After looking at 184,000 running shoes — across 450 brands — independent review aggregator RunRepeat.com found that consumers saved 38.1 percent, about $46.20, per purchase of sneakers online versus in stores.
“Running shoe brands ensure high retail prices through cartel-like price structures,” Jens Jakob Andersen, founder of RunRepeat and a lecturer in statistics at Copenhagen Business School, wrote in the report. “Their contracts ensure that brick-and-mortar stores keep prices at the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices. If a store does not obey the [terms, brands] will shut down the partnership. Luckily for the consumer, prices on the Internet are a bit harder to control.”
The report, a follow up to last year’s controversial study that found more expensive running shoes frequently received worse ratings from consumers, also revealed that 86 percent of all running shoes were available at a discounted price online, with just over half sold for 30 percent to 69 percent cheaper than in stores.
According to RunRepeat, a community of runners that annually post more than 100,000 sneaker reviews, the most deeply discounted shoes were Scott, at 62 percent, and both Reebok and Skechers at 53 percent. The least discounted were Vibram FiveFingers and Topo Athletic.
What’s more, the study also showed that brands with a broader focus offered more savings online.
For instance, multisport labels such as New Balance and Under Armour were 37.5 percent cheaper than those considered to be running-specific like Newton, Hoka One One and Inov-8.
“I find it truly amazing that the savings are this large, and even on current running shoe models,” Andersen told FootwearNews.com. “Brands most often dictate running shoes to be sold at list prices, but one must conclude that that is very far from the reality in the online world. With a savings of 38 percent on average, I believe most runners wouldn’t buy local anymore.”