I’m pumped! I just saved 70 bucks on a pair of running shoes by “settling” for a slightly older generation and an odd color combo.
I ran my first (and so far, only) marathon back in February 2011. The day before the race, I decided I needed a new pair of shoes, so I hit up the nearest RunTex, a running store that’s known for their knowledgeable staff. I used to have fairly bad knee pain due to my flat arches until I told my doctor about it several years ago, and he told me to start using a high-cushion running shoe. Ever since then, the knee pain has stayed away. I told the salesman at RunTex about my condition and he equipped me with a pair of Asics Gel Nimbus shoes. Trusting his expertise, I bought them on the spot. I can’t recall how much I paid for them, but I think it was around $130 or $140.
The next day, with only three or four training runs under my belt (but lots of cycling), I ran the marathon in 3:38. The shoes were awesome! I didn’t experience any blistering or knee pain, and that’s held true for the past year and a half. Recently, however, it’s become clear that the my (sometimes-overly) frugal self has used the shoes well past their useful lives (well over the recommended 300-500-mile maximum), and my left knee is beginning to give me some pain as the cushioning in the shoes starts to break down, a red alert that it’s time to replace them.
Today, without really giving it a lot of thought, I drove to RunTex and told the salesman, Jonny, that I wanted to trade in my Asics for another pair of Gel Nimbus. I know that $130 is a lot for a pair of running shoes, but I’m not going to be cheap and settle for a pair of shoes that won’t support me as well as the Asics and will only lead to increased knee pain and potential long-term damage. (Remember the difference between being frugal and being cheap!) Jonny told me that he was sorry, but he didn’t have the Asics in stock and was expecting a delivery in a couple of weeks.
I was frustrated because I wouldn’t be able to run until I replaced the shoes, but on my drive home, it dawned on me that I could just buy the shoes online and they’d definitely arrive sooner than two weeks. I called Run Tex and asked for the price: $152 after tax. I hit up Google Shopping with this ceiling price in mind and searched for Asics Gel Nimbus Men’s. The search results brought up Asics Gel Nimbus 14, Asics Gel Nimbus 13, and Asics Gel Nimbus 12 and 11. I assumed the suffixes stood for shoe sizes, but after clicking around, I realized that each suffix came in various shoe sizes. I was confused, so I decided to actually read up on the shoe and found out that the 11, 12, 13, and 14 indicated the generation of the shoe. I looked at my shoe and saw Gel Nimbus 12 embossed on the side. RunTex was selling the Gel Nimbus 14, a shoe that was two generations newer than mine and boasted better technology, according to the marketing material.
The 14 was going for $140 before tax, and the 12 and 13 were going for much less. I thought about it for a minute and decided that since the 12 had been a solid pair of shoes for a year and half, then a new 12 would be a solid pair of shoes, too, so I decided to buy the cheapest pair of Gel Nimbus that I could find, regardless of generation. After about 30 minutes of clicking around, I found a 13–only one generation older–for $80. Shipping was free and the store didn’t charge tax, so I saved $72!
They might not be as awesome as the neon green/yellow 14 that I could have bought online for $140+tax/shipping, but the black/neon green combo isn’t terrible, either.
- $80 Asics Gel Nimbus 13
Looking back, I’m thanking my lucky stars RunTex didn’t have the Gel Nimbus in stock. Today, I received yet another lesson in frugality, but thankfully, I didn’t have to learn this one the hard way. The 14 supposedly has better technology, but if the 12 kept the knee pain away for a year and a half, which is above and beyond the call of duty for any shoe, then isn’t that good enough? By “settling” for a shoe that had served me well in the past instead of getting the latest and greatest, I saved over $70.
Sometimes, or oftentimes, it doesn’t make sense to buy the latest and greatest. I need to start thinking about that concept a little more now that I have the discretionary budget to buy things beyond just the bare essentials.