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Why It's Better to Buy Running Shoes at a Specialty Store

Why It's Better to Buy Running Shoes at a Specialty Store

New kicks make me happy. And I'm even more happy when I know I'm buying just the right pair for my feet type and running habits. I'm notorious for purchasing all of my shoes online, and after receiving a pair a few weeks ago in the mail — a high-end pair that received rave reviews online — I thought I'd be all set for another year.

After wearing the shoes around the house, something seemed a bit off. My heel was slipping — even though I knew I couldn't go bigger or smaller in size — and they just felt heavy and awkward. So when a friend recommended that I go to a specialty running shoe store, I shipped them back and off I went.

From the moment I entered the store, I was greeted by a gentleman who was outfitted in neon running shoes and athletic wear — certainly looking the part, which I liked. I told him that I needed some new running shoes, explained my running style, and from there he measured my feet (who knew my right foot was a half size bigger than my left?!), looked at the height of my arches, and then had me walk around the store in my socks to see if I was overpronating (my foot rolls inward when I walk), or if I was supinating (it rolls outward instead). In total, he took down information about my foot type, normal running distance, past and current injuries, pronation, foot length, and instep height.

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He made some shoe suggestions and brought out a few pairs for me to try on. I liked the fact that he didn't push the flashy shoes with all the bells and whistles on me; instead, he showed me some styles that were reasonably priced (the same price as online!) and explained why he selected the ones he did.

With each pair, he asked that I walk around the store and tell him my initial thoughts as soon as I put the shoe on and explain what I loved and what I hated. Naturally I asked him a million questions, and he cheerfully answered. He even watched as I ran outside wearing my favorite choices. My final selection was an easy decision, and I was fully satisfied with my purchase.

The entire experience was pleasant and personal, and I left the store with a pair of running shoes that I would have never purchased without the help from a professional, expert runner. Both the brand and the style were something I would have steered clear from previously, but I'm so happy I stepped outside of my running shoe box — and stepped away from all my online stores!

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