The Best Time of Year to Buy Fitness Gear

When to shop to find sales on bikes, running shoes, and apparel.

Similar to the fashion industry, there are certain times of the year when you'll find deals on fitness gear. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

It’s no secret that high-quality fitness apparel isn’t cheap. Your beloved yoga pants run in the low $80s, while those flashy running shoes are in the $100 to $200 price range. You don’t necessarily need the most recent model of a running shoe to hit the gym, but we do think it’s worth investing in apparel that will last longer and prevent injury. So we asked local store owners to share some insight into the best time of year to buy legit fitness gear and apparel.

Bikes: Fall
Like the car industry, most bike brands typically release their next-year models in the fall, explains Tri360 co-owner Kate Atkisson. So right now is the best time to find a sale on that beautiful set of wheels you’ve been eyeing. “Dealers know we need to take in our new 2013 inventory in a few months, so shops begin marking down their current inventory to make room for the new bikes.”

Running Shoes: Anytime
There’s really no “season” for footwear, says Margie Shapiro, the owner of Potomac River Running Store. The key to finding good deals on running shoes is whenever a certain model is about to update to a new version, she says. The problem is that you never truly know when that may be. If you want to keep tabs, try calling your local running store and asking if they plan to stock any new shoe models in the near future. But take note: To prevent injuries, it’s always good to update your running shoe if you’ve put about 300 miles on them or there are clear signs of wear and tear.

Swimsuits: Sundays and End of Summer
This may be obvious, but as swimsuit season ends, you’re more likely to find swimsuits on sale. On the other hand, since retailers sell swimsuits as early as March, you might even start finding deals in May, just in time for the warm weather. If you’re still searching for a suit come summer, the online shopping assistant website Shop It to Me found that after analyzing thousands of sale prices, Sunday was the best day to find sales on swimwear—you’re likely to save an average of 52 percent. 

Other Fitness Apparel: The End of Any Season
“As with the fashion industry, [fitness] apparel can be found on sale at the end of a season,” says Shapiro. “But you don’t always have the best selection!” Still, you’re more likely to find that $65 pair of long running spandex on sale at the end of winter versus the start of it. Also a no-brainer: Shop the racks at discount stores such as Marshall’s and TJ Maxx for discounted, brand-name sports bras, running shorts, and tops. We snagged one of our favorite sweat-wicking tops from there for just $10.