There are a lot of fashionable runners out there. Running is not only a kind of recreation, it's also a way to show off yourself as a sporty and classy individual. There is no wonder why Nike and Adidas are big brands, they are essentially fashion brands disguised as sports brands, having achieved the monstrous feats of being on top.
At work I regularly meet customers with grand thoughts on how a running shoe should look like, making claims that there couldn't possibly be designers working at Mizuno, New Balance, Asics etc. "Designing a running shoe would be the easiest of jobs," is a normal phrase from many customers. They just don't realise that there is a vast marked out there, and that many people won't agree with them regarding what is a good looking shoe.
In the store, one customer can come in and complain that there isn't enough black running shoes, the next customer entering thinks the black ones are extremely dull. What many people don't realize is that the market is largely in control of what the running brands make. Sales figures direct designers to create the best running shoe look for the current market.
This running shoe market is as far as I have noticed divided into three subgroups. You have the people who don't care about design, those who care about design, but buys what fits them and those who only buys shoes that they like the look of.
Group one has it easy. They buy whatever fits them, end of discussion. Group two and three need to make compromises, either in fit and form or with design. If you ask me, a person who see people coming in with problems from running, there is only one group that makes the right compromises. But to emphasise, this is my subjective opinion!
For most people, finding a shoe that fits well shouldn't be a problem. There are so many brands and form fits available that you should be able to find at least two or three shoes in a running store that both supports you in the right way and fits well. What can be a problem though is to find a shoe that you also like the design of.
If you are able to run in the shoes you like, then you should go for it. But my opinion, as a running shoe salesman, is that form, fit and support should always be prioritized before looks.
We still always try to end up with more than one shoe for the customer to choose from though. Then the customer can decided if he/she wants to pick the best design, the best fit, neither or both.
Brands are less important than people think. There is a huge crown of competent companies making running shoes now. People who have set their sights on one brand tend to favour these in the testing phase, purely because they have a bias towards that company's products ("when I put on this shoe it feels like coming home"). The running shoe market is very diverse because every brand has their own vision on what the perfect shoe is. This results in different designs, support systems and form fits. Asics has a narrow foot compared to New Balance, and if you then have a wide foot and favour Asics you can have an issue.
The most important thing to know is that they all make different, but great shoes! Whatever shoe you end up with should have good enough cushioning and support for your foot if the selection process has been done properly.
Do you agree or disagree with me? Tell me in the comments!