Proper running shoes are an indispensable part of a runner’s arsenal and it is something which you should not cut back on. A good and fitting pair goes a long way into preventing injuries down the road. I always recommend runners that it will always be better to spend your money on good pair of shoes than a new pair of legs.

However, good shoes often don’t come cheap, especially if you need a niche model which enhances your performance on the road. The prices in Singapore are also unusually high with a tightly controlled market. An entry performance pair of the current-year running shoes model can cost on average about $259 brand-new. As a runner myself who clock in the excess of over a thousand kilometers every year, I do sadly chew through shoes rather quickly. Thus, there is no point to get the latest and newest pair as they only last not more than 6 months- if you retire them past their 600km (recommended) mileage point.

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So how can you get good performance running shoes? For runners who desire the best in performance running shoes on a budget, here are two recommendations:

  • Buy last year shoe models
  • Shop for your shoes overseas/online

Buying last year shoe models

Sports stores in Singapore like Royal sporting house, World of sports, etc. runs annual stock clearance sale, where shoes can go up to 40% their standard retail prices. However, the hard part is to know when and where the sales are being run. So it pays to be informed either through their newsletters or warehouse sales venue calendars (e.g. Singapore expo/Suntec city convention center, etc.).

I always tend to go for yesteryear or pass-year models which are usually offered at great discounts, for instance, last year Mizuno and Asics flagships can easily have $100 SGD slashed off their retail prices (Retailing about $149 including tax), which is still a sizeable price for something literally being “cloth glued to foam”. Do keep in mind that warehouse prices are usually net, and you are usually not allowed to stack-on additional discounts, such as vouchers or membership cards.

It’s worthy to note that small privately-owned shops in Singapore (e.g. Queenstown shopping center) normally don’t stock previous year models for long, often replacing the models directly with no reduction in prices, citing that only newer models sell better there. It is also a myth that that you can get a good deal by bargaining with smaller shops, who appear to be more flexible in their pricing. Most of the shops there operate under the same boss/company who usually control brand prices brought in, giving you a false impression of consumer variety and choice, so you can’t simply “walk-off” from one store hoping to get a better deal from “another store”. This is why places like Queenstown are not favorable spots for bargain sports gear anymore.

Shop for your shoes overseas/online

Buying from Malaysia is often a no-brainer for Singaporeans looking for a bargain. I found that running shoes across the causeway not only tend to be much cheaper with the exchange rate differences aside, you also have a higher chance of obtaining cheaper last year model due to larger stocks to cater for a bigger consumer market.
But the real bargains you get are those online. I got a current-year model normally retailing $259 SGD in stores for $89 SGD shipped. I will have to caution of getting your shoe size right here, especially if it’s a pair/model you have not work before. Running shoes sizes can vary from half to a full size difference between models and brands.

Still, shoes are possibly one of the few wearables you can still buy online given low variability in sizing, particularly if you have a reference pair or a previous year model to translate your sizing from. My Mizuno previous Wave Creation model for instance is a US size 9.5, the 13th generation shoe has a similar cutting and shoe box design, so I placed an order on Amazon.com for the same US 9.5 size, topping up my order to $125USD with orders from other fellow runners to obtain Amazon free to-Singapore shipping. Do note that buying online opens you up to the potential world of online fraud, so it pays to do your homework, avoid sellers without a track record and buy from reputable companies. For Amazon, you are safe with Amazon-fulfilled items. The shoes arrived from USA 2 weeks later, and on close inspection, is indeed the genuine deal, fitting perfectly just like my old pair.

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For Amazon.com in particular, I noticed that prices for the same shoe model (using my Mizuno Wave Creation as an example) has a bizarre price difference of $30 USD ($59 – $89 USD) depending on the colour of the shoe, with the most popular colours (and correspondingly lower stock) fetching the higher price, that’s how Amazon pricing works. There is not much of a compromise either as there is no such thing as a “bad shoe colour” for Mizuno perse, just a matter of taste, and I easily got off purchase a colour of my liking at $59 USD shipped (~$89 SGD at the time of my purchase). This boils down to paying to almost half the prices paid right here in Singapore.

This makes you wonder that if Amazon can afford to sell a pair of current at a 300% mark down for a same pair in Singapore, and still earn a profit, how much super-normal profits are retailers in Singapore are actually making from their mark-ups? Shoes are not the only items which you can grab at a bargain from Amazon- computer parts costs on average 10-20% cheaper too, which made me wonder, if Amazon can undercut retailers through direct selling, it won’t be a matter of time where sport shops or even those computer shops in Sim Lim Square will be in trouble.

For me, $89 SGD for an original performance pair of running shoes is a great bargain (70%), you be rest assured that I will be buying shoes off Amazon in the not too distant future again.

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