What to Do When Your Running Shoe is Discontinued

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Finding new shoes to replace a discontinued pair What to Do When Your Running Shoe is Discontinued www.runnerclick.com

It’s a match made in heaven. You and the perfect running shoes! 

Photo by Sara Stover

You’ve finally found that pair of shoes that feels like it was made for your feet. You love it so much that you post photos of it on social media, and you aren’t even trying to get the shoe brand to sponsor you! 

And then, one fateful day, you visit your favorite local running shop to pick up a new pair of your feet’s best friends and are informed that they are out of your trusty shoes, and they don’t know if or when they will be back in stock. 

No problem, you’ll just troll the internet until you find them.

You’ll even settle for a less than desirable color if you have to! Sound familiar? 

If you’ve ever fallen in love with a pair of running shoes, only to have that model discontinued, you’re not alone! This has happened to me more than a few times in the two decades that I’ve been running. And I’ve picked up a few tricks and tips on helping my feet rebound after breaking up with the love of their running lives:

Stock Up

Before you quit running, cry, or send a nasty message to the shoe manufacturer,  check bargain sites that might sell the running shoe that you can’t live without! Amazon, eBay, Poshmark, and CraigsList are all good bets for finding anything your running store was selling last season. Be aware that some sellers will list the brand and size of the running shoe but neglect to list the actual name. With this in mind, you may have to put on your investigator hat and check some vague listings to find the shoe you want.

Consider posting your own ad on CraigsList, or utilize your local Freecycle program to locate a seller in your area, which you can register for at freecycle.org. There are also Facebook pages and groups like “Running Gear Buy and Sell,” and even brand-specific Facebook pages such as “New Balance Talk Buy/Sell/Trade” and “Nike Buy and Sell” where others buy, swap, and sell their own running again. You can scroll through posts on these pages, or post your own “want ad” explaining what you are looking for. 

Be specific with your ad, and use wording similar to this: 

Looking for Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19, size 8. Must be in good condition. My budget is $100 max, including shipping fees. Thanks!

Many times the seller will buy a pair of perfectly good shoes and find that they are unable to return them despite the fact that they were never worn. 

I once found 3 pairs of my favorite trail shoe that I had assumed were discontinued on eBay. Three brand new pairs of my precious trail shoes, still in the box! 

Photo by Sara Stover

I bought them all, and still paid less than I had for 1 pair of those babies when they first hit the market. This purchase got me by for an entire year, and will definitely work for a while! 

When I finally wore out that third and last pair of my eBay find, I repeated the process of combing through every online retailer that could possibly carry a pair of the shoes I couldn’t run without. 

But after hours on eBay, Poshmark, and a few sites that you can only find by scrolling all the way to Page 9 of your Google search, I realized that I was going to have to take a more serious approach.

Check with the Company

If a brand discontinued your favorite running shoe, it’s likely that you are not alone in your frustration. Fortunately for many runners that are loyal to a certain brand and style, you can usually connect with the company, who may be able to provide additional assistance. 

If you cannot find the discontinued shoe in stores or on the usual websites, it’s a good idea to search the brand’s actual website. There are instances where the company will continue selling shoes online that are not available in stores or through retailers.

The company’s customer service representatives can also be a helpful resource and may be able to help you locate and purchase your running shoes, even after they have been discontinued. Contact a customer service representative through their website. ”Contact Us” is probably your best bet for finding a phone number or email address. Sometimes you can even reach a customer service agent through a Facebook message or Tweet! 

Occasionally, the brand keeps discontinued lines to use for future online sales. You can find customer service information on the shoe manufacturer’s website, and contact them to ask if it is possible for you to purchase the line you are looking for directly.

If your shoes aren’t out of life and you can get another 100 miles out of them, wait a month or so and check with the brand again. Once in a while, manufacturers keep an extra stock of a shoe line for the purpose of filling warranties or replacing defective running shoes and then release the shoes for sale if the excess pairs were not needed. This can occur even if a running shoe is out of stock online, but it may take awhile. 

Be patient, as it can take up to a year before the extra stock is released back to the market. Keep your eyes peeled for “Bring Back” marketing campaigns, which is when brands traditionally offer discontinued products, and customers can stock up.

