Country fitness: These boots aren’t made for walking

I was feeling smug earlier reading City girl Katie’s experiences of fitness in London – expensive classes, gym joining fees and bitchy pilates prima donnas! I congratulated myself, thinking of all those free country walks I can go on around our neighbourhood without parting with a penny. In our Essex town we’ve got the best of both worlds – good amenities and shops, although you sometimes have to drive further than you would in London to get to them, and we are surrounded by beautiful countryside. We even have a quiet nature reserve within walking distance of our house.

But the smugness began to dissolve when it dawned on me that I need to put my hand in my pocket to buy a new pair of trainers. My knees were aching a bit yesterday after all the walking last week, and it occurred to me that my trainers might be too old and not properly supporting my joints. According to various walking websites I’ve checked out, I should replace my trainers every three to six months and my existing ones are far older than that. The problem is that these cost about £35 from Clarke’s – not exactly cheap – plus I’m not sure if they’re proper running trainers. I bought an almost identical pair about eight months ago from the same shop but they aren’t as comfortable and have developed a hole in the toe – my fault for forgetting to spray a waterproof coating on them. But I’ve visited our local sports shop and most of the trainers there cost about £60. Not to mention that the staff were more interesting in gossiping with each other than assisting me. I don’t really want to pay as much as that – especially if I’ll have to replace them frequently! Surely there must be a better solution?

The cheapest running trainers I could find on JJB Sports’ website are £24.99, reduced from £44.99. Still not exactly bargain basement though. Ebay could be a possibility – there trainers sell from upwards of £6, but am I’m brave enough to buy them without trying them on? Especially as one of my feet is half a size bigger than the other. The walking websites recommend you get fitted for walking shoes and even test them by jogging around in them in the store. Plus, it’s probably a false economy to buy cheap trainers altogether, especially with my Terrett knees, so I should pick a decent brand.

A solution has occurred to me though. If I can find the a good brand of running shoes for sale on Ebay and in a store, I could try them on cheekily in the store and save money by still buying from Ebay but knowing they fit!

What hidden costs have you come across while trying to get fit? Have you found a way around them? Leave a message and let me know.

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9 Responses to Country fitness: These boots aren’t made for walking

  1. Sam says:

    So how are gyms the frugal option?  – I can\’t see the answer in your blog.
    And what do gym-goers wear on their feet if not trainers?

  2. Christine says:

    Sam, these two ladies are trying to work out how to take exercise frugally. They haven\’t got a life where exercise is involved in their jobs you see she says laughing. And obviously walking or riding a bike to go places maybe doesn\’t suit their images of themselves (quiet giggle again). As for special trainers for walking in – that seems a step too far (oooooooooh bad joke). I have a set of sensible lace ups that can be worn for walking in as well as for going places in. But then – I only buy sensible shoes that will manage walking and look decent. It\’s possibly an age thing in my case – or I\’m just not given to spending money.

  3. piper says:

    Hi Sam – Thanks for your comment. The piece about the gym being frugal is Katie\’s blog entry below this one.
    Hello Christine – you must have stronger knees than me (all that working on the allotment) and obviously a more sensible shoe-buying attitude!  I hate the current fashion for flat ballet shoes as whenever I wear them to walk any distance I end up with aching knees and feet.  xxx Piper

  4. Matt says:

    Hi. I bought some running shoes from aldi not so long ago for £12. They\’re quite comfortable. I\’ve also been sworn against clarkes shoes by a friend who tells me they have no support! Hope that helps 🙂

  5. Christine says:

    Flat ballet shoes are but slippers designed for outdoors Piper aren\’t they? I\’m talking about old fashioned lace ups such as granny would have approved of – think something like the old fashioned Clarks shoes except that with my big wide feet they come from a specialist shop and at those prices they need to be hard wearing, comfortable and have mileage in them. But I\’ve had to walk a lot of distance all my life so I suspect that it\’s as much practice and habit as footwear. If you don\’t walk regularly you will also soon notice when you try to get back into the swing of it no matter how good or bad your shoes/trainers.

  6. NICKY says:

    hi piper
    were abouts do u live in essex i recomend sports world at southend airport they do lonsdale trainers below the 20 quid mark
    i use mine every day down the gym talkin about gyms if i recommend u as a friend you can have a free week and if you join i get
    a fiver a month off come down 2 la fitness this w/kend for nought x

  7. piper says:

    Thanks Matt – Aldi is a brilliant suggestion!  Don\’t know why I didn\’t think of that before!
    Nicky that\’s very kind – I\’m in Billerwiccy so could check out sportsworld. There is one in Brentwood so might have a look in there. Southend\’s a bit far for me but sounds like a good deal. Thanks for thinking of me!
    Christine – you northerners are always tough!  We southerners are just soft! xxx

  8. Jerry says:

    Hi Piper,
    Trainers aren\’t necessarily the best value for money if you\’re looking to get fit. Try some walking boots. Don\’t go for the expensive ones from a specialist store, just go to your local Army surplus shop, or keep an eye on what\’s coming up in Lidl. 3 years ago I paid £15 for a pair of steel toecap safety boots which have taken me over loads of rough terrain.
    The only problem is that once you\’re into outdoor exercise, you\’ll be hooked & want to go all sorts of places, so you\’ll happily blow your budget just to get to the start of a good walk! Plus you\’ll want waterprofs, really good socks, maps, guidebooks etc., then maybe consider camping in order to stay in an area where the best walks are. Suddenly the expensive guided walking holidays will seem so attractive. Cost so far, about £80000 – £100000! But that does include buying a holiday flat right on the boundary between seaside & mountains & which has potential for income….
    Other fitness ideas – well you\’re in Essex so no mountains or moorlands there. But you do have a fabulous coastline & estuaries. How about investing in a small rowing boat & exploring all the wet wilderness? Rowing will get you, family & friends really fit (incidentally I have a small rowing dinghy for sale). Or if you don\’t feel like getting wet feet, how about a bicycle? Mine was rescued from rubbish & cost two new tyres & a wheel to get going.
    OK, you\’ve discovered why I\’m frugal the rest of the time – it\’s so we can invest in & enjoy fitness & walking the country. Let\’s face it, unless you\’ve got a reason to be frugal & can enjoy life then it would be pretty miserable wouldn\’t it?

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