Running shoe coup: Shopping local pays off

On the left, Pearl Izumi Project E-Motion Trail N2. On the right: New Balance Fresh Foam 980. These are both last year’s models and were marked down more than forty bucks each.

I must admit I was tempted, when I needed to take one of the kids for some gear at Dick’s Sporting Goods recently, to see if I could find a deal on running shoes.

I tried on a couple of pairs, but the selection at Dick’s is really pretty awful. They didn’t carry either of the two shoes I was most interested in, the New Balance Fresh Foam and the Adidas Boost. So yesterday I went to my favorite of the local running stores, Three Rivers Running Company, tried on the shoes I was interested in as well as a few pairs recommended by the marathoner and trail runner who was helping me, and came away with not one but TWO pairs of shoes — for basically the same price as what I’d budgeted for one pair of the ultra comfy but kinda pricey Boost.

I was leaning toward the Fresh Foam, and while I was contemplating those (all the while ogling the trail shoes on the rack in front of me) the guy went to the store room and pulled out a pair from last season that had been marked down more than forty bucks. There was no way I wasn’t pulling the trigger on those — but then he went back and found ANOTHER marked-down pair in a better color scheme without my even asking him to.

In the meantime he brought out some trail shoes for me to try, even though he knew I was “just curious” and that my trail philosophy is to just add screws to the tread of old road shoes.

Well, I was completely smitten with one of the trail shoes — the Pearl Izumis you see above — and it turns out he also had a pair of those that had been marked down from last season as well. So I came away with TWO PAIRS of much better shoes and a much better deal than I could ever have scored at the chain store, and I got to compare notes on some local trail races with a much better runner in the process.

A side benefit of adding real trail shoes to my lineup is that they just inherently look so cool. Trail running has a much different vibe than road running, and the shoes reflect that.

The down side is, these shoes look so awesome I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get myself to actually wear them on the trail! They’re almost too gorgeous to get all muddy …

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