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Oct 5, 2021

Visit Your Friendly Neighborhood Running Shoe Store

I love my running shoes. I’m loyal to about two brands, know what features best suit my foot and I have my size memorized. It would be easy to just order shoes on Amazon or pick up a pair at the local sporting goods store during a sale and call it a day.

Instead, I support my local running store. And it’s about more than the shoes.

Running stores often serve as the heart of the local running community, hosting races, organizing group runs, offering coaching, sponsoring social events and more. You might stop in to get fitted for a pair of shoes but walk out with so much more.

Here’s why you should visit your local running store (in person or online) regularly.

Running groups: Want to get started running, train for a marathon or just have some friends to run with in addition to your BGR crew? Your area running store probably hosts free organized group runs to get you going. The running stores in my general area all offer weekend and weekend running groups for folks to get together and hit the road or trail.

Don’t feel shy about your pace or your mileage goal – there’s usually someone there at a similar level to keep you company and run leaders don’t leave anyone behind. And, there’s usually the opportunity for coffee, donuts and chatting when you’re done.

Events: Enjoy wine night with the girls? Like to run? How about both? I’ve been to so many fun events at running stores that combine running with another activity. I’ve done a “pub run” – start and finish at the pub, then enjoy a beer or two – and a wine run. There have been watch parties for Olympic races and “demo runs,” where a major shoe company will bring samples and offer the opportunity for participants to run in their models for potential purchase later.

While some of these events have been limited lately because of the pandemic, it’s fun to be able to combine exercise with a night out, thanks to the hardworking and creative workers at the running store.

Races: A running store usually has a partnership with a race-timing company, so your local shop could end up being the starting or finishing point for a race. You might end up with a discount or two to use in the store afterward! If you’re looking to find other 5Ks to run, the store often has flyers for upcoming races you can consider.

Other activities: Yoga in a running store? Sure, why not? Training for a triathlon? Yep, your running store has resources for those too. We know how important cross training with other activities is for your running regimen, so it makes sense that a running store would also cater to additional fitness options, even though those aren’t their bread-and-butter activities. See what else your running store might suggest for physical activity if you don’t always want to pound the pavement.

Shoes: That’s the reason why you entered the store in the first place, right? Your running store has an advantage over a more general store in terms of having salespeople trained in helping you select the right shoe for your needs. They can analyze your running form and gait and suggest shoes for your specific profile. I usually need stability shoes to prevent my feet from rolling outwards, and the stores always know what model suits that need best. They’re also excellent with suggesting socks, running bras, gear and other items based on my current running plans.

Visit your local store’s website and social media pages often to see what’s available. You might be surprised how much your store is doing to help support the local running community – which includes you!

By Shannon Shelton Miller /Twitter: ShannonSMWrites, Instagram: shannon.shelton1

Shannon Shelton Miller is a longtime writer and journalist who enjoys writing about sports, fitness, health, beauty, and parenting. She has been running for 27 years, starting from joining her high school cross country team. She has run a marathon, two half marathons, and countless 5K and 10K races.