I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hearing a lot about subscription boxes lately. I have friends who get Birchbox – monthly packages filled with beauty and grooming products – and have been seeing ads on Facebook for subscription boxes of pet toys, shaving kit, healthy snacks, full meals… the list goes on. Clearly, subscription boxes are so hot right now. The way it works is that you pay a monthly fee and the company will send you a box full of samples of various goodies. Some, like Birchbox, encourage subscribers to write reviews of the products, and for each review you get so many points, which you can then cash in for more goodies.
One of my co-workers is pretty much the Birchbox queen. She reviews her way to so many points that she can cash them in and buy fancy swag for only a few bucks. She’s also shared some of the edible samples with me, and I have to say I’ve quite enjoyed this perk. The way she described the whole thing sounded so cool to me that I wanted to jump on the bandwagon, but most of the samples Birchbox sends would go to waste on me, since I don’t wear makeup or use many of the products they include. So I got thinking – with so many subscription boxes floating around out there, what kind would I be interested in?
Me? A runner and a gearhead? Hmmm…
Let me back up a second. I had poked around the internet a few months ago to see if there were any running-themed subscription boxes, and my searches yielded two: Runnerbox and Stridebox. There were also some general fitness-themed boxes: Bulubox (vitamins, supplements, health, and weight loss), Fitbox (healthy food, supplements, workout gear and apparel, recipes, etc.), KLUTCHclub (choose from women’s, men’s, or mom’s boxes full of snacks, beverages, supplements, and personal care products), Kona Kase (nutritional products, training tips, and inspirational quotes)… and those are just a few. To read other bloggers’ compare/contrast reviews, check out here, here, or here. Again, I’m sure those are just a few!
I narrowed my interests down to Runnerbox and Stridebox, but from there struggled a bit with which to choose. Here are the basics:
- Can choose from Runnerbox, Cyclebox, or Tribox
- Once you select Runnerbox, you can then opt for the regular box, a gluten-free box, or the limited edition race day survival kit
- Runnerbox is a bi-monthly subscription costing $19.95 per box, plus $6.95 shipping for each box. Or, you can opt for just one year at $21.95 per box plus shipping, 6 months at $22.25 per box plus shipping, a 2-box starter kit for $24.95 per box plus shipping, or a giftbox – also $24.95 plus shipping.
- The website’s description: “RunnerBox is a subscription based box for runners, triathletes and other active people. It’s a mini shoebox filled with running products, mailed to your front door. It has everything from energy products, gels, chews, protein shakes/supplements, nutrition bars, skincare, to safety products and other fun accessories! Some products will be brand new (but personally tested) on the market, and some will be tried and true favorites. With so many products coming out on the market, leave the trials and testing to us, we’ll search out the best and send them to you!“
- You can cancel your subscription anytime
- Stridebox has only one option, which contains “6-8 products” per month
- It’s a monthly subscription costing $15 per box and shipping is free
- The website description: “StrideBox is a monthly subscription box service for runners. This means, each month, as a StrideBox subscriber you’ll receive a selection of products focussed on enhancing your trainings, workouts, and races. Our products come from both well established brands as well as emerging companies and smaller businesses. The monthly box is delivered direct to your door, and could include anything from energy bars, gels, and other foods to apparel, gadgets, and other fun extras. Each month is a surprise, and allows you to discover and experience new brands and products without doing all the legwork of finding them.“
- You can cancel your subscription anytime
- This part isn’t active yet, but the website says it will soon feature a StrideShop where you can buy more of the products you received in your box “at a great price”
To be honest, I was leaning toward Stridebox because it’s cheaper, it comes every month, and the description mentions apparel, gadgets, and fun extras, whereas Runnerbox’s description has more emphasis on gels and food, and I’m obsessed with kit. In the end, Runnerbox got me because of their giftbox option – this allowed me to try the box without having to subscribe, since I’m not sure I’d trust myself to cancel my subscription (“Free” running stuff in the mail every month?! Way too tempting to “forget” to unsubscribe!).
Anyway, on to my review!
Even though the description called it a “mini shoebox” I was still surprised at how small the box was:
However, it was completely crammed full of stuff:
I was a little surprised at just how much stuff they had fit into that little box! Here was my haul:
- Kay’s Naturals protein cookie bites, honey almond flavor (gluten free)
- Honey Stinger organic energy chews, fruit smoothie flavor
- Cherry Bay Orchards dried Montmorency cherries
- Eden Quiet Moon packet of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
- Jelly Belly quick energy Sports Beans, assorted flavors
- Jelly Belly protein recovery crisps Sports Beans, chocolate flavor
- Smooch mango, pineapple, and banana fruit snack fortified with chia seed and acerola
- The Good Bean fruit and no-nut trail mix bar
- Nuun tab, lemonade flavor
- Rani’s Yummy granola, key lime flavor
- Fluid Performance natural sports drink powder, raspberry lemonade flavor
- 2Toms blister shield powder
- Runnerbox “The original multifunctional seamless wear” headband/snood/wristband/hairband/balaclava thing
- Two informational cards, one about Sports Beans and one about 2Toms blister shield products (no coupons or promo codes)
I assumed from Runnerbox’s website description that I’d be getting a lot of energy products and food, but I was still a little disappointed at just how little “other” stuff I got. The blister shield sounds interesting – you pour it into your socks before you run and supposedly it prevents blisters – and the Runnerbox-branded multifunctional head wrap thing will definitely come in handy as I navigate running with my new short hair, but that was all. I had read reviews of other Runnerboxes containing safety lights and lace locks and I got a little kit envy and had to remind myself of the energy-product-heavy description.
As for those energy products, I’m looking forward to trying them out! Now that I’ve signed up for my first half-marathon I expect to start doing some longer runs soon and I’m sure I’ll need all the energy and carbs and electrolytes I can get my hands on. It’ll be interesting to see if I prefer chews to beans, and I can use these products as a springboard for testing others to see what works best for me. I was happy to get another Nuun tab too, because I’ve grown to love it after buying my first tube on National Running Day.
All in all, though it was fun to get a box of running swag in the mail, I don’t think I’d subscribe to Runnerbox. I’m not sure the contents* are worth the nearly $30 every two months; for that price, I’d rather go down to City Sports or wherever every two months and pick out my own products to try, and pick flavors that appeal to me rather than get them at random. And while I like granola and cookies and things like that, I might be more apt to consider subscribing if, instead of those products, there were other chews or gels to try, or another bit of kit. If I won the lottery or worked in a field that pays a little better than librarianship maybe I’d consider subscribing just for grins, but I don’t think Runnerbox is for me.
(*I have wondered how different the contents of a giftbox are from a regular subscription box, or if they’re different at all. I can’t really tell from the website. Does anyone know?)
Now, Stridebox on the other hand… half the price for boxes every month instead of every two? I know that works out to be about the same cost, and that Stridebox says it contains 6-8 samples whereas my Runnerbox contained 12, but every review of Stridebox I’ve seen has shown about the same number of samples as Runnerbox, so technically that ends up being twice the amount of goodies for roughly the same price. Oh, so tempting. Someone talk me out of giving it a try! 🙂
[Edit: Check out my review of Stridebox!]
(**Also, just a disclaimer: I wasn’t asked to review Runnerbox or provided with one to review. I bought it out of curiosity and decided on my own to review it. All opinions are my own and very well may differ from that of other Runnerbox samplers.)
Do you subscribe to any boxes (running-themed or not) or have you been tempted? If so, what are your thoughts?