular brand or model your first step is to look for shoes with all-leather uppers. Leather is just so much more durable than fabric. In the "athletic shoe" range, you are more likely to find all-leather construction in shoes marketed as walking shoes or cross-trainers.
posted by drlith at 9:39 AM on June 28, 2012

Response by poster: UPDATE-

they wear out on the heal- specifically the outside edges of the heal.
posted by Blisterlips at 9:49 AM on June 28, 2012

Are you wearing the same pair of shoes every day for all that walking around? Because that will wear them out lickety-split even if you drop $$$ on good shoes. Alternating shoes is good for your shoes and your feet.
posted by rtha at 9:51 AM on June 28, 2012

Best answer: Years ago, a friend of mine would cover the bottoms of his running shoes with a quarter-inch layer of Shoe Goo. When that wore through he'd add another layer. Dramatically extended the life of the shoes.
posted by chazlarson at 9:58 AM on June 28, 2012

I have a few pairs of Puma H-Streets that are great for doing everything you seem to be looking for. I find them really comfortable and they also look pretty neat.

I would suggest that you get more than 1 pair to rotate them out so they wear down a lot less. My two pairs lasted me about 7-8 months before they finally died, though I do keep a pair of running shoes that do nothing but gym and working out so these two pairs were purely for daily use: walking around, errands, job.
posted by astapasta24 at 10:05 AM on June 28, 2012

I would pick up a pair of New Balance or Asics. Sounds like you strike the ground pretty hard with the outer part of your heel first (not unusual) so something with more cushioning in that area is probably going to be better for you. Look specifically at these models (there might be others, but I'm familiar with these):

Asics Gel 1170
Asics Gel Cirrus 33
Asics Gel Nimbus
Asics GT 2170

New Balance 1080
New Balance 880
posted by Jacob G at 10:23 AM on June 28, 2012

I don't have any experience with wearing out on the heel specifically with sneakers (more with high heels), but as a runner and hiker a higher price hasn't correlated to any physical benefits, besides it being a more fancy fabric or unique colored pair of sneakers.

As for a specific brand, I've always bought New Balances for no specific reason for as long as I can remember and never had a problem. Then I moved to a foreign country which didn't sell New Balance, so I bought a pair of Reeboks (blisters), then switched to a pair of Nikes (which causes insane calluses), then back to a pair of Reeboks (same problems), and finally gave in and ordered a pair of New Balances off of Ebay with some INSANE international shipping.

They do tend to be less stylish and more old lady as mentioned by someone above, but New Balance just seem to have a lot more cushion or support at the outer and inner edges of the foot. I've never had to pay attention to what model # 6xx or 7xx whatever and they've always been fine, at least for my feet.
posted by peachtree at 10:25 AM on June 28, 2012

You might try going to a specialized shoe store and telling them about what you actually do in the shoes; there's a distinction between running shoes and walking shoes, and it sounds like what you actually want is walking shoes, rather than running shoes. Walking shoes will not only provide more appropriate support for what you're doing, but should also last longer, because they're designed differently.
posted by dizziest at 11:42 AM on June 28, 2012

I started wearing these again last year and am very pleased. For a hundred bucks you can get two pairs and they come in different colors so you could easily keep track of which pair hasn't been worn since the day before yesterday. For me the sizing runs a half size above normal. (I am size 8.5 and wear the size 8 in this model.)
posted by bukvich at 6:01 PM on June 28, 2012

My Merrell Sonic Gloves are probably the most versatile shoes I own. They look relatively smart with jeans, you can trail & road run in them reasonably comfortably, hike in them, they are somewhat water resistant, and very hard wearing due to the lack of padding on the sole. They'd also make pretty good gym shoes.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:54 PM on June 28, 2012

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