What's the best place to buy general-purpose sneakers?
April 21, 2016 2:30 PM   Subscribe

I've been coasting for a while on a pair of shoes bought about two years ago, but they're starting to show their wear. I have very little experience shopping for shoes and don't have the slightest idea what my options are. Durability is important, since I spend most of my time in one pair of shoes. Online is fine; Chicago-based is also good. I'm fine with national brands and local.
posted by LSK to Shopping (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Go to zappos and buy a couple of pairs of Sauconys in whatever style/colors suit you. I like the Bullets. Send back the ones that don't fit right.

I love Saucony because they come in a billion colors, are super lightweight so are great for city walking, are reasonably priced, and they're not really gendered in any particular way.
posted by phunniemee at 2:35 PM on April 21, 2016 [6 favorites]

I have various places I buy shoes based on whim and how bad I need them, but a few go-to brands I like which tend to be widely available. I try to have a good sense of what size I take in these brands, and my preference in terms of color, style, and how much I'm willing to pay. Then, when I need a new pair, I can just plug "WHITE LOW-TOP CONVERSE SIZE 8.5" into zappos and they'll be here in a few days. Or if I'm out shopping I can go to DSW or Urban Outfitters or basically wherever and pick them up without needing to try on a million pairs or even really think about it.

For what it's worth, I've had better luck switching between a few pairs of almost identical shoes. I swear they last longer that way. But, yeah, because I know I like certain styles/brands I just buy extra of the same shoe.
posted by Sara C. at 2:50 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I bought a pair of hiking shoes (not boots) for a hiking trip and they replaced sneakers as my default non-work shoes. They're pretty much sneakers made better (but less fashionable). I did this for two reasons: they are fully waterproof and their treads don't slip on anything. This means I can wear them in pretty much any weather without worry. I ended cutting up the uppers on some sharp rocks on another hiking trip so they are only waterproof up to the cuts now, which still means I can walk through most puddles without fear, but when I replace them it'll be with another pair of something similar.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:52 PM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

Strong second for Saucony Originals via Zappos. There are two people in my household and we've got seven pairs between us. Very affordable, lots of options, last forever.
posted by something something at 2:55 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ha, also came here to recommend Saucony via Zappos.
posted by lizzicide at 3:17 PM on April 21, 2016

Merrell hiking shoes. With leather uppers and vibrant soles. Not indestructible, but as close and shoes get. Very comfortable.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:18 PM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes, I came in here to recommend Merrell as well. The last three pairs of "sneakers" I've owned have been Moabs and then two pairs of Pulsates. I switched because the latter have a larger toebox, and as Merrell doesn't make any of their shoes in extra-wide width, I need all the width I can get from the regular wide width. They are snug at first but loosen up to be just right as they break in. I buy a pair every year to year and a half. In the Seattle winters, the waterproof version is very nice to have.
posted by kindall at 3:27 PM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by matildaben at 3:31 PM on April 21, 2016

vibrant = Vibram. Stupid autocorrect.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:58 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Merrell make great shoes, worth every cent. I've had a couple different Bare Access models and several of their hiking shoes over the years. They last forever and are the best for my feet I've found - have tried several brands (not Saucony, however).
posted by fraula at 4:17 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm am on the second pair of athletic shoes I have purchased at our local Costco store. I have found them very comfortable and their durability per dollar is great (e.g., more than a year of heavy use for $20). I am not saying they are necessarily what you want, I just thought you should consider them as one option.
posted by forthright at 5:53 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ha, my two pairs of sneakers are Saucony and Merrell. So I n'th pretty much all the above.
posted by celtalitha at 5:58 PM on April 21, 2016

Right now I'm rotating between a pair of asics minimalist, two pairs of new balance (minimus...one of them being a minimus trail shoe, other being an older minimus model they don't make anymore), chuck taylors, and I wear a pair of saucony originals (Jazz) when I need more padding.

Most of these shoes came from Amazon because I watch the prices on New Balance, Asics, and Saucony. 90% of my Chucks come from the clearance section of journeys.com

Minimalist soles aren't for everyone but I freaking love them.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:36 PM on April 21, 2016

If you really want long term durability combined with comfort, you want Ecco shoes. The pairs I am wearing at present are at least 8 years old, maybe 10, I just remember I bought them before the financial crisis. Only recently have I begun to consider replacing them. The Track II boots I had before the ones I have now only lasted 6 years, though. That's what I get for doing trail hiking in them. (They're actually fine to wear, just muddy and scuffed) I am not in any sense easy on shoes.

The only Ecco shoes I've had that didn't last a ridiculously long time was the pair of running shoes I had that were pretty ratty after only 3 years. (Not so great for a $120 pair of shoes) In general, though, the durability more than offsets the expense.
posted by wierdo at 2:25 PM on April 22, 2016

Standard AskMe advice: if durability is important to you, buy two pairs of whatever your preferred shoe ends up being, and wear them on alternate days. The foot sweat that builds up in your shoes over the course of the day doesn't fully dry out in one night, and being constantly damp inside makes your shoes disintegrate a lot faster. If you buy two pairs and alternate, they'll last three to four times as long as if you only had one pair. This strategy also saves you money, makes your feet stink less, and helps keep your feet comfy and dry.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:35 PM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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