“Do you need help picking something out?”, the twenty something year old Academy Sports employee asked as I eyed what seemed like hundreds of pairs of athletic shoes. “No”, I lied. “Just looking around.”. He vanished as quickly as he appeared and left me staring at options I didn’t know I had. Running shoes, cross training shoes, tennis shoes, walking shoes. And of course, each category had various brand options. I could opt for the well known Nike or Under Armour but which ones? Some looked like they were designed by aerospace engineers and would instantly make me faster and able to jump higher. Some had dials, some had no laces and some looked like feet. There were high dollar versions and low dollar versions. And then there were the lesser known brands I’d never heard of.
“You gotta go to the New Balance store”, my brother in law informed me a few days prior to my shopping trip. “They’ll get you sized, fitted and the right shoe for what you’re looking to accomplish.”. Seriously? Do I need all that for a pair of shoes? I mean, I’m not a big runner, don’t play tennis and really just need something to cover my feet while I’m at the gym or on my bike. And while I do understand that there is a need and benefit for specific shoes, at what point do we need them? I see people every day at the gym wearing the $150 Nike’s and doing nothing more than a rowing machine, followed by some weight lifting and I’m not sure how much the shoes helped.
We are bombarded daily with the ads that make us feel like we cannot go out of the house or make an appearance at the gym wearing anything less than a hundred dollar pair of well known branded shoes. And it doesn’t end there! Sweat resistance outerwear, athletic watches tracking our every move, compression socks, gloves, women’s yoga pants, etc. And this stuff adds up! Admittedly, I’ve been there. I felt I had to have the top of the line gear (including the watch that broke two months later) and fell victim to the marketing madness
I looked back down the endless isle of shoes and noticed a pair of Nike’s that looked more like a VW bug instead of an F22 Raptor Jet. And the price was under $50 so I made the purchase. Two months later, I still am not a world class sprinter or able to dunk a basketball but I am down 17 pounds, feel great and have an extra $100 in my pocket. So next time you are shopping for your athletic gear, ask yourself, “Will this help me and if so, how?”. I think the answer will help you with the buying decision.