What Hell Must You Go Through To Return A Defective Running Shoe?

Neal Templin at the Wall Street Journal had a defective running shoe. Within 4 months of buying the shoes, an eyelet failed, so he took the defective shoes back to the store. This is where his tragic tale of rejection begins.

From the WSJ:

At the store, they told me they exchanged shoes only for the first month or so. Four months for a running shoe was ancient, they said. Some customers bought shoes every month.

That was news to me. I typically keep running shoes — which I use for a regimen of walking and sprinting — for a year or two. And I had never, ever had an eyelet fail in any shoe, even ones that were completely worn out.

He was instructed to contact Nike. So he did. They asked him to mail the shoes to them. So he did (for $7.) Nike “determined there was no manufacturing flaw” and mailed them back to him.

When he called for comment on his story, Nike changed their tune.

I was seeing red. Here, I had dropped $85 on shoes that were poorly made. Then I had been forced to spend another $7 only to be told, effectively, tough luck.

I spent nearly half an hour on the phone pretty much yelling at the Nike customer representative. I talked to her boss. That didn’t work either.

When I asked Nike to comment for this column, a spokesman replied that the company had in fact been honoring return requests for the same model of shoe I had bought. “It appears that your recent claim should have also been honored,” he wrote.

So we suppose the answer is — it’s almost impossible to return a defective running shoe — but it helps if you write for the Wall Street Journal. Or actually, maybe it doesn’t. According to Neal, he gave up and found a way to lace his shoes without using that eyelet.

How It Felt to Be Kicked by a Running Shoe [WSJ] (Thanks, Mike!)
(Photo: smcgee )


Edit Your Comment

  1. hills says:

    Zappos! The best!

  2. unpolloloco says:

    4 months isn’t bad…..not good, but not all that horrible. I think you would be hard-pressed to find any company that would replace shoes after being worn that long.

    • Anonymous says:

      @unpolloloco: unless you buy them from a retailer with a satisfaction garantee. Mountain Equipment Co-op in Canada will take back anything, regardless of how old it is if you simply say, “this product did not meet my expectations.”

    • phripley says:


      I’ve heard stories about folks returning shoes to LL Bean after 30 years. It’s always “no problem”. They are the champs of customer service.

      • geekgrrl77 says:

        @phripley: As native Mainer, I know this is true about Beans. I bought a pair of hiking boots from them in 1993 and wore them until about 2004 when they started ripping a little on the back and were causing a blister. They took them back no problem for in store credit. At their return center in Freeport they keep decades of catelogues for just this purpose.

        • ohnoes says:

          @geekgrrl77: You don’t think that, after using the shoes for 11 years, you shouldn’t have rewarded the company that made them so well by, for lack of a better phrase, ripping them off?

          • DePaulBlueDemon says:


            My thoughts exactly.

          • ManPurse says:

            @ohnoes: Amen.

          • wallspray says:

            @ohnoes: I would like to say I agree with is, but LL BEAN offers a GUARANTEE on their products, meaning if something were to go wrong, they promise to fix the issue. It’s part of what you paid for when you bought the boots, and I think he should be able to use that guarantee that he paid for.

            • Anonymous says:

              That guarantee should only be used in good conscience in that the product failed in a reasonable amount of time after purchase.
              11 years is a pretty good lifespan for a pair of boots. I like Bean’s products as much as anyone but even they’re not THAT good that they can create a product that won’t deteriorate with normal wear and tear.

        • AwesomeJerkface says:


          Wow. Seriously? You wore a pair of hiking boots for ELEVEN years and felt they were defective?!

      • AwesomeJerkface says:


        Returning shoes after 30 years?

        Sounds like they are the champs of letting their customers rip them off.

        • Aeroracere says:

          @AwesomeJerkface: LL Bean’s return policy, from Mr. Bean himself: “I do not consider a sale complete until goods are worn out and customer still satisfied”.