Start a Movement 

Often, the running shoe you are obsessing over was discontinued for a specific reason, and the company may need to be convinced that bringing the shoe back to the market is a lucrative move.

If you’ve been waiting for extra stock to be released, or you’ve had no luck with the company’s customer service department, you can follow the company on Twitter and Facebook (if you aren’t doing that already)!  It doesn’t hurt to post or tweet about why you believe the shoe should be reintroduced to the running community! 

When you do tweet or post about your dilemma, use the company’s handle or a hashtag and the company’s name. Make sure your Facebook post is public so that the company sees it, as well as other customers. Rally your friends to share and re-tweet your post too. The more help you can get from other customers, the more effective your movement will be! 

Wondering what to post? Try using wording similar to this:

Mourning the New Balance Vazee Summit. It got me through my first ultra trail race! Will it ever return @newbalanceusa ?

Be polite, but clear. Be brief. And frame your post as a compliment to the company! 

Move On

So all your Facebook campaigning and conversations with customer service reps are fruitless… what now? Hold out for that “Bring Back” sale? This is recommended, but only to a certain extent. There comes a time when you just can’t run in those shoes any longer without comprising your workout! 

There are a few telltale signs that indicate that it’s time to move on, and they shouldn’t be ignored!

  • You’ve run between 300 and 400 miles in your shoes. If you keep track of your mileage every time you break out a new pair of running shoes (which you should)! then you’ll know when your shoes are close to their maximum mileage. 
  • If you don’t track mileage, you’ll probably notice a lack of cushioning. Feeling every rock under your feet, or new, unexplained pain in the feet, Achilles, shins, or knees may be a sign that your shoes are about to hit the 400-mile mark! 
  • Examine the top of your running shoes after you’ve changed out of them. You’ll know that the shoe’s material is worn in if the top of the shoe looks exactly like your own foot when you put it beside the shoe. 
  • Look at the medial side of your running shoe when it is flipped over. If you find that the midsole is not bouncing back like it used to, or you see cracks or fissures perpendicular to the tooling, it’s time to retire your shoes! 
  • Drop your shoe gently from around 5 feet, ideally onto a hardwood surface. Does it rock front to back, or back and forth for over half a second? Then your shoe’s cushioning is probably depressing.
  • You notice heavy wear on the soles of your shoes, or your toes poke through the uppers.

Cushions that depress, cracks, holes, tread that is worn away and rubber that actually pulls away from the shoe do more than making your shoes look unattractive. They can have a negative impact on your biomechanical form, so do NOT try to patch them up by gluing cracks or damaged toe guards. No matter how much you want to make those shoes last longer, it’s not worth throwing off your form and exposing yourself to injury on your next run!

Photo by Sara Stover
If your shoes look like this, you should have bought a new pair a month ago!
Find a New Favorite Pair

It’s time to admit it: You have to move on to a new shoe. But starting over can be so hard. That’s why you’re going to need some support! 

So head into your local running shop… again! Like shoe-human matchmakers, the experts at your running store know what they are talking about, and can help you find a shoe that will work for you.

You can also dive into a running-specific buying guide and read up on shoes recommended for your fitness level, preferred distance, and terrain of choice!

Contacting the company that made your discontinued, but never forgotten shoe of choice for recommendations is another smart move! 

Switch Shoes Wisely

So you’re ready to move on from your discontinued favorites shoe. If your shoes haven’t reached 300 miles yet, you can still purchase the new style or brand, and ease your body into them. 

It’s likely that your body has adapted to those old faithful shoes over time, and if you can avoid the shock of any sudden changes, do so. Take a couple of weeks to transition out of the old pair and into the new guys! 

Start by running an easy 3 or 4 miles in the new kicks. Then begin to alternate between running in your new shoes, and the old pair over the course of four to six weeks.

Photo by Sara Stover

Above all, don’t let your feet become jaded. If I can find a new pair of running shoes that my feet love, so can you! Do your research, transition into the new pair wisely, and be open.

You might just discover a brand you weren’t familiar with, or find a new shoe style that is exactly what your feet never knew they needed!