One of the great things about running is that it takes very little equipment. A good pair of shoes, some technical clothing, and a runner is ready to go. But the quality and fit of your shoes and attire can make the difference between suffering through your runs and enjoying them in comfort and without injury. Shopping a running specialty store is one way to sort through all the options available find what works best for you.
“Consumers should be aware that specialty running stores are worlds apart from any of the big, general sports equipment stores. The prices may be a little bit higher, but you truly get what you pay for in two respects: First, you pay for exemplary service and education, and second, you get a higher quality, more specialized shoe that is generally not offered to big box retailers,” says Rachael Fisher with CK Sports in McKinney. “It sounds corny, but, like Cinderella, the right shoe can change your life.”
What should you expect when shopping at a specialty running store? First of all, lots of questions. A good salesperson will ask how much and how often you run and on what surface. He or she will ask about any injuries you currently have or have had in the past and talk with you about your running goals.
As important as it is for the salesperson to be knowledgeable, it is also important that a runner comes into the store ready to be a good consumer. Don’t be shy—the salesperson needs to know about your training and your aches and pains to best help you. Also be prepared to have your feet checked out. Different shoes work best for different feet. Finally, be prepared to run around the store. It may feel a little silly, but everyone has a different running style. Analyzing your gait helps the sales person determine what will work best for you.
There are a few things to watch out for while shopping for running equipment. Be suspicious of anyone who doesn’t ask about your running. The salesperson should have good reasons for recommending a certain shoe and be able to explain them. The best running shoe isn’t necessarily the most expensive, the most attractive or the shoe that worked best for your friend. The best shoe is the one that works best for you.
“People shouldn’t assume they need to be ‘real runners’ or ‘elite runners’ to shop specialty. In fact, beginning runners benefit greatly from getting the gait analysis (at no cost at our store), advice, and guidance offered by people who love running and are trained in bio mechanics,” says Fisher. “Indeed all runners benefit from the community and discussion of cutting edge technology offered through specialty running stores.”