In Defense of Discount Running Shoes and Walmart Bikes

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It’s really easy to get caught up with needing shiny and expensive fitness gear. But you should know, especially if you’re a fitness newbie, you don’t need the expensive, top-of-the-line gear.

If you’re a cyclist, it’s perfectly fine to go buy a Walmart bike (I have one!) instead of a mega-expensive Trek or other specialty store bike. In that same vein, it’s okay to buy discount running shoes if you’re a new runner. You don’t have to pay triple digits to get something that will get you out the door and into a more active lifestyle.

And honestly, unless you’re going to be competing at an elite level, or you have to make up for an injury of some kind, it’s just not worth it. At least not in the beginning.

I bought my first Walmart bike for $99 4 years ago. I fell in love with a beautiful 700c Thruster Fixie with red and yellow wheels. It was a single-speed road bike, and at $99, it wasn’t so expensive that I felt I was wasting my money if it turned out that I didn’t like riding.

And you know what? I love my Walmart bike!

I’ve been riding a $99 Walmart bike for 4 years, and not once did I feel in the least bit deprived that I wasn’t on an elite bicycle from a specialty shop.

Recently, I bought a second bike. I found a decent bike for about $150 at the local bike shop, and when I posted about it, I was told by a few people that my bike was essentially garbage.

It’s not fancy, but it gets me where I’m going, plus I can bang around the local bike trails on it. And once again, I didn’t spend outside of my budget on an ultra-fancy specialty bike because I wanted to make sure I was going to stick with cycling once again.

You don’t need high-end stuff to enjoy a sport like cycling. Especially you’re new. Expensive gear is a luxury, not a necessity.

And like I said earlier, if you’re not an elite athlete or competitor, you may not even notice much of a difference between a Walmart bike and a high-end road racer. Same for running shoes, if you’re new to the sport, you won’t likely even see the differences in discount running shoes and ultra-premium trail runners.

Why buy discount running shoes and Walmart bikes

By starting with cheaper equipment, you get to know your body and your habits well enough to assess your needs better. By starting out with higher-end gear, not only are you spoiling yourself, you’re spending a lot of money on features you won’t even use.

Think about it like buying a sixteen-year-old their first car. Are you gonna buy them a Cadillac Escalade or a Ford Focus? Sure, the Escalade has all the bells and whistles, but will the teenager be able to appreciate them and take advantage of them so that it’s worth the extra money?

Probably not.

Eventually, they’ll get to the point where the extra cost may be justified and worth it. But it probably won’t be within their first few years of having a license.

Fitness equipment is the same way. Look at your needs and find the most appropriate gear you can for your personal situation. Even if the internet says what you buy is garbage, if it works for you, then it works for you.

You can honestly get a good pair of shoes at Shoe Carnival for under $50. I’ve found two pairs of almost brand new Brooks (both the Ghost and the Glycerin) at thrift stores for $20 a pair. And do those discount running shoes feel any different on my feet than the expensive ones I own? Not really, no.

So if you’re new to fitness, don’t get intimidated by all the expensive gear options out there. You don’t have to spend a ton of money just to learn how to be active. You find some entry-level equipment that works well enough for you, and when it’s time to upgrade, you’ll get a real upgrade based on what you know you need, not what the internet says is important.

And if what gets you there are $99 Walmart bikes and discount running shoes you grab at Goodwill, that’s awesome.


  • Doing yoga every day
    • Super chill after doing 90 minutes of yoga on Tuesday.
      • Talking to my wife made me remember how much my physical and emotional tension is tied together.
      • Even a single flow makes me chill out.
    • Meditating at night and at any point during the day in which I feel I need to.
  • Starting Stronglifts 5×5 again
    • Starting with lighter weight, focusing on form, not being embarrassed at my spaghetti frame.



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