I love shopping local, and it is my hope that runners have access to great running stores. In my region, we have a local running store with five locations, as well as two different ones each an hour away. What makes a running store great? Let’s review.
Great Running Stores Offer A Varied Selection
A great running store has a wide selection of shoes, but also socks, fuel, apparel, recovery tools, and accessories. As a customer, you want to see a variety of the major shoe brands, ranging from neutral through stability, and maybe some specialty brands as well. A customer should never walk out with just shoes, though, so the ability to pick up new socks or fuels is a huge plus.
Great Running Stores Hire Patient and Informed Staff Members
The staff at a great running store is patient and informed. They listen to your training habits and concerns. Then they work with your to find the shoes that feel the best, and work within the parameters of your needs. Great run specialty customer service reps are well educated in the shoes and products they sell, and know how to make recommendations that serve their customers. They are kind, inclusive, and helpful, making everyone feel comfortable, from first-time to veteran runners. All runners of all abilities are welcome in great running stores, and everyone is made to feel like a superstar.
Great Running Stores Offer Complimentary Gait Analyses
Before recommending shoes, the staff at great running stores will offer a free gait analysis. Customers can run on a treadmill, through the store, or in some cases, step on a computerized mat, to get an idea of how their feet and legs move in the running process. These little runs can be recorded to show the customer how they move and why certain shoes may work better for them than others. It’s an interesting process that helps staff and customers alike make the right decisions for your feet.
Great Running Stores Have A Generous Return Policy
Running shoes and gear are expensive, so a great running store has a generous return policy. Customers never like t feel trapped in a purchase, especially a pricey one, so offering an out is a good idea. Sometimes, shoes just don’t work, and that should be ok. Great running stores usually offer a 30 day return policy for shoes in like new or re-sellablle condition. Make sure you know your store’s policy before you buy, and wear them on the treadmill until you’re sure you want to keep them.
Great Running Stores Offer Extended Services
Beyond the retail, great running stores offer training groups, clinics, and extended education. Different brand reps often come in to local running stores to share details about their latest and greatest products. Customers get to trial those items, which is a great time to check out and ask questions about new gear. Clinics about form, recovery, fueling, and training are great to help educate local runners looking for more information on the sport. Group runs hosted by running stores help create community, which is so valuable for runners and stores alike.
At the end of the day, great local running stores can offer so much more than online or big box shops. While not everyone has access to one, it’s worth it too check out your nearest running store if it’s available.
What makes a great running store, in your opinion? Do you have a local running store you love?
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