I spent almost two years working at a running specialty store in Atlanta, GA and I absolutely loved it. I fit people of all abilities, all different shapes and sizes, every age imaginable that would want running shoes, a wide range of goals in mind and most importantly every foot type under the sun.
I wanted to take the time to write this because of what I read on other running blogs and Facebook groups when it comes to buying running shoes.
There are two main points I want to cover that I believe are the main reasons you should shop at a local running specialty store.
First, each foot is almost like a snowflake or fingerprint in that each foot is completely different from one person to the other. There are very similar foot types but even one subtle difference can make a huge difference.
With all of the uniqueness of the design of a foot, add personal preference to the mix.
What works for someone may not work for you.
Even if you do have similar feet to another, a person may prefer a more firm feel compared to a thick cushion or a tight hug compared to a loose and wide feel.
Asking someone for a shoe recommendation is a very irrelevant question in my opinion because it all depends on your specific foot mechanics and personal preference.
And the best way to find what works for you is to go try them on at a running specialty store.
Second, you should go to and shop at a running specialty store for the expertise.
The people working there are there for a reason. They love running, they love learning everything they can about shoes and other gear, and they love to help people.
They will help guide you through their store’s fit process and gait analysis. From there they can educate you on different types of shoes that would work for you and help narrow down the process based on your personal preferences.
These people spend their time and energy in this industry and there is no better place to get shoe knowledge.
I wanted to bring this point up because I see people posting links to shoe deals on various websites. Yes, it is amazing that you can save some money! But I would be willing to bet your local store has deals for people who are in local clubs or who take part in local races.
Also the websites that have these deals don’t know you.
Did they take an hour or two out of their day to provide you with the best information for you? Did they take the time to listen to your goals or your foot problems? Did they really care about getting you in the right shoe for you that will get you across your next finish line with the most comfort as possible? Did they give you a memorable shopping experience?
I believe every state in the US has a running store. Even if one is not convenient to you, make a trip of it.
I honestly fit people in my running store in Atlanta that drove from Tennessee, Alabama or even South Carolina just to get properly fitted for running shoes.
You will be glad you took the time to find what works best for you.
*And one final note. Please, please, please do not go to a running store to get fitted then walk out after you have made a decision to look for the cheapest deal online. You basically are saying you do not care about the fact that another person took time to care for you and provided you with a service.
Shop and support your local running store!