On June 6, thousands of people around the world will hit the streets for Global Running Day. This annual occasion is all about embracing movement, no matter how fast you move or how far you go. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a rookie runner, you can join in the fun – but you’ll want to have the right footwear before you go.
Shopping for running shoes may seem easy thanks to the wide selection of brands, styles and colors available in today’s market. However, a shoe that looks appealing online and seems comfortable in the store may not go the distance. That’s because the right running shoe for your foot must match not only your style and size, but also, your stride.
To find the right shoe, take your time and consider these expert tips.
1. Shop Specialty
When it comes to running shoes, your options are nearly endless: You could order online or visit one of the big-box shoe or sporting-goods retailers – or you could visit a specialty store. These independently owned businesses specialize in running gear and, particularly, footwear. They stock their walls full of shoes just like the big-boxes, but they have one thing that online and chain retailers don’t: invaluable expertise.
“Run specialty stores are staffed by experts who can provide helpful advice to help you find the best type of running shoe for your activity and ensure you have the right size and width,” says Matt
Helbig, founder of Big River Running Company in Missouri. Like many specialty shops, Big River Running Company offers customers a complimentary one-on-one fit analysis with each visit to the store. By evaluating your foot, your stride and your activity level, experts at specialty shops do more for your feet than bring boxes from the back of the store.
2. Shop After Work – Not Before
There’s no bad time to visit a specialty shoe store, but your feet may thank you if you shop later in the day. According to long-distance runner and blogger Dan Lyne, your feet will swell as the day goes on. “They also swell during a run, so trying on running shoes when your feet are at their largest is going to give you the most comfortable fit,” Lyne writes for Ken Combs Running Store in Kentucky.
Visiting your local running shop in the evening may also help to introduce you to the local running community. “Many run specialty stores go beyond being a source for gear,” Helbig says. “They can be a great resource for group and social runs, so you can meet new running buddies.” Big River Running Company has hosted more than 1500 runs in and around its community, with many of these weekly runs taking place in the evenings
3. Keep an Open Mind
You know the big fitness brands, but specialty running shops will have more to offer than the usual suspects. Because they’re independently owned, these stores can pick and choose what shoes to stock without being bound by national purchasing contracts. The result is a wider, hand-selected inventory that represents the highest quality shoes on the market.
Take Massey’s Professional Outfitters, for instance. This New Orleans, Louisiana, retailer stocks big brands like Adidas alongside specialty brands like Altra, On Running and Salomon. Once you’ve consulted one of the store’s experts and found your fit, you can even shop online through Massey’s website. Owner Mike Massey has brought his inventory online and encouraged other small businesses to do the same through Locally.
With the right running shoes, you can explore new parts of your community, meet new people and stay active – just in time for Global Running Day. To find a specialty running store near you, check out Independent We Stand’s local business search.
This story is part of our ongoing ‘Local Memories, Lasting Impact’ series that highlights small, locally owned businesses and the differences they make in their communities.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.