Thursday, June 21, 2012

Where to Find the Best Deals on Running Clothing

Running clothing has improved a lot in the past few decades, improving the lives of many runners at the same time. My efforts to become a distance runner took a few unfortunate detours before I finally broke down and purchased a pair of real running shorts. 
The knickers were a bad choice
Unfortunately, quality gear is amazingly expensive and buying a full running wardrobe at your average running store could easily set you back $500 or more. 

I want that track suit

So what’s a cheap poor runner to do? Start shopping at thrift stores!
Ta da!
Surprisingly enough, you can find a lot of high end technical clothing at thrift stores.  My wife (who discovered this particular slice of tight-fisted paradise) and I have found quite a few technical shirts/tops, shorts, tights, and jackets from brands including New Balance, Asics, Under Armour, Lucy, Yoga, and Athleta.  Everything is dirt cheap, and a lot of it seems close to brand new.  
"What a coincidence--I'm going to start running 20 miles a day tomorrow too!"
We've had the most luck at Savers and Goodwill stores.  Buffalo Exchange is good too but more expensive, while local non-chain thrift stores vary a lot in both selection and prices.  Stores in bigger cities have a much better selection than those in small towns.

Although you'll find that the selection is much better for women than for men, I haven't been in a store yet that didn't have something worth buying for me. A large portion of my current running wardrobe came from thrift stores.  For example, for my run today I wore a race t-shirt (which depending on how you look at it was either free or $150), New Balance shorts from Savers, and my homemade huaraches.

One more item to look for: thrift stores are a great place to find throwaway jackets for races with cold starts.  For our last marathon we bought warm fleece jackets for less than it would have cost us to buy space blankets.  Most race organizers (including those for our race) collect clothing discarded along the side of the course and donate it to homeless shelters.  So instead of paying to be only slightly freezing and then littering, we saved money, stayed toasty, avoided creating more trash, and helped clothe the needy.  How's that for a day's work?
The only downside was we didn't get to look like space burritos


  1. Forever 21 has really cheap workout clothes too.

  2. Thanks for sharing this information on where to get best deals on active wear clothing. I have been doing daily workout routine since past few months and bought my workout clothes from carbon 38. Very satisfied with their quality and pricing.