          –L.L. Bean, 1916

          I’ve returned a 12-yr old backpack after a second zipper stopped working, and they took it back, and I got a new LL Bean backpack while I was there. I was bummed the zipper broke, but I was very satisfied to buy a new one from them. :)

    • nicemarmot617 says:

      @unpolloloco: Zappos gave me a full refund for a pair of boots that died after 5 months earlier this year. They also made me a customer for life. That’s good customer service.

    • zonk7ate9 says:

      @unpolloloco: REI has a lifetime gurantee on everything including shoes. If something breaks or does not meet your expectations you can return/exchange it, even years later.

  3. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    “I spent nearly half an hour on the phone pretty much yelling at the Nike customer representative. I talked to her boss. That didn’t work either.”

    Well, no, it probably didn’t. Being an asshole to the rep won’t get you very far in most cases and if it does it’s probably just to get you out of their hair.

    Sorry his shoes bit the dust, but 4 months is a bit long. I wouldn’t think of returning shoes I’d been wearing regularly for longer than a week or two.

    • lannister80 says:

      @h3llc4t: Yeah, but he returned them because they *broke*, not because they didn’t fit or something. If the sole came off my new running shoes after a couple months, I’d be pissed too.

      • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

        @lannister80: See, when it’s 4 months old I don’t consider it “new” any more. As a few people have noted, the author didn’t describe his running habits, so he could have mauled the things in that time frame. There’s a lot left unsaid in the article.

    • Adisharr says:


      I’ve got some quality sneaks I’ve been wearing for two years. Lately Nike has been crap. You can see the mfg. differences between the new vs. old models. The glues they use now don’t work as well but I’m sure they saved them quite a bit per shoe.

      • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

        @Adisharr: I’ve never actually owned Nikes before so I can’t speak on those, but I’ve seen drastic differences in Roo sneaks as well as Chuck Taylors. It seems like shoes I’ve purchased in the last 3-4 years have worn out a lot faster in general. I currently run in New Balances that I bought about two months ago 4-5x a week and I’ve been pretty happy so far.

        • phate says:

          @h3llc4t: New Balances are great shoes. Currently the only style of shoe I wear. Mostly because they’ve lasted longer then any other shoe I’ve had, but also because they have shoes in my size (I have clown feet I swear)

          • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

            @phate: I bought the NBs on clearance for $30 and I’ve really liked them. The sole came apart the tiniest bit after about a day, but I threw some Super Glue on it and I haven’t had a problem since. Comfy, inexpensive, and the purple matches my favorite running pants, so I’m pleased. I used to run in Onitsuka Tigers but they had terrible arch support and I can’t find them readily any more around here.
            Shoe quality is funny; I remember buying a pair of Doc Martens back in 1998 for around $130 (on a 7th grade allowance, that was the equivalent for my 401k now) and they lasted barely a month. The company wouldn’t even repair them for me when the side ripped out. My work shoes are currently a pair of DM mary janes that I bought for $8 on eBay and I swear they’re indestructible.

    • Tsubasa says:

      @h3llc4t: So shoes are only supposed to last less than 4 months now? That’s a pretty crappy deal. Running shoes should last at LEAST six months, even if you “maul” them, and you’d only replace them because the cushioning wears down, not because they fell apart. Are shoes disposable now? $85 is a lot of money for something that breaks within a couple of months.

      • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

        @Tsubasa: I’m not saying that all shoes should only last 4 months. I’m saying that some shoes have a shorter lifespan than others, which is a result of them being shittily made shoes to begin with, which becomes evident when you wear them considerably. It sucks that his only lasted 4 months, but 4 months is not within a time frame that I’d feel okay returning a product. If I wore a coat for 4 months and the pocket ripped, I wouldn’t feel right returning it. Same for any other item of clothing, including shoes.
        Summary: Nikes are not worth $85.

