Thursday, February 21, 2019

Running Shoes and AAFES: Now a Good Option

Under Armour. They make decent running shoes now
  For the vast majority of my military career, I would go to the local Post or Base Exchange, PX for the Army and BX for the Air Force, and just buy the cheapest pair of running shoes that would fit my feet. I didn’t pay attention to tread, didn’t know about quality, and definitely only cared about how little they cost. I knew about brands such as Nike, Reebok, and Adidas and in my younger days figured that name recognition would take care of quality.  I heard all about how to take care of my feet from the Army’s fitness trainers, serious runners, and teammates who competed in high school and collegiate sports, but figured that I wouldn’t worry about my feet and legs unless they started hurting.

New Balance. The first good non-Big Three shoes I would wear.
  My thought process changed about 10 years ago when I realized I was no longer the youthful, energetic person I was at 17 and that while I had been more fortunate than most of my military friends when it came to injuries, I need to take care of my body to keep going.

Brooks. Even more models and colors than I expected
  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Nike, Reebok, or Adidas, but the local military exchange used to carry some shoe brands that looked like running shoes but I never heard of before. And it was about a decade ago, that I noticed the Army and Air Forces Exchange Service (AAFES) started carrying running shoe brands that the running world was familiar with. I saw Brooks, noticed Asics, glanced at New Balance and it was the New Balance shoes that I started using because I remembered some of the faster runners in my unit wearing them.  I also discovered that New Balance wasn’t as expensive as I thought they would be.

Asics, a very good brand that gets overlooked
  These days, the local Base and Post Exchanges carry a good variety of running shoes. Running shoes with name brand recognition and a reputation of performing well for runners.  Durability, quality, and comfort need to be emphasized and the shoe section comes out swinging. 

Brooks running shoes a plenty
  I recently visited the local post exchange and saw a various of running shoe brands that would give your average running store a run for its money, no pun intended.  Besides the usual suspects of Nike, Reebok, and Adidas, I came across Brooks, Mizuno, Saucony, New Balance, Under Armour, Hoka, and Asics.  While I have yet to try running in Under Armour shoes, I know several cross fitters who swear by them for their short distance running.  In addition to road running, I also noticed that AAFES carries trail and hiking shoes by Merrell. I’ve worn their gear before and love the traction.

Salomon. Not a brand I was expecting in AAFES

  The one brand that I did not see, and I absolutely love is the On running shoe company.  But to be fair, I’ve only seen three stores in my city carry them and one of them isn’t known for selling running shoes.

 Shoe prices ranged from 40 dollars (USD) to over 120 dollars, with most shoes hovering around the 80 dollar price mark.  Because shoe companies seem to offset their yearly models from other companies’ schedules, you can find some shoe brands models on sale or even clearance.  While most AAFES employees don’t have advanced knowledge on the various shoe brands, they are able to help determine if you need a neutral, stability, or motion control shoe and there are even a few minimalist shoes as options.  I recommend that if you don’t know what type of shoe you already need, you should bring along a friend or someone from your unit or group who knows quite a bit about running shoes to help you.

  And the best part of getting running shoes is that you do not get charged tax, which can save you even more.
Merrell. For those who like to go off the road


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