I am a member of RoadRunnerSports.com VIP plan, the plan is simple. You pay a subscription of $39.99 a year and for this you get 10% discount, free shipping and after five pairs of shoes purchased in one year a $100 voucher towards another pair of shoes. The last thing is obviously the real incentive but five pairs of shoes is a fair amount of mileage, say somewhere around 1750 miles a year, doable but only if you have consistent months of 145 or greater throughout the year. Anyway in Saturday’s mail arrived my $100 voucher, which was available to spend through till September 30th, without waiting any time I was on the phone and it was spent. Another pair of Asics Kayano 14s to add to the collection, they’re being retired soon so I wanted to have enough pairs to see me though the next training cycle.
However this got me thinking about the cost effectiveness of the program and so after some number crunching here’s my verdict. As mentioned my shoe of choice is the Asics Gel Kayano 14, (RRS don’t carry my trail shoe); these have the hefty retail price of $136.99 so here’s the math, first without the membership:
136.99 x 5 = 684.95 including shipping (in fact a closer look at the website revealed all shoes get free shipping unless you expedite the them)
And now with the membership
136.99 x 5 = 684.95 x 90% = 616.50 + 39.99 = 656.49
And now finally with the membership and voucher
136.99 x 5 = 684.95 x 90% = 616.50 + 39.99 = 656.49 – 100 = 556.49 ($111.30 a pair)
Hmm pretty close only $28.46 without the voucher, lets look at another pair of shoes, Asics 2130s retail price $96.99
96.99 x 5 = 484.95
96.99 x 5 = 484.95 x 90% = 436.45 + 39.99 = 476.44
96.99 x 5 = 484.95 x 90% = 436.45 + 39.99 = 476.44 – 100 = 376.44 ($75.28 a pair)
This time it’s even closer with only $8.51 difference without the voucher.
There are other variables I could run for example four pairs of Kayano’s nets you a saving of only $14.81 ($3.70 a pair) and four pairs of 2130s actually costs you an extra $1.19! The other perk of the membership is 10% off of everything so the more you spend the more you save, that is off course assuming that the sticker price is not beatable at your local running store or better still; the outlet mall!
So in conclusion the VIP membership seems to really only cost in if you reach the five pairs voucher, the good thing is that the shoes do not have to be specifically for you, you can order them for anyone in you family, one of my five pairs was for my wife, which does makes it a bit easier, but without reaching that level you could probably find shoes at a lower price locally or online and who doesn’t love a bargain!