December 28, 2020

The Expense of Walking

I'm almost embarrassed to write this post, because it's going to sound petty. I'm not writing it as a complaint (well, not trying to) but I was thinking about it on my walk today and it was pretty interesting! 

My feet have been hurting really badly for a couple of weeks and I know it's because I need new shoes. Mine are VERY worn out after all of the miles I've put on them over the past five months. I needed new shoes at least a month ago and I've been putting it off because they are so expensive.

When I first started walking, I had a couple of pairs of running shoes without many miles on them, so I used those. And then I bought one pair (new) on eBay when I had to replace one pair. I've basically been rotating three pairs of shoes: 

Brooks Ghost 8 (yes, they are OLD! But I didn't put any miles on them until early this year)
Saucony Triumph ISO 4
Altra Escalante

The Ghosts are the most stable, but they are still a neutral shoe that is good for supination (under-pronation--a problem of mine). The Triumph ISOs are super comfy! I was wearing an older pair of them for a while and when they needed replacement, I bought a newer model on eBay and love them. The Escalantes are the perfect zero-drop shoe (you can read about Altra and the zero-drop heels on this post--nerdy, but very interesting!). 

All three pairs are extremely worn out now. I only ever use them for deliberate walking (not when I go to the grocery store or work in the garage or anything like that). I've always needed to replace my shoes every 300-350 miles or so. (Some people can wear them up to about 500 miles, but I am not one of those people--I start getting knee and foot pain after 300-350.)

I LOVE how comfortable these Triumphs are, but check out what has happened on the treads. See the big depression in the middle? I feel like there is going to be a hole in it soon.

My Ghosts have worn down to look really smooth where they are not supposed to be:

Same with my Altras:

In the past, when I found a shoe I liked, I'd always stock up on it when the new model was introduced so that I could get them much cheaper. That's why I had the old pair of Ghosts--when they came out with the Ghost 9's, I bought four pairs of the 8's because I liked them so much. And I just wore through my last pair.

Anyway, I cannot find the discontinued models of any of the shoes that I like (in my size at least). The cost for the new model of Ghosts are $130; the Triumph ISOs are $150; and the Escalantes are $130. 

When I was walking, I started doing the math in my head. Since I walk five miles a day, seven days a week... that's 150 miles per month. And if I change out my shoes after 300 miles, I only get two months wear out of them.

Let's say I get the Ghosts. I spend $130. Since I would wear them for two months, that would mean I'm spending $65 per month for shoes! For $130, I'm spending $2.17 for each walk. And to break it down into miles, I'm spending $0.43 per mile.

Each morning, I'm spending $2.17 TO WALK. Doesn't that sound crazy?!

When I was running, I never thought much about the cost of shoes because I wasn't putting this many miles on them. My mileage was about half of what it is now, so I was replacing less frequently. And like I said, I'd usually buy several pairs at one time when they were discounted. I'm going to have to start watching for when the new models are released so that I can buy the previous models at a discount!

Anyway, my feet have been killing me and today I finally decided I needed to buy a pair, even if it was going to cost $130. I read reviews of different shoes and found a pair that a lot of people mentioned was good for people who supinate. I've never tried them on, and I'm really hoping that they fit and are comfortable.

They're ASICS Women's Gel-Venture and they're actually a trail running shoe. When I walk Joey, I walk in the grass along the water at a few parks (in other words, not on pavement) for part of the walk. So, I figured that I'd try out the trail running shoes and hope that they feel good on pavement, too. They were only $50, so if they work out, they'll only cost me $0.83 per walk instead of $2.17 ;)  They have free returns, so if I try them on and they don't fit well, at least I can get a refund.

If I don't like them, I think I'll just bite the bullet and get the ones I've already tried and liked. I've been working out our budget for next year (our expenses have changed quite a bit this year) and it seems crazy that I need to include my shoes in our budget. I never really put this much thought into the cost of walking--it's nerdy, but kind of eye-opening.

Thankfully, the other costs for walking are minimal. I buy good-quality exercise clothes at thrift stores and they last forever. I've gotten a lot of Under Armour clothing (my favorite) and even Lululemon for super cheap. I do buy good socks (new)--I love my Balega socks (Amazon affiliate link) and they are about $14 per pair. However, those are great quality and I still have pairs from 2016--they hold up really well.