        • FLEB says:

          @h3llc4t: I’d say a return is legitimate. You were buying a brand that is supposedly known for quality, and paying the expected premium for that. The product’s failure within such a short timespan shows that– while it was not delivered broken– the product delivered was far inferior to what was expected.

          Returns and return policies are, in essence, a company standing behind their product. It’s not unreasonable to cite a company for shoddy product or poor performance just because the failure isn’t immediately evident.

  4. Darkkeyboard says:

    Four months is not long for a shoe. Even if you run in them. Honestly, you mean to tell me that you can’t have a shoe longer than 4 months any more? What koolaid have we been drinking?

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Darkkeyboard: Actually, for a running shoe, 4 months can be long. The cushioning in the shoes wears out after 300-500 miles, depending on the shoe and the runner. If he averages 25 miles per week (a not unreasonable amount), he’d be at 400 miles after 4 months.

      Granted, an eyelet failure is a bit different, but the shoes were hardly “new”.

  5. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    I see the running store’s point…running shoes break down after a certain number of miles, and 4 months is a long time.

    However Nike should have taken them back due to the design flaw/poor manufacturing.

  6. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    4 months for running shoes (for most people) is a significant amount of time. In my opinion, that is well beyond a reasonable time for a return.

  7. Possinator says:

    4 months huh, if he runs regularly then he should have been just about ready for another pair anyways. Running is hard on shoes so 4 months of wear and tear on it then trying to return it just doesn’t seem right to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Possinator: 4 months?! You must be kidding. I run 4 times a week 8-15km, both in the city and trail running. I typically go through a pair of shoes every year, however four months wouldn’t even be long enough for the soles to wear, let alone the cushioning, support, or in this case the eyelets.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    What exactly would be a manufacturer flaw, especially just after four months, even with heavy use? The sole falling off? Logically, in four months, an eyelet should not fall apart, just like the soles should not be falling off. I get that Nike can’t respond favorably to every claim, but this was pretty legitimate. It wasn’t like someone called to complain a thread was loose.

  9. MyPetFly says:

    I know where you can get seven freshly washed running shoes for free…

  10. corkdork says:

    I’ll call “bad consumer” on this one. Yeah, shoes shouldn’t fail in 4 months, but there’s a lot of abuse that they can take in that time.

  11. cmdrsass says:

    I agree that 4 months is a long time for running shoes, but considering the shoes are assembled essentially with slave labor, you’d think Nike could buy some goodwill by just replacing the darned things.

  12. gavni says:

    I think the warranty of merchantability and fitness for use say that a shoe should last at least four months, if not longer. Since that warranty is made by _all_ retailers in most states for almost all sales, I think the journal writer had a point.

    It’s also true that a lot of consumers don’t hold sellers to the warranty fo merchantability and fitness for use. I don’t see anything wrong with someone who does though.

  13. bsalamon says:

    In the store’s defense, 500 miles is the usual amount of wear on sneakers

    • FatLynn says:

      @bsalamon: Yes, the author makes no mention of the mileage, as opposed to the time period. If he is running 25 miles/week, he should be replacing them about now anyway.

  14. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    How often did he wear the shoes? 4 months of daily runs is a lot of use, but 4 months of weekend only runs isn’t. If he normally keeps them a year or two it sounds like he’s not too hard on his shoes.

  15. Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

    I agree that four months is long, especially for shoes you wear everyday. I wear walking shoes, but only when I walk, which is almost every weeknight. BIG difference in wear between 80+ hours a week and ~10 hours a week.

    BUT, an eyelet failing is poor workmanship. You do not lace your shoes so tight that it would put such strain on something like a single eyelet. If you do that, your cutting off circulation to the top of your foot. More than likely, the material used to make the upper had a weakness, and after normal use, that weak part failed. The key word is FAILED.

    As for the reporter, I remember an anecdote from the time Michael Moore was on NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me. He said that he had received letters telling the success people had when they called to ask for info on their case with a company so they could send a letter to Michael Moore.

