Who knew, you can now get free shoes!
As it turns out, shoe companies are willing to give you free shoes in exchange for you testing and providing feedback.
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I actually wrote a post a while back about Nike’s product testing program where they send you free shoes to test.
How Does Shoe Testing Work?
Most companies have a testing and evaluation department where they send out samples and products to a select group of consumers in order to get feedback that can be used to improve the product.
As a tester, you have to sign up to become a product tester for one of the shoe companies listed below.
Once you’re approved for the test program, they’ll send you the product (in this case, a pair of shoes) along with a prepaid shipping label so you can send it back after the test period is over.
You then wear the shoes for a few weeks, putting them through the normal wear and tear.
At the end of the test period, some companies require you to send the shoes back so they can evaluate them in their lab.
Now, some companies will actually send you a free pair after the test for you to keep. Others may compensate you with cash or gift cards. Either way, they’ll give you this information when you’re signing up.
Below, I’ll list the companies that I was able to find which have this type of program.
You’ll notice that these are all athletic companies – fortunately, or unfortunately, athletic companies are the ones who usually have these programs. After all, it is far more important to see how a pair of running shoes holds up over time compared to fashionable pumps.
They’ll want to know if you fit an athletic demographic because these will mostly be running shoes, tennis shoes, that sort of thing.
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Yeah, no free designer shoes here, sorry!
However, if you’re athletic and want to try some athletic shoes, feel free to sign up for one or all of these programs.
Yes, THE Nike!
They actually have two shoe testing program.
- One is on-site
- and the other remote.
If you live near a Nike a testing facility you can apply to become an on-site tester where you will have to go in and participate in their tests.
The remote testing program is what I’d think most of you would want to do. For that, you apply online and if approved, are sent a pair of shoes you can wear for a certain amount of time, then you complete a survey and share your experience.
ASICS is one of the biggest manufacturers of athletic shoes. Their program is called ASICS Roadtester.
The good thing about this program is that you get an immediate reply to your application, so no waiting around to see if you were approved or denied.
Sometimes you have to send the shoes back. Sometimes you get the shoes back after that.
These guys are almost exclusively focused on runners, so they’re going to ask you a bunch of running-related questions on the application.
- What surfaces do you run on?
- What type of running events or marathons do you participate in?
- How much do you run each day?
- How old are you?
You’ill always have to return the equipment after testing it for these guys, so this is perhaps more like “free rental shoes.”
They won’t charge you for the shipping, though. They’ll send you a prepaid shipping label with the shoes so you can send them.
Like most companies, these people will mail more products to diligent product testers who put in their best effort.
For more details about NewBalance’s Wear test program read How to become a New Balance product tester.
This company is looking only for daily athletes, so you’ll need to be exercising daily to be applicable here.
Although Under Armour is more known for their T-shirts and Shorts, they also make shoes, and as such they also have a wear test program.
And yes, Under Armour has product testing for shirts and clothing as well.
Remember that though most of these companies’ main focus is on athletic gear, hobbyist athletes are completely welcome.
Some companies are very stringent about what type of athletes they want to test their products.
Runners have a strong advantage on all of these applications, which is great news for you runners out there!
It’s worth noting that some of these companies also offer “kids” products, too. So even you busy parents might be able to snag some shoes for your little ones, as long as you’re willing to fill out the product experience surveys and such.