How to get the best deal on workout apparel, shoes and gear

This cartoon by Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half and Bend runner. Thank you “alot” for being awesome. (We know it’s “a lot” … check out her store and you’ll get it.)

Hey Run Oregon readers! I love to RUN ALL THE RACES, but I also love stylish and functional workout stuff–and all of those things get pretty expensive. But I also LOVE a good deal. No matter what your budget is, there are plenty of great deals out there, and it’s super easy once you know where to find them. Here are my favorite ways to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to workout apparel, shoes and gear.

Online. Sign up for newsletters and email updates from your favorite brands. I love Nike apparel because of the fit, and sometimes has codes for an additional 20% off their clearance section–sign up for their emails to stay in the loop, and/or like their Facebook page! (FYI, Nike has this deal going right now through 5/20/2014 using code BEFAST).

Employee stores. If you live around Portland, odds are good you’ve gotten your hands on a pass to the Adidas employee store at some point. You can get 50% off MSRP there. School district employees, athletic clubs and other organizations occasionally get emails, and sometimes they’re handed out at events also. FYI: the Nike ones are almost impossible to get.

Costco and There’s occasionally brand name stuff in the warehouse (Adidas, Champion, etc) made just for Costco at lower prices. Also, the Kirkland brand of workout wear is good quality and at a great price. I love their $30 Kirkland Signature activewear full zip jackets with thumb holes and reflective details so much that I own it in almost every color.  I’ve seen athletic shoes there as well but haven’t tried them out.

Outlet stores (Woodburn, Lincoln City, others). Be careful with outlet store–they’re not always a good deal, even on the “sale” rack, so be sure to compare the prices. But you can definitely find really good deals on apparel and shoes.

Ross/TJ Maxx/Marshalls: These stores rotate their stock frequently, and it also can vary by store. I’ve seen hydration belts, yoga mats, shoes, weights, yoga towels, and apparel at really low prices. My friends and I let each other know if we’re looking for any items that might pop up at these stores, and shoot each other a picture via text message if we find it!

Flash sale sites: Flash sale sites usually require that you sign up (for free) and have sales lasting a few days before a new sale starts. The Clymb and Planet Gear are two great options. I’ve ordered a Bonfire snowboarding jacket and Garmin Forerunner 10 from the Clymb. Like Outlet stores, do a price comparison on items you’re considering buying–sometimes One of my favorite online retailers because of their fast free 2 day shipping and excellent return policy. Once I’ve been fitted for shoes, I wait for them to go on sale on RW and then stock up on a few pairs!

Department stores (Kohls, Macy’s, Nordstrom, JC Penney, etc): Don’t ever pay full price at these places… Keep an eye out for clearance or sales! Also, in store brands. Much of JC Penney’s Xersion line is a less expensive version of Nike. When it’s on sale, it’s really cheap–they have $10 off $25 coupons, and sometimes even $10 off $10 or more!.

And of course, local running stores! Many of them have rewards programs for loyal customers. I stop by Fit Right pretty frequently to see what’s on their sales racks. I like that the Fit Right loyalty program is free, and once you’ve spent $200 you get $20 store credit. Sign up for their email list to get updates on sales and free events with giveaways!