  16. edicius is an acquired taste says:

    I’m just curious…how does an eyelet in a shoe “fail”? Did the metal part fall out of the hole or did the eyelet itself expand, creating a tear and ultimately a “failed” eyelet?

    Four months does seem to be a long time when it comes to a product one wears frequently like a shoe. I had a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors that I bought on sale one time and within 5-6 months, the canvas had actually split/torn in a straight line about 3-4 inches on one of the shoes and was beginning to on the other. I’m not known to be particularly rough on my shoes either.

    Had to toss ’em and never once thought of contacting Converse. Maybe I should have. I had never owned a pair of Chucks before and after that pair, I’ll likely never own another one again.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @edicius: It sounds like the fabric ripped, tearing the eyelet out.
      I stopped wearing Chucks because I regularly annihilated them within 4-5 months. My boyfriend has a pair that’s lasted him 5 years, so I guess I’m just really mean to shoes.

      • SpaceCat85 says:

        @h3llc4t: Coincidentally, Converse has been owned by Nike since 2003.

        All of the Nike sneakers I’ve bought-`80s-style running shoes, for casual wear rather than actual running–tended to fall apart within a year or less, while most of the similarly-styled Asics and Reeboks that I’d bought around the same time only needed to get tossed because they eventually got too gross to clean up.

        You might want to look into P.F. Flyers (currently made by New Balance) for canvas sneakers, if you haven’t already. Keds apparently brought back Pro-Keds not too long ago, too, but I have no clue how good they are quality-wise.

    • stezton says:


      That’s unusual for a pair of Chucks, especially if they were the “regular” kind of material. I am a huge Converse fan with probably 20 pairs over my lifetime (own 10 pairs currently) and have never had that happen. Unfortunately it sounds like you had a bum pair.

    • Charmander says:

      @edicius: I hate Converse. My husband wears nothing but Converse and they fall apart pretty quickly. I don’t think he’s ever worn a pair for more than 5-6 months.

      As far as this story goes, doesn’t a shoe store have the capability to do minor repairs, like replacing eyelets (basically just a grommet) or gluing a sole back on?

  17. Ben Popken says:

    Shoulda ordered from Zappos.

  18. 67alecto says:

    I’d side with Nike on this because 4 months is a long time. When I was playing competitive tennis, I’d be lucky to get 6 weeks out of a shoe before I wore through the sole.

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      @67alecto: Exactly. I’m not seeing the outrage other than a guy not getting exactly what he wants no matter what.

      4 months running, heck, even walking in some areas is a lot of stress on a shoe.

  19. SugarSugar says:

    It’s generally accepted that running shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles. So, let’s say that the guy needs to replace at 400. If he hit 400 miles in four months, that would be 25 miles/wk, right around average for a serious runner. So, he’s right about at the edge of where he would need to replace them anyway.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    An eyelet shouldn’t fail after 4 months. Difficult to tell just how much “use” the shoes had received, but a failure like that shouldn’t happen under even the most extreme conditions.

    Using the shoes for 1 hr, 3x a week indoors is substantially different than someone who uses them outdoors rain or shine.

    Can’t say I’ve ever had a pair of shoes not last a year.

    And what is someone who works for the WSJ spending $85 on running shoes? Haven’t they ever heard of outlet stores? Who pays full retail?

  21. mattshu says:

    As someone who does a moderate amount of running, I can expect to replace my running shoes after 3-4 months. Generally that’s around 400 miles.

    Maybe the user should switch from Nike shoes, especially if they’re being used for running. Brooks is the way to go.

    • Tonguetied says:

      @mattshu: Ya, but how often does an eyelet fall out?

      There’s a difference between norman wear and tear and shoddy workmanship.

      Whether the shoe should be about ready for replacement because of wear and tear is completely irrelevant to it falling apart…

  22. post_break says:

    I would have just bought the same pair of shoes and returned the bad one. Sold the shoes on craigslist or something.

