New York Knicks point guard and NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury isn't unique in that he plays ball in his own signature line of sneakers.
What is unique about Marbury's line of Starbury sneakers is the price. They cost just $14.98, unlike other basketball players' namesake sneakers, which can cost consumers more than $200 a pair.
But a new study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, backs what Marbury and the kids who line up to buy his shoes figured out long ago: Expensive sneakers are not worth the money.
The research findings are based on a comparison of nine pairs of sneakers, bought from three different manufacturers, in three different price ranges. The cheapest cost between $56 and $63, medium priced were $84 to $91 and the high-priced cost between $98 and $106.
Plantar pressure — the force produced by the impact of the sole hitting the ground — was recorded in eight different areas of the sole, using a special device called a Pedar, which was attached to the shoes. The shoes were tested by 43 males on a laboratory track. Nine volunteers also tested the shoes on a treadmill to see if the support would vary.
All of the shoes, regardless of price, allowed for better support than running barefoot, according to the study headed by Rami Abboud of the Institute of Motion Analysis Research at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, U.K.
While different models performed differently for different areas of the foot, overall there were no major differences among the shoes irrespective of brand or price, Dundee and his researchers found.
Plantar pressure was lower in the cheap to moderately priced shoes, although this difference was not statistically significant.
Runners were also asked to rate the comfort of the shoes from “least” to “most comfortable imaginable,” using a validated graded scale.
Comfort ratings varied considerably, but there were no obvious differences among the shoes. And price was no indicator of comfort score, the study found.