by Josh Moeckel
Editor’s Note: Josh Moeckel is a senior psychology major at Utica College and stellar part-time employee at The Sneaker Store (and it turns out the guy can write, too, as you’ll soon see!). We’re busy trying to convince him not to graduate and move away from us because we’d like to keep him around :)
Brand Loyalty. The phrase that I always hear with customers whenever discussing branching out of their comfort zone in terms of purchasing a new shoe. It is defined as, “the tendency of some consumers to continue buying the same brand of goods rather than competing brands”. While comfort is key in buying a new running shoe, and a lot of that comfort can come from a familiar feel, expanding your sneaker horizons is never a bad thing.
When I started running in 7th grade, I did what many new runners do. I picked the shoe that looked the coolest. Comfort did not matter, but the Nike Free made me feel fast, even if I complained about running anything over a mile. Once I realized that running was becoming more important to me, I also realized that I needed a better shoe. After getting fitted for my first pair of sneakers, I settled with the Brooks Ghost. To me, they felt like running on a cloud. For years after that was all I wore. I believe I bought three pairs of the same version at once because I loved the shoe and no other shoe mattered. I was loyal to the brand. Once I started my collegiate running, I thought it may be best to try something new and see if it would change my running for the better.
I decided to go back to Nike, but this time with the Pegasus, orange and blue to match my school colors. Nike was still comfortable for me so I decided that it was an okay stretch for me. The following year, I made an uncomfortable jump for my new shoes. I was just learning about the Hoka One One brand and they caught my attention. To me, they were a cooler-looking Sketcher’s Shape Ups, and pros were wearing them which mean they had to be good. And they were right, they were the best sneaker I ever wore. The Clifton 3 from Hoka became my new favorite shoe. I never pictured myself running around in the equivalent of a moon shoe, but I loved every moment and stride.
The main thing about brand loyalty is that there is a level of comfort sticking to what you know, but you never know what else is out there unless you try. It’s okay to have a favorite shoe or brand, but also keep in mind that there could be an equivalent or even something better to it. Even if it means that you try out a few pairs but go back to your running shoe roots, at least you tried something new and were able to see what is offered. Today, I currently run in a New Balance Vongo and a Nike Vomero in my rotation of running shoes. Both offer a similar cushioned feel, but enough dynamic differences that allow me to enjoy all of my runs. I would have never expected to be putting in mile after mile if I did not get out and try something new.