  23. mzs says:

    If you value your knees, ankles, and lower back at more than $100 you do NOT change the shoes that you use for sprinting and walking every year or two and you have a different pair for walking and running. You change your sprinting shoes every season at the worst.

    Yes and failing after a month is outside the scope of manufacturing flaw. Most serious running stores will replace shoes to two weeks out. Oh and Nikes are overpriced.

  24. jpdanzig says:

    I’m surprised that someone who works at the WSJ would spend all this time and trouble on an “eyelet failure” rather than just buy new shoes.

    On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that Nike didn’t simply fix the eyelet when he sent the shoe in.

    This sounds like a loser/loser scenario to me…

    • craptastico says:

      i don’t know why you think someone working at the WSJ makes any more than any other newpaper reporte, but they don’t. i guess it’d be ok for the writer to give a damn if he worked for National Geographic or Highlights for Childred? Think before you write, it’s not like he works as an investment banker for crying out loud

  25. lostalaska says:

    These kinds of warranty issues and defects always reminds me of the scene in Tommy Boy where Chris Farley explains how he could take a crap in a box and slap a warranty on it and all you buying is a piece of crap with a questionable warranty. Hmmm gonna go see if i can’t find a youtube of that clip… it sums this whole thing up so beautifully.

  26. jeadie5 says:

    Same thing happened to me with Nike. Fabric separated from the sole of the shoe after about 4 months. I sent it back in at my expense only to be told it was due to “external abrasion”.

  27. rytard22 says:

    Oooh, this is a good one. I used to work athletic shoe retail for years. Back in the day, my store and all the other big ones used to take anything back as defective because Nike really did have quality issues. As they improved their processes and caught onto the game saavy customers were planing, Nike eventually taught us to identify shoes whose air chamber had been intentionally popped with a pin (the defect) and cracked down hard on what was return/exchangeable. After that point, it became very hard to return a worn pair of shoes, no mater what the reason. I’d have done the same thing if I were the manager of the store. As someone commented earlier, if you care about your feet, back, etc, you’ll replace your shoes more than every couple years. A broken eyelet or not, four months is past the point of no return. It’s not like you’re gonna take a pair of pants back after four months because a belt loop came unstitched.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I had some problems with a pair of New Balance shoes after a few months, took them back to the New Balance store where I purchased them and they repaired them for free. Took a week or two to get them back, but no hassles at all.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I will never buy Nike running shoes again. The waffle pattern for the rubber sole on my new Air Pegasus sneakers wore out after only one month. The adhesive of the rubber tread came undone and the edges of the rubber would get caught under my shoes between strides. New Balance, Asics, Avia, Adidas, you name it…I’ve never had quality issues with any other brand of running shoe. With Nike you pay for a name.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Similar story, but with Under Armour cleats. Sports Authority wouldn’t take them back after they broke during a football play. I called UA customer service and they were helpful and apologetic. I paid return shipping, replacement cleats arrived. Happy customer = loyal customer

  31. BeeBoo says:

    I had to return a pair of bench-made wingtips one time because the leather of the sole was defective and wore through after wearing them just a few times. The cashier was obviously suspicious when I explained the situation and called the manager who was also suspicious. As soon as he saw that the leather was indeed defective, however, he replaced it immediately without even asking to see a receipt. My guess is that a lot of people return shoes after getting a good bit of wear out of them.

    As far as running shoes, replacing them every one or two years is only for a very infrequent runner. If this guy is only using them once a week, they should last longer than four months.

    His best bet is to switch to New Balance. It is a somewhat more responsible company than Nike, the shoes are of better quality, less expensive, and are made in the U.S.

  32. beyonder6 says:

    Personally, I’ve never had any luck with Nike products. I don’t think I’ve owned a pair of Nike running shoes that hasn’t fallen apart within a few months. You shouldn’t have to get the glue out for $100 plus running shoes.

