How to Get the Most When Shopping at a Running Specialty Store

One of the most common questions I get is how to get the most when shopping at a run specialty store. I’ve worked in the industry for 7 years (man time flies) and there is so much people don’t know about local running stores! I love my job, I love helping those with similar interests, and I also enjoy learning about the newest running specialty products.

How to Get the Most When Shopping at a Running Specialty Store

Many people are often intimidated to come into a run specialty store.  There is a mindset that everyone working, and that comes into a local store is a professional, fast runner.  I can assure you that is not the case!  

In order to get the most when shopping at a run specialty store, first, get the right mindset. Everyone who walks in is treated with the same respect, whether you are the veteran runner or the first time runner.

We rarely see professional runners because the nature of the sport is professionals know what works for them and are probably given free shoes every 100 miles. They don’t need to be fitted for running shoes.

Comparatively running isn’t an expensive sport. The most important and costly item you need is a pair of running shoes.

A good pair of shoes means shoes that work for your particular gait, stride, and feet. A good pair of shoes for me does not mean good shoes for you. Similar to marriage, there is a different, healthy shoe for every single runner.

I was asked to write a post about how to get the most when shopping at a run specialty store. See here we are!

So get the most when shopping at a run specialty store? 

First, tell us all the aches and pains you have when running.  
Sore feet?
Sore knees?
Bum butt?
Shin splints? Does one leg hurt more than the other?
Did you lose half your toenails?
Don’t feel like you are rambling, the more you can tell us about your running history, the easier it is to narrow down shoes.

Second, trust us.  Running specialty store employees go through a lot of training.  In order to get the most when shopping at a run specialty store, you must trust us. While it may seem weird that only a few shoes out of a dozen are the best fit for you…it’s what we are here for. Also, trust us that your foot size might be different than you always thought. It happens, feet change.

We have looked, studied, and helped dozens of people with shoes.  Anyone working the floor in run specialty has done many gait analysis and fitted people for running shoes. Trust that when we pull a neutral shoe, you don’t need that high-end stability option despite the shoe looking cooler.

Third, ask questions:

Most running stores are a wealth of training information.

This could be anything from training plans to local races. Online resources can tell you a lot, but they aren’t specialized in your area. You might want information on local run clubs, high school running, trail running, training programs, or where to do your long runs. Run shops know all of that. Information relevant to Florida will not be as relevant to New Jersey. The more you ask, the more information and advice you get the most when shopping at a run specialty store.

Most local running stores also have group runs, fun runs, and activities to bring the running community together. Running can be as social or solitary as you want.  Half of run specialty is customer service, and it doesn’t just stop when you have a running shoe that fits.

In summary, a running specialty store is a great resource well past shoes. First, to get the most when shopping at a run specialty store you must trust the employees. You can find out information about gear, training and local events if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.  I also wrote an ebook all about running shoes.

Questions for you:

What tips or advice do you have about visiting a running specialty store?

Have you ever been properly fitted for running shoes?