At least once a week, we see adult men coming into our store to purchase Asics Gel-Upcourt court shoes. Everytime this happens, we issue a standard warning to buyers. While these shoes are attractively priced, there are good reasons why they are priced so unusually low.
Every court shoe company makes at least one model called a transitional model. They don’t always call them “transitional” models. Sometimes they call them “starter shoes” or “entry level shoes” or even “base models”, but regardless of what they call them, these shoes are all in the same category. They are lower quality shoes designed specifically for young players who will likely outgrow their shoes before they have a chance to wear them out.
Budget grade shoes like these are Godsend for some parents who have kids in short athletic programs and who require a specialized pair of shoes specifically for that activity. They know their child will only be wearing these shoes for a short period of time — perhaps only six or eight weeks — so they don’t want to buy something top-of-the-line. They know that even if their child loves the sport, by the time the calendar rolls around to the start time for that sport again next year, their child will have outgrown the shoes they purchased this year. So at best, these shoes will become hand-me-downs.
While awesome for parents of growing teens, budget shoes like these are problematic for a business like ours because adults who don’t know any better see that these shoes come in adult sizes (just like teen feet do) and think that they are a great deal for adults, too. Unforunately, shoes in this category are not built to last. They are not designed to worn over the long haul. So adults who buy them end up being disappointed. Instead of getting a good deal, they get a pair of shoes from which they can’t get their money’s worth.
Rarely is it a good idea for adults to buy budget shoes. Generally speaking budget athletic shoes are a bad deal that buyers end up regretting. In fact, the only time it makes sense to buy budget shoes is when you are trying a sport for the very first time. If chances are good that you will not be playing the sport eight weeks later, then it makes sense to buy shoes that are designed to last a short period of time. If, however, there is a good chance that you will be using the shoes for a extended period of time, then it makes sense to invest in a recreational grade shoe that is built to stand up to athletic punishment.
As with anything else in life, you get what you pay for. Court shoes that are designed for long term use cost more than court shoes that are designed for short term use. So if you buy a cheap pair of shoes, you should expect them to last a short period of time.