How to get FREE Running Shoes
When I was in high school, my uncle told me that if I ever started running twenty-plus hours a week, he would hook me up with running shoes. At the time, I laughed because I was not a runner at all and the thought of running even ten hours a week sounded crazy to me. Little did I know, a few years later I would learn to love running and end up running marathons. My uncle was true to his promise and got me a lot of free running shoes from his even larger collection of free running shoes that he has gotten over the years. He also showed me a trick or two on how to get my own free pairs of running shoes and this was by becoming a product tester for Nike.
There are two types of tests that you can do for Nike, on-site or off-site. I have participated in both, and liked both for different reasons. You get set up to be a product tester in the same way for either on-site or off-site. To get set up you go to the Nike product testing website and fill out the application. The application is easy to fill out and takes about five minutes to do. The application asks questions about what type of sports you do and your activity level. It asks foot size, height, address, and a few other simple questions. After you fill out the application you just have to sign their waiver and then it takes 2-3 weeks to hear back from them about if you have been accepted to be a tester or not. Getting accepted as a tester just depends on what they are needing as far as testers go with sports/activity level/and shoe size.
Off-site testers: The most common way to become a tester is by being an off-site tester. An off-site tester can live anywhere because Nike will mail the shoe directly to you. The shoe will come with the specifications but when you are mailed the shoe you will wear the shoe while you are exercising and you keep track of what you do. When I did my product testing, I kept track of my mileage and what type of conditions I was running in. I got to use the shoe for a couple of months. After the test is over, you mail the shoe back to Nike and they look at the shoes for ware. As long as you are timely and answer all their questions, they should send you a new pair of shoes to test, usually about every three months depending on what they need tested at the time. The neat thing about doing this product testing is they send you shoes that aren’t on the market yet so you get to use them before anyone gets the chance to even buy them.
On-site testers: If you live close to a Nike facility, you can be chosen to be an on-site tester. This is a very fun event, I have done it once and it is all done in one day. You go to the facility, and they have a room set up with a bunch of tables with different shoes set out. You try on a shoe, run around their big track, write down your thoughts on the shoe’s comfort, etc., and then do the same thing with the next shoe. I did walk away with a free pair of shoes and this is the way that my uncle has gotten so many free shoes because at every testing event they have a bunch of drawings where you can pick from their selection of shoes that they have to give away. They pick a lot of names so most people do walk away with a pair of free shoes. They also give you a pass to the Nike employee store for participating in their product testing. I thought it was a very fun gig.
There are other companies that do product testing like Nike does, I will include links to their applications. I have never actually done testing for these companies but I imagine they are done similar to the way Nike does theirs.
Saucony does product testing, they have a one page application to fill out. I just filled it out because I love Saucony shoes and would love to get some for free to test and the application took me 4 minutes to fill out. They just asked me mostly about my running style and shoes that I currently use.
Brooks also does some product testing, their application looks a bit more involved than the past two. They have two types of testers that they need: field testers (where they send it to you), and “lab rats” where they bring you into the lab and do tests on you. There are separate applications depending on which you would rather do.
New Balance is another company that does product testing. They have the adult applications but also have a section for children’s products that they need tested (with adult consent of course). There are five sections to this application and you have to fill it out all at once, so make sure that you have a couple of uninterrupted minutes when you are filling this application out.
Reebok also does product testing. They send a free product after you have completed their test as compensation, so that is a great incentive! They do have a stipulation where you cannot test for them if you are currently testing for another company, so keep that in mind if you are doing multiple applications. They have the option to apply at that current time, or you can do their “quick application” and enter in your email to get a reminder email to apply at a later time. Their application has six sections but each section is fairly quick to fill out.
GH Sports has product testing for more than just runners. They have products for runners, bikers, triathletes, swimmers, or just people who work out consistently. Their application is just six questions long and then they will send you an email with their decisions on if you have been accepted to be a product tester or not.
Under Armour does product testing. They require you to create a profile and then they will send you an email within 20 minutes with further instructions on the application.
I hope this gives you some ideas, there are a lot of sports companies that do product testing and so if one company doesn’t need a test with your specifications, chances are another company will. I had a lot of fun when I did my testing for Nike and it was nice to get a free pair of shoes to use. It was definitely worth the little extra time that it took to complete the surveys. If there is a brand of shoe that you really like that isn’t on the list, I would even suggest checking out their website to see if they do product testing. Not every company does, but a lot of them do. It is worth a shot to apply and get free shoes! Hope it works out for you!