  33. Scoobatz says:

    Possibly, my most embarrassing episode in my teenage years was when I accompanied my 70 year old grandmother to return a pair of shoes at Stride Rite with no receipt. I remember them being very basic (pure white), beat to hell, and one of the soles had begun to come loose. I’m fairly certain she paid less than $25 for them.

    Within minutes of entering the store, she was yelling at the manager that a pair of shoes shouldn’t fall apart after only one year. Incredibly, we somehow managed to walk out of there with a new pair of free shoes. And, I wasn’t even convinced she bought the original pair at that store location.

  34. rytard22 says:

    @undefined: Be careful what you say. “…and are made in the U.S.” isn’t entirely accurate. More accurate would be to say, “New Balance makes some shoes in the U.S.” Last I checked, most NBs available at most U.S. retails stores are still made overseas. I used to love customer’s faces when they’d select a NB to try on and then see the “made in China” print on the box.

    • BeeBoo says:

      @rytard22: Yup, you’re right and I do apologize. One of my pair of NB has “Made in China” on the little label in the tongue and two do not have any apparent country-of-origin designation, so I would feel confident saying they are NOT made in the U.S.

      I’m not a big flag-waver but for the sake of saving the planet I would like to see little U.S. flags on products that are at least 90% made in the U.S. I don’t know how to address the material source issue.

  35. mech says:

    I had the exact opposite experience here in Australia when returning some ASICS. I had bought online, they were about 6-9 months old, and a large hole had developed in the top of the front of the shoe, which had never happened before (I’m a long-time ASICS customer). The store I bought from (www.stringersports.com.au) told me to send it back, they sent it on to ASICS, who then offered me either a full refund or a replacement. Because I had already bought a new pair I opted for the refund – and got all my cash back! THAT is what customer service should be like.

  36. picardia says:

    It depends on what kind of runner you are. For serious runners, 4 months might be an adequate time for shoes to last. For the more occasional runner, aka the average consumer, that’s crazy; shoes should last way longer. Anyway, as the Nike folks said they were honoring returns on that model generally, there does appear to have been a real problem.

  37. ouphie says:

    The only Nike shoes I have purchased were from the clearance table at the local Nike outlet. One advantage to large feet is the clearance deals. !0 bucks saw me a new pair of gym shoes. I’ve had them a year, but only wear them for about 6 hours a week while I’m lifting weights.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous! To demand a brand new pair of shoes after four months of running in them because an eyelet came out! How wasteful! And four moths after buying them? How long does the complainer think shoes designed for high impact sports should be warrantied for?
    My business sells skateboard shoes, and we have a firm “30 day warranty on manufacturer’s defects only.” You should see what people try to claim as a defect after skating in shoes for a few months. I’m not saying that an eyelet coming loose is normal, but four months on, after the shoe is well worn? If someone tried to return to my store a heavily used four month old shoe because the eyelet had come out, I wouldn’t fall for it. And don’t think people haven’t tried similar scams to get a new free pair of shoes at every shoe store in existence.
    All I can recommend is: Buyer beware. Ask at time of purchase how long the warranty will cover your product and get it in writing if necessary.
    I will say that charging someone to ship back their own shoes to the manufacturer is pretty low, but after four months I guess I wouldn’t pay either.

  39. m.c.cookie says:

    R.E.I. has a return policy that will blow your mind.

  40. laserjobs says:

    I just returned some running shoes back to ASIC last week for a defect, I will let you guys know how it goes.

  41. Corporate-Shill says:

    An eyelet?

    A farking eyelet?

    The world is coming to an end due to a farking eyelet?

    Gosh darn, when I was a kid I could kill a pair of shoes in a week.

    No mom, I didn’t run through the mud hole with my new shoes… honest…. the mud splattered on my shoes because it was attracted to the squeaky clean surface.

