A little bit of this…

I’m the first to admit it. I love sample packs. Some might even say I collect them. There’s something about trying new products that you never even knew existed.

After all, that’s how I found my hot iron gel.

Lately, I’ve been hearing rumblings about niche sample boxes. They’re actually a new spin on an old classic, sort of like your modern wine, cheese or beer-of-the-month club, but with a bit more packaged flair.

Today’s specialty boxes feature samples in just about every genre – from beauty products to vitamins to canine treats.

So when I heard about StrideBox, a sample boxes filled with running accessories, gear and snacks last month, I was intrigued. My friend Cori had previously purchased (and loved) the box. She assured me I wouldn’t be disappointed by the product inside.

I plunked down my money ($15 per month) and ordered the May box. Two weeks later, a cardboard box stuffed with products any runner would desire arrived in my mailbox.

I danced a jig after I brought the box into my house. Really, I tore it open, eyed the contents and swirled in a circle, box in arms. There wasn’t one item I didn’t want to try inside.

Here’s what I found inside the May StrideBox:

box1My StrideBox!

The Klitch – a clip that attaches your (sometimes dirty) sneakers to the outside of your gym bag. Nifty and handy.

Honey Stinger Energy Chews – fuel for a long run. My running partner Gary swears by these when he ups his distance. I’ve been meaning to try them and now I will – in cherry cola flavor.

VFuel endurance gel – I’m always looking for a new gel! I’m traditionally a GU girl, but will always try new gels.

Betty Lou’s Just Great Stuff bar – the name alone wins me over. This is a vegan, gluten free, organic recovery snack bar. While I’m not on a restricted diet, I appreciate that there are fuel options for athletes dealing with this hurdle. Note: I just ate it and it was rather tasty!

Bonk Breaker Bites – a peanut butter and jelly flavored energy bar. I scarfed this mini bar down on day 1. Delicious!

Perfect Fit protein powder– vanilla (my flavor!) vegan protein powder. I’ll be trying this in my next banana berry smoothie.

Sports Beans – carbs and electrolytes in a jelly bean. Yes please! I’ve had these before, but only in rather odd-flavored sample packs received with race swag.

Clean Ethics Bottle Bright   water bottle cleaner tablet. My fuel belt is in dire need of this product.

Pro-Tec Athletics Blister Bands – I totally could’ve used this item last week, right after my 10-mile race. But I can always use these after future longer races.

The catch? You don’t know what you’ll be getting before the box arrives. That said, you know that when you sign up and pay for your box. That’s part of the allure. In turn, you receive a box full of goodies which is akin to digging into your stocking Christmas morning!

I should note, my StrideBox purchase was my second attempt in as many months in the subscription box craze. My first box came from a different company and I wasn’t impressed with its contents. But I learned from that experience. I later realized that I wasn’t completely interested in the products I was signing up for, just the idea of the sample box.

My advice? When selecting a subscription box, make sure you’re in love with the  genre or you will never use the enclosed items.

According to StrideBox, the idea is to help runners try new products without having to commit to large purchases or the legwork of finding those products.

Each box also comes with an online shopping and price guide, to help you find the (and purchase) the products you’ve tested.

Or, if you’re obsessed with samples like me, you can simply wait for your next box to arrive!

Have you tried any type of subscription box? What did you think? What sort of samples would you want delivered to your door? Have you later purchased items you first tested in a subscription box?