Running only 4 miles a week - do I need to bother with expensive running shoes?

Planning to start doing a 2 mile run on pavement twice a week, started last week and can do it in about 20 mins (I know, poor, hoping to get to 16 mins and will be satisfied with that).  Finding my sturdy hiking trainers to be more comfortable than my cheap Nike running shoes which left me with sore ankles the next day.
Always reading about how important it is to get gait-analysis and £100 running shoes - but seriously I'm not planning to ever run more than 4 miles a week.  When I was a kid people would run in hard plimsoles and there was none of this marketing around 'must have' fitted trainers.  My uncle used to do cross-country marathons in the scottish highlands in the 1960s before trainers existed - never had any problems with his legs or feet.


  • jon81ukjon81uk Forumite
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    I've run half marathons in the past and never had gait analysis. I just get some reasonable running Nike trainers from their factrory outlet store.
    and 10 minute per mile is a pretty decent pace!
  • Nobbie1967Nobbie1967 Forumite
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    I’ve run extensively in various running shoes and ended up buying the ones in Lidl for £10-15 as they were as good as any other. Most injuries are caused by doing too much too soon. If your current shoes are comfy, I’d keep wearing them. Most of the guff surrounding premium brand running shoes is just marketing to justify the outrageous price. Gait analysis tells you little of any use since it generally just reflects your body mechanics and trying to change it will likely result in injury.
  • edited 28 July 2020 at 10:43AM
    Manxman_in_exileManxman_in_exile Forumite
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    edited 28 July 2020 at 10:43AM
    First thing, I agree ten minute mile pace is not necessarily slow!.  Don't worry about speed - it's doing it that matters.

    Second - and I'm not trying to be funny here - but what do you hope to achieve by just running two miles twice a week?  Obviously it's better than not running four miles a week, but it's very unlikely to be enough to give you very much benefit.  It hardly seems worth the effort.  (It's only 40 minutes a week).  I mean it entirely depends on what you want to get out of it, and I don't want to discourage you by suggesting you do something outside your reach, but I would have thought you want to be looking at starting with two or three miles per run, three or four times per week, and building up from there.  (Run on alternate not consecutive days).  In fact, if what I suggest is too much for you, start off walking fast for three minutes, run for a minute, repeat until finished.  Then gradually reduce walking time and increase running time.  But if you can run two miles in twenty minutes straight out of the box, you should definitely be able to run three miles (or four) without bothering with any walking.  But increase gradually and progressively.  As Nobbie1967 says, most running injuries stem from trying to do too much too soon.

    Third - running four miles per week you almost certainly don't need £100 shoes!  But you can't run in plimsolls either.  Try asking for advice in a running shop and go for affordable shoes from a known brand.  I only wear ASICS 'cos the shape of their last fits the shape of my foot perfectly.  Look at spending £35 - £50.  You can try the internet - obviously you get no advice but you can get bargains.  Try looking at a site called Startfitness in Newcastle(?).  I buy all my running and tennis shoes from them.  I used to do a lot of hill-walking and trail-walking, and I wouldn't want to run "on-road" with trail shoes.

    Fourth - not sure how far I agree with Nobbie here:  "Gait analysis tells you little of any use since it generally just reflects your body mechanics and trying to change it will likely result in injury".  Yes it reflects your "body mechanics", but that doesn't mean your body mechanics are "good" and won't injure you.  I used to suffer terribly from shin-splints, knee pain, hip pain and lower back pain after runs.  I went to a podiatrist and he prescribed "orthotics" (specially designed and made insoles) to correct an imbalance in my body mechanics.  That was ten years ago and I've had no problems since.  But I agree that I wouldn't rely on a "gait analysis" from a shop - if you've got problems, see a podiatrist.

    (Just to explain - I'm 62 and have been a regular if infrequent runner for almost 40 years - purely to keep reasonably fit and healthy.  I currently run three or four times a week and cover between 15 and 20 miles.  I don't think you need to run much more than that - and personally I would consider anyhting over 24 miles per week a waste of my time, and anything under say nine miles a week not worth doing.  I'd love to be running ten minute miles regularly!  Do not be put off by anybody suggesting that is slow  :) .  I have never run further than ten miles in one session.  I have no desire whatsoever to run a marathon or half-marathon.  I limit my running time because I alos play a lot of tennis and golf).

    EDIT:  If you catch the running bug you won't be satisfied with four miles a week...

  • danmdanm Forumite
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    my advice would be to get the gait analysis done - you don't need to spend £100's on shoes. I always buy last seasons, in the sale!
  • olgadapolgaolgadapolga Forumite
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    EDIT:  If you catch the running bug you won't be satisfied with four miles a week...

    This is so true. I started out running because I wanted to prove to myself that I could. By the time I was able to run three miles without stopping/walking, I was hooked. I now run 35-40 miles a week and cannot resist increasing the distance. 
  • BananaRepublicBananaRepublic Forumite
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    Two miles a run is fine, start realistic, and gradually increase the duration if you can. A good torch is useful in winter, I used Sunwayman torches with AA rechargeable batteries. Very bright with a constant output, rather than gradually dropping. 

    I have expensive running shoes that I used when running. I read somewhere that expensive shoes with thick soles can encourage landing on your heels, which is bad for the knees. So cheaper can mean better. The problem is the lack of good research, and the sales blarny from shoe companies. You do want to make sure the shoe allows for your gait. If you pronate for example, the shoe should compensate. If not, you risk putting undue stress on your knees leading to pain and injury. A running shoe shop can help you choose. And no you don’t need to spend much. 
  • dricerdricer Forumite
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    If you don't want to spend loads on trainers you can find all trainers that are on sale in one place across the UK on
    I found some good trainers on there. I tend not to spend more than £50 on running shoes at any one time.
    Things are far easier than you think.
  • noclafnoclaf Forumite
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    In my opinion, comfort is the most important aspect with running shoes/trainers. I would bet that if they don't feel comfy then you may end up with injuries or aggravation when running. 
    With regards to how much you spend on running shoes, two different schools of thought here:
    1. Just find a cheap running shoe in sports direct or wherever (make sure you try it on though!), taking the risk that it may or may not work out for you
    2. Get the gait analysis and try diff trainers on in the higher price bracket but the idea is you find the shoe that works for you and then you can just keep buying those esp when they come on sale. Even the shops such  runners need do discounts. My last pair from them were £75..reduced from £120 ish.  Not cheap but they work so well for my foot shape which is wider than standard in the midfoot but with a narrow ankle.

  • Nick212010Nick212010 Forumite
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    Speaking from experience, a good comfortable fit is more important than any high tech feature regardless of price. You’re more susceptible to injury in badly fitted trainers (or football boots) such as hamstring tears or ankle injuries. Again, from experience, cheaper isn’t always better and better isn’t always cheaper. Cost does play a part in my decision making so I only buy what I can afford, but I’d rather pay £70 Sports Direct own brand for a good comfortable fit rather than £30 for a badly fitted cheap pair of Nike trainers.
  • edited 25 January 2021 at 12:04PM
    mrkdsmrkds Forumite
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    edited 25 January 2021 at 12:04PM
    A good pair of trainers is important but no need to fork out £100. I run half marathons pretty regularly and most I've ever spent on shoes is £50. As long they are comfortable, fit well and have decent traction on the outsole (if you are sticking to pavements, even this last point is a minor concern). 
    Gait analysis is a waste of time unless you've had an injury or have some joint or other muscular-skeletal issues that cause you discomfort when running. 
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