  42. boricuachick says:

    I had the same thing happen on a pair of Saucony’s and I just took my running shoes to the shoe shop down the street and the fellow replaced it no problem. I think it cost something like 3 or 4 bucks.

  43. anonvmoos says:

    how is this wall street journal newsworthy in the worst economy since the great depression?!?!?

    man buys shoes made in chinese sweatshop by 12 yr old girl slaves and complains because of defect 4 months later, really? stop buying nike then and get some american shoes.

    millions of americans on track to lose home/job, wsj plays fiddle while rome burns.

  44. Boulderite says:

    I’ve never had a problem having Nike replace a faulty shoe. And if you walk and or run regularly you should replace your shoes. And by regularly I mean every 3 months, not after 1 to 2 years.

  45. MooseOfReason says:

    This gives me an idea.

    Why doesn’t Nike set up a program especially for runners, so they can rent running shoes?

    They’d pay a certain amount of money every month, and if their shoes break, Nike replaces them for free?

    Feel free to take the idea and run with it. I’m sure Nike doesn’t accept unsolicited suggestions (or complaints of defective shoes). And I’m not in the mood to start my own business at the moment.

  46. iboost79 says:

    My buddy and I, and many others, probably screwed you out of that shoe. I’m banned for life by Nike from purchasing or returning any products to them. About 10 years ago, I discovered a huge loophole in the “manufacturers defect” policy. I began sending multiple pairs of shoes valuing at least $150 to Nike. The thing was, they weren’t even defective. I just got tired of them and wanted either online store credit or a refund. Well, they ended up giving me the online store credit, which was great. I ended up with about $5,000 worth of online credit over the course of the year. I took it to the next level after that. I began bargain shopping for Nikes. I bought unpopular Air Jordans or high-priced shoes that retailed for $140+ for out-of-season prices at $50 and just sent those back to Nike. Again, they honored my claims. I ended up investing about $1500 to get another $5000 worth of online store credit. This ended for me back in 2002.

    I have since been banned by Nike. They have all my aliases, addresses, and personal information. It was fun while it lasted, but it now looks like I’ve ruined it for honest customers.

  47. rte148 says:

    don’t buy shoes made with slave labor. don’t yell at CSRs. running “shoes” are crap for you knees and ankles anyway. what a pud.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Especially with running shoes, I find it so important to ask what their return policy is… jogging back and forth within the ten or so feet of space you have whilst trying them on is vastly different from running/jogging a 5 or 10k…

    New Balance will take your shoes back no matter if you’ve worn them outside, over a month, whatever… and that is their CORPORATE POLICY… any store that tells you otherwise (and there are plenty out there that will), is LYING!

  49. erratapage says:

    Seems to me that wear and tear on running shoes applies more to the sole than to the eyelet. An eyelet should be the last thing to wear out.

  50. gte910h says:

    Shoes do not fail in this way no matter how much you run in them.

    Treads wear down, soles crack, heels unseem, but eyelet failure is not a normal way running shoes fail from wear and tear.

    He’s perfectly reasonable to ask for a replacement if shoes fail in this way.

  51. ringrose says:

    While I was still a grad student, a person from Rebook came by to talk about shoes. They design running shoes with a three month lifespan. After that, many of the cushioning materials they use have broken down. A chunk of this is actually because the kinetic energy of the impact is converted to heat which the shoe isn’t particularly good at radiating.

    I was surprised to find the lifespan was so short, too.

  52. thrashanddestroy says:

    A) If running shoes are used as — gasp — running shoes, then yes, typical lifespan for a pair is anywhere from 2-4 months depending on terrain.

    B) That should teach you to buy Nike shoes for anything other than fashion. Want good running shoes? Pick up some Asics or Mizunos. Want some cheaper running shoes that still hold quality? New Balance.

  53. Gilbert Tang, Jr. says:

    This is eerily and precisely the same thing that happened to me recently with a pair of New Balances, only I wrote them a physical letter.