Well, there really is no point to this post other than to say... shoes are expensive! I didn't realize just how much until I did the math breaking it down per walk and per mile. But the walking has been great for me, mentally and physically, and it's worth it!


  1. Let me start out by saying as I read this post all I thought was "way too much math" and I will end with I HATE math but I loved your post. The post was insightful and cute. Good luck with the shoes!

  2. Yesssss shoes are expensive but so worth it not to have pain in our feet and knees. I'm also a Brooks Ghost fan. I have a neutral foot and plantar fasciitis in both feet. I also buy them on ebay when I can find them in my size. Can't wait to see how you like the new shoes. Also did I miss the post about what Jerry did about his hair? I cut my husbands hair too but he always wants it super short so I basically cut it with no guard on the clippers so I can't really mess it up unless I cut him!

  3. Hey! I feel you on this one. I wear the Brooks Ghost and they are SO expensive! I have been buying them on Mercari the last few times. It is a used clothing site and I look for the ones that have been worn only a few times. Sometimes they still have the box or tags on. I have to be patient to get exactly what I want, but it is well worth it and you can get them for much less than buying new!

  4. Hi! Thank you for inspiring me to walk! I am hooked too. I am wondering if hiking boots would be better for you. They are definitely more durable, and since you are not running, maybe you don't need running shoes. I have been using hiking boots and although they are not cushiony or very warm, they are waterproof and don't cause me blisters

  5. Thank you for writing this post. I agree shoes are expensive but the benefits to health are so much bigger. I am glad I'm not the only who feels this way.

  6. I am this kind of nerd too! Breaking down the costs helps me understand my priorities and figure out if something is worth it, so I totally love this.

  7. Hi Katie, Have you ever heard of Darn Tough socks from Vermont? If you get a hole in a sock, you can send them back and they will send you a replacement pair free. For life. I love them and can their walking socks last a lifetime!

  8. as a walker I've had the same issues, but I have been able to find the mens version of my shoes sometimes (and you wear a smaller size) I also buy in bulk if I can find last years model on sale. Good Walking !

  9. You are lucky to have boys b/c they won't or can't steal your socks!!

  10. I second your recommendation of the Balega socks. They are, by far, the most comfortable socks I've worn. They are very cushiony and wash really well.

    You're reminding me I need to buy new running shoes, too. I have a friend who buys boys running shoes which are much cheaper. She has to replace hers every 300+ miles also. It's really important to have good shoes (speaking of someone who has broken her foot a few times and is friends with her podiatrist)!

  11. Those are some worn looking shoes! I am surprised that the 350 miles that you get running holds true for walking too. I would have thought miles walked would be less wear on our shoes than miles ran?

    I'm with you though, I can't make it 500 miles on a pair of shoes either.

  12. Spending $2 per day to walk is all relative...lots of folks spend way more than that per day on specialty coffee, for example. But think of it this way: is $2 per day a worthwhile expenditure to improve your physical and mental health? I would think so.

  13. I love Asics; I rotate them with Nike sneakers on my runs. I hope they work out for you and I hope you like them! Money well spent ;)

  14. I have a pair of Ghost 11 or 12 that are too small for me. Only worn 3 times. They are yours if you want. Size 11.

  15. I'm surprised with your MI winters you haven't switched to a low winter boot like Sorel

    1. I did buy some boots and I'm super bummed because I got a miserable blister the first day I wore them :( I've not heard of Sorel, so I'll check them out. The ones I got were Columbia brand.

  16. I've had surgery on both feet hurt a lot! Can't wait to hear how the new shoes work out. Then I'll know if I want to give them a try. I also wear the Saucony shoe. They are so comfortable!

  17. I'm pretty sure I wear the Asics gel venture, I'm too lazy to get up and look. I get them on Amazon and have gotten them for years. They are cheap, which is what I need and I don't have problems with them at all (unless I buy the wrong ones and then end up with a foot issue that has been slow to resolve because I'm unwilling to break my running streak of 2+ years). I tried the Ghost years ago when you mentioned how much you liked them, I didn't like them at all, so it's possible you won't like the Asics. :-)


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