Last summer I splurged and bought myself a sample gift box from Runnerbox (you can read my review here). Anyone who’s read this blog knows I’m a gearhead, and a box full of goodies was just too hard to pass up. I was so tempted to jump on the subscription box bandwagon, but wanted to give it a test run before I signed my money away.
As I wrote in my review, there were two running-themed boxes to choose from – Runnerbox and Stridebox. I chose the sample of Runnerbox because, at the time, Stridebox didn’t offer a one-time gift option. Well, I don’t remember how I found myself on the Stridebox website recently (honest!) but it turns out they now offer a one-time gift box! Hurrah!
Not being able to contain my curiosity at how Stridebox stacks up to Runnerbox – and having a PayPal balance big enough to cover the cost, thanks to a recent ebay sale – I signed up for the gift option and eagerly awaited my delivery.
That card sitting on top of the box’s contents is the “Stride Guide,” which explains each item in the box. I love this feature! Runnerbox didn’t have one in the box I ordered.
Here’s a list of my spoils:
-Chike high-protein iced coffee (Coffee? Gooooooood.)
-Vitalyte Chia Surge gel (I’m a little wary but always willing to try new forms of energy.)
-Stridebox sticker (The 8-year-old in me is so happy about this.)
-Picky Bars cookie dough energy bar (Cookie Dough? Goooooood.)
-Nuun tab (Gooooooooooooood. (#stayhydrated))
-Joshua Tree organic lip balm (It’s winter and my lips are sad. I’m looking forward to trying this.)
-Skratch Labs apples and cinnamon hydration mix (Says it’s best served hot. I’m intrigued.)
-iGlove tech-friendly running gloves (So goooooooooooood.)
To sum up:
Okay. Now that I’ve had the chance to explore both types of box, let’s do a quick run-down of which product wins in the following categories – price, design, number of items, and value for money:
[Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this review, nor was I provided either product for the purpose of a review. These are all my own opinions, and I wrote the review purely because I was curious.]
Price – Stridebox
Runnerbox is $19.95 bimonthly (plus $6.95 shipping) for a “perpetual” subscription; price jumps to $21.25 per box for a 1-year subscription, or $22.25 for 6 months. Gift box was $24.95, plus $6.95 for shipping.
Stridebox is $15 per month (free shipping) plus a $15 sign-up fee*, which I don’t remember seeing back in June when I first investigated these boxes. Gift box was a flat $15.
I’ve got to hand it to Stridebox… even if you look at the costs bimonthly, Stridebox just makes the whole thing simple with its flat rate and free shipping.
*EDIT: After I posted this review, the founder of Stridebox reached out to me to explain the $15 sign-up fee. It turns out that $15 fee pays for your first box, which is shipped to you within 5 days. Before, some subscribers would have to wait almost a month to get their first box, and doing things this way ensures that you get your gear sooner, no matter what time of month you sign up. In my original review, I said that the signup fee was “a little lame,” and, now that I understand why it exists, I felt the need to retract that statement!
Box design – Stridebox
Alright, this is a silly category that doesn’t really matter. However, the design on the Sridebox made me smile, whereas the Runnerbox was purely utilitarian:
I got 13 items in my Runnerbox, and 8 in my Stridebox.
*There is an asterisk on this winner because, if you subscribe, Stridebox comes every month, whereas Runnerbox comes every two months. Runnerbox is also roughly twice as expensive. So, if you look at what you get in two months’ worth of Stridebox, you’re essentially getting the same number of items, or slightly more, as Runnerbox, for roughly the same price spread over the two months.
Value for money – Stridebox
When you look at the rough cost per item, Stridebox wins. 8 items at a cost of $15 comes to about $1.88 per item, whereas Runnerbox’s was $2.45 for 13 items at a cost of $31.90 (when you include shipping). Even if you look at the cost per item of a Runnerbox with a perpetual subscription ($26.90 including shipping) the cost is still higher at $2.07 per item.
It gets complicated again when you factor in that Runnerbox comes every two months and you get Stridebox every month, but all the math started to make my head hurt. To keep it simple, as far as the one-off gift boxes go, Stridebox does give you better value for your money.
On top of all that math nonsense, Stridebox gives you some value-added features that I feel definitely provide more value for the money. For one, the Stride Guide. Yes, Runnerbox was crammed full of goodies, but there were no explanations for anything (granted, they were mostly self-explanatory). The Stride Guide not only gives a helpful little description of each item, but it also shares the retail price and lets you know if the items are intended for before, during, or after workouts, or anytime.(Disclaimer: I’m not sure if Runnerbox includes a guides in their usual subscription boxes… does anyone know?)
Another value-added feature doesn’t seem to be working yet, but has the potential to be pretty cool. In addition to the other information on the Stride Guide, there’s also a URL provided for each item that I assume will someday go to the StrideShop, which is “coming soon.” According to the Stridebox website, the shop will either let you buy the items directly “for a great price” or will direct you how to procure the items elsewhere, possibly with a discount from Stridebox. I love this idea of a StrideShop, because many of the items I received in my gift box are things I’ve never seen in shops near me, and I’d love to know that I have a place to go to buy more if I really like something.
EDIT: Since posting this review, I stumbled on the (open!) StrideShop. The products available right now are a little limited, but I expect it will continue to expand.
To sum up:
For me, Stridebox wins the battle of the running-themed subscription boxes. The cost is less of a headache, I like that I’d get a box every month, I appreciate the Stride Guide, and love the idea of the StrideShop, if it ever opens. Plus, to be totally subjective, I like the goodies I got in the Stridebox better than what I got in the Runnerbox. I’d rather get a few energy gels/bars and some kit than a ton of packets of granola and nuts, but that is my preference.
For people wanting more snacks – and a wider selection of box types – Runnerbox might be the way to go. In addition to the regular Runnerbox, they offer Cyclebox and Tribox plus limited-edition boxes like the race day survival kit or “new year’s fit in 15.” When I looked at their website last summer, they included gluten-free boxes, but I can no longer find that option.
It’s been several months since I last asked… do you subscribe to any boxes (running-themed or not)? What are your thoughts? Stridebox or Runnerbox? (Or other?)