  54. biswalt says:

    I am a manager at a shoe store. It really depends on the shoe and how much someone wears it. That being said 6 months is THE industry average for a running or tennis shoe. This is not based on me wanting to make more sales, this is based on how fast a pair of shoes typically wear out. 4 months is definetly out of the manufacturers defect stage in most cases, believe me I know people try to return 4 month old shoes fairly routinely. If you run on the same pair of nikes for 2 years, I can almost guarantee you that the shoe will show signs of excessive wear.

    Fact: Most people seriously underestimate how often they should replace shoes.

    Additionally fact: Close to 90% of people will try to buy a shoe that’s too small and doesn’t leave enough toe room.

    And one last note, I’ve seen shoes that have come back after only a day or two that look like they’re four years old. Now I almost always do those returns to try to keep the customer base happy, but I do returns at least once a month for customers who have simply been too rough on their shoes. And it’s not like Nike is likely to grant the store an RMA# for the return, so what Neal Templin really was asking was that he be given a free pair of shoes, comped by the store at a total loss to the store of 2 pairs of shoes plus the shipping on them all while apparently having the shoes break down at a period of time that is fairly normal and consistent for running shoes.

    My advice: A good pair of any type of shoe is going to cost at least $150 dollars or so.

    A good pair of shoes can be found at a shoe store with a knowledgable staff. The people of my city are in good hands because in addition to the store I work for we have about 5 or 6 other stores that really understand what is needed in a good pair of shoes.

    Always get your feet measured people’s feet continue to grow well past the point most people think they stop, ie. pretty much your whole life. Get shoes that have good toe room and aren’t too narrow.

    and finally, learn how to tie shoes. I know that sounds mean, but seriously most people don’t tie their shoes properly which looks less neat, which I don’t care about, but properly tied shoes almost never untie on their own.

    Get a shoe with a removable footbed and try it with some sort of orthotic support.

    Ask the salesperson to recommend a shoe for you based on your foot type. They should probably be able to think of 3 or 4 off the top of their head. If they can think of any stick around, if you get a puzzled look go elsewhere.

  55. savdavid says:

    Well, The Wall Street Journal preaches free enterprise and that businesses are good and government protection for consumers is bad. So I am happy this happened.

  56. blu3bird says:

    I refuse to buy Nike shoes anymore for the simple reason that they fall apart to quick.

    After my boycott of Nike i switched to Merrell shoes.
    I had one of the eyelets brake a little over a month of owning them. After getting off the phone with them, they sent me a new pair with 2-day air and a shipping label for the old pair.

    good times.

  57. soke2001 says:

    I have returned two pairs of running shoes to Nike and never had a problem. My only complaint is that instead of getting your money back you get only get “store credit” that can only be onsed on their webpage. Other than that, I’ve never had a problem.

  58. bumba says:

    This is why I don’t buy expensive running shoes. Don’t get the bottom of the barrel either. I usually pick up the previous model New Balances for around $50. I’ve ditched Nike, Asics years ago. New Balance all the way.

    I weigh about 140lbs and I can use a pair of shoes for maybe a year if I treat them well. I know heavier people that burn through shoes.

    Also, an eyelit failing isn’t that uncommon, especially after 4 months. Deal with it.

  59. soke2001 says:

    I have returned two pairs of nike’s and other than the fact that they only provide store credit that can only be used at their webpage, both instances have been pleasant experiences.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Not only should you be holding Nike accountable, which is notoriously a shitty company, but also the retailer where you purchased the shoes. A company like REI would have taken the shoes back with a smile, realizing this is what good customer service looks like and appreciating your business. On average people tell 12 friends about a bad experience and 1 about a good. A good company knows this and acts accordingly. The flip side is that a good running shoe, according to most orthopedic doctors, say 6 months is the life of a running shoe that is used on a regular basis (more from a cushion/support stand point).