The military (for the most part) gives recruits about $85 dollars to purchase running shoes for training. However, most quality shoes cost 1.25-2x that. What’s a recruit to do? Let’s take a look at options to buy comfortable shoes that can hold up and don’t overwhelm your budget.
Last Year’s Models
This is your best bet, quite frankly. These are usually going to be top of the line models that just happen to be a year (or more) old. Since many companies don’t even update the outsole every year, you’re only really missing out on a different upper. Nike, Asics, and Mizuno are pretty sure bets (I’m convinced Mizuno just switches back and forth between tight-spaced mesh and wide-spaced mesh, every year). The New Balance Leadville or MT1210 come to mind, since a version of those models was actually developed in a proposal to have a standard, American-made running shoe for the armed forces.
Then you’ve got sales! Especially around holidays (including federal ones), retail vendors will have sales out the wazoo. 30% off is probably the most common discount, but often more. Many places will also offer discounts for those in the service or first responders. 10% off is generally the standard, but running specialty stores, especially those with veterans on staff, may be able to go lower. You can always see if you can stack the discounts, too. Doing a 30% sale, plus 10% service discount.
Big Box Shoes
Basically every company makes shoes that are meant for less-discerning customers at your Dick’s Sporting Goods, Finishline, what have you. These aren’t bad shoes, but they just might not feel as comfortable as the higher end models. The shoes below have solid cushioning and durable outsoles.
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