A lot of people say ‘the great thing about running is it’s an inexpensive sport: put on shoes and go.’ This just isn’t true.
Some people can wear Payless sneakers for $25, but many require better support, cushioning, and traction. Most of us spend $75-$200 per pair of trainers, two pairs per year. And I’m talking Dallas, Texas, pricing, where the cost of living is much lower than most of the country.
Cheap cotton socks cause blisters. Decent sports socks range from $10-20 per pair, and you’re going to need more than one pair.
Sweats and cotton shorts cause chafing. I can get athletic capris on sale for $20, but they typically cost $50-100. Winter pants: $75-150.
Cotton panties chafe. Some people go commando. Some people can’t. Sports underwear made from materials that will wick sweat to mitigate chafing and materials that won’t trap smells are $20 on sale, generally $30-50 per pair. You’re going to need more than one pair of runderwear.
While the fellas may be able to run shirtless, the women who make up about 60% of runners need a little more. A technical fabric t-shirt, necessary because cotton causes chafing, costs $20-75 depending on the brand. Sports bras may only be $20 for the smaller women, but anyone above a C cup needs a bra that measures by both band and cup size. Those run $50-80 each. I need the support that $65 ENELL bras provide 34DDDs, and it’s recommended to replace them as often as your trainers. And we’ll probably need more than one.
Those are just the basics. We haven’t talked about an armband or waist pouch for cell phones and car keys, the cost of earbuds that stand up to sweat and motion, GPS watches, cold weather gear, headbands, sunblock, sunglasses, hydration systems, childcare, gym memberships for cross training and bad weather, coaching, race registrations, and transportation to safe trails and events.
We’re looking at a bare minimum $175 to even try the sport. Please don’t tell a runner how great it is that running is so cheap and easy lest the resulting glare turn you to stone.