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Splurge vs. Save for the New Runner

There’s a huge misnomer that running is a cheap sport because all you need are shoes. Pshhh! That couldn’t be farther from the truth, but we’ll let our loving spouses keep believing that until the bills come rolling in! I thought the same thing when I first started to run. Then you step out with great excitement for your first run and realize you want a sports watch, your socks keep rolling down and your cheap sports bra caused horrible chafing. So you come home from that run, prop your feet up and start the online shopping!

Don't buy cheap shoes! Photo Credit: UH Hospitals

Don’t buy cheap shoes! Photo Credit: UH Hospitals


I learned a lot from trial and error about products that I love and ones that truly work overtime while I run. A great place to start researching brands, is asking your friends what they like. But don’t assume your wallet will be empty by the time you are done shopping! You don’t need to splurge on everything and the basics will get you started on the right foot (pun intended). Certain items are worth the splurge and you can save money on other items.


Here is my splurge vs. save list for the novice runner:



Proper fitting shoes can prevent injury in runners. I even had a Podiatrist give me his running shoe recommendation. This is the most important item to splurge on. Most specialty running stores will fit you, as a courtesy service, with the correct shoe. Once you have a shoe that fits well, you can start looking for it on sale. But definitely buy the best pair for your feet, regardless of price.


Shirts- SAVE!

I haven’t heard of any problems that runners experience with budget-friendly shirts. You definitely want to find a sweat-wicking tech fabric athletic shirt that keeps the sweat off of you. Fortunately, brands like Champion have collections at Target where you can easily find a tech shirt for a great price. Most runners prefer a body skimming shirt that isn’t too tight or loose. I like a little extra length on mine too.


Running Tights, Skirts or Shorts- SPLURGE!

There is nothing worse than running in capris that keep riding down or shorts that keep hiking up your leg. It’s a recipe for chafing and that’s that last thing you need to think about mid-run. Invest in several bottoms for your running wardrobe that will take you through the seasons. I like to have at least 1 pair of tights and a skirt or shorts. It’s nice to have several options to dress according to the weather. My favorite skirt splurge is from Sparkle Skirts, they have compression shorts with pockets under the skirt.

My favorite running splurge: Sparkle Skirts! The shorts don't ride up. Photo Credit: Sparkle Skirts

My favorite running splurge: Sparkle Skirts! The shorts don’t ride up. Photo Credit: Sparkle Skirts


Running Fuel- SAVE!

When you first start running, it’s tempting to buy fancy sports gels and chews to play with. But you don’t need it until your mileage is over an hour long. A great mid-run option, if you need one, are pretzels. Pretzels are easy on your stomach and provide some extra sodium.


Sports Bra- SPLURGE!

Sports bras are the one item that have caused me the most pain when I buy them cheap. From chafing to underwire drawing blood (kid you not), you’ll regret wearing a cheap sports bra to run in. This is another item that you can have fitted to you by a specialist at the running store. Then be sure hang them dry after washing to prevent wear and tear.


Hats and Hair Accessories- SAVE!

I DO like fun and decorative headbands, but you don’t need that to start. Basic hair ties and hats do a great job of keeping the hair and sun out of your face. If you want to buy something a bit more decorative or find that the hair is still in your face, try Sparkly Soul Headbands. Their headbands don’t slip off of your head while running and they are worth the extra few bucks! I prefer to sparkle on my runs.

Look at all of the pretty sparkle on these Sparkly Soul Headbands! Photo Credit: Sparkly Soul.

Look at all of the pretty sparkle on these Sparkly Soul Headbands! Photo Credit: Sparkly Soul.

Have fun shopping and remember when you can save money! If you have any shopping questions for running or walking gear, feel free to leave them below in the comments.


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