February 4, 2013

How to Save Money on Running Gear

Running is, generally speaking, a low gear sport.  You don't need a helmet, pads or fancy cleats, but you do need a few basic things - shirt, shorts/pants, socks, sports bra for the ladies and sneakers.  Extra, but definitely useful gear includes a GPS watch, compression socks/sleeves, hydration belt and hat/visor.  And while this doesn't seem like much, it can add up very quickly.  So here are a few tips for any of you feeling the pinch when getting gear'ed up for the spring running season.

Shop at discount stores frequently.
TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshall's can often have higher end apparel and gear for much less than retail price.  I was at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago and saw they had Nathan Spring handhelds, for only $6.99!  Those normally cost $10-12 at specialty retailers.  I've picked up New Balance sports bras and good running shorts there in the past.

Try Old Navy and Target.  Both retailers have slowly been adding more advanced gear to their athletic apparel, which is quickly becoming a crowd favorite.  And always check the clearance rack.  I routinely see running shorts at Target in the clearance rack for $5.88...usually in lots of sizes and colors.    When you're buying clothes at these spots, there will be some slight quality changes that you may notice - shorter lengths on tops (a-okay with this vertically challenged girl!), less wicking, fewer pockets, etc.  Spend some time trying on each item and looking over the features.

Get on email lists for big running shoe and apparel retailers.  Typically, companies send out more email notices about sales and whatnot than you'd care to receive.  I am on a million lists and simply delete most of the emails each day (annoying? yes.  But helpful when I get that gem of an email about a really good sale!), but when I finally do need new running shoes or want a skirt, I know about the sales.  

Frequent buyer clubs.  Many local and nationwide shops have these.  I know that Pam's store, Tri Sports in Wilmington, has a program that offers discounts throughout the year.  And I highly recommend signing up for Dick's rewards program.  I don't buy a ton of things there, but I have received several $5 or $10 coupons which have been great when I need a new top or want to pick up some Clif bloks or gels.

Outlet stores.  I am slowly learning that many outlets only have merchandise made for the outlets (ahem Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Coach and Kate Spade...), so proceed with caution.  Nike, New Balance and many other athletic companies have outlets.  They're definitely worth trying out, especially for shoes if they have your model and size on hand.  

One word of caution, never ever ever skimp on your shoes.  I believe they are the most important gear that you'll wear/use and should be fitted properly.  If you don't know where to start, find a local running  store that will spend some time watching your gait, evaluating your stride, and fitting you with the proper shoe.  I promise, that will be money well spent!

A few final tips for evaluating discount running gear:
- Check for pockets in bottoms - you want at least one for a key or gel.
- Check tops and bottoms for seams as these will likely be potential places that will rub during your training.
- Avoid cotton - it's not great for wicking away sweat.

What are your best money saving tips for running gear?


  1. I do like the Old Navy athletic crops and they have a zipper in the back! Also Costco has some great jackets, and sports bras....
    I check the racks at TJ Maxx...also clearance at Dick's...and even the "We Made Too Much at Lululemon! :c) The running warehouse online has good prices too...
    I also like to support some of my fellow Bloggers and purchase their shirts! Hint...Hint....
    And...its nice to have a code to use too! :c)

  2. I LOVE Target workout clothes. I always check them out when I go to the store. I have never tried Old Navy before. I might have to see what they have next time I am close to a store.

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  4. I had been searching for some updates in online athletic shorts women and for men as well and you have given me a lot of idea to think about.This is great.