This past weekend, I visited Road Runner Sports to have my first-ever athletic shoe fitting.
Since deciding (and officially committing to raise a big chunk o’ cash for Team Paws) to run the Chicago Marathon this fall, I figured it would be in my best interest to find my perfect pair of running shoes. In my opinion – and I know you runners out there agree, a good pair of shoes will help to prevent injuries, encourage good running form, and give you one less thing to worry about come race day.
There are many running shoe stores that offer fittings here in Chicago, but I chose Road Runner Sports for their exclusive Shoe Dog Experience.
And no, in case you’re wondering, I did not get paid for this post nor did I get free shoes or gear from Road Runner Sports (I wish!!). I just really loved my experience with Shoe Dog and since there are Road Runner Sports retail locations across the country, I wanted to share this FREE running shoe analysis with all of my fellow runners and athletes :)
There are four steps that your Road Runner Fit Expert completes to find the best pair of shoes for your feet. First up – Where are you going to wear the shoes? CrossFit? Running? Different activities require different types of shoes! My answer to this question involved a look of bewilderment driven by my recent fitness decision and a whisper of the word “marathon.” Thankfully my Fit Expert, Eric, dealt with newbie marathoners previously and knew exactly what to do.
The second step is to analyze your balance and footprint. To Kyle’s surprise, I am very well balanced (48% of my weight on my left foot and 52% on my right) even if I don’t walk like I have balance ;) My footprint is what amazed me the most, however. I have a very high arch and barely put ANY weight at all onto my toes. The heat map showed a circle where my heels touched and also an oval where the balls of my feet touched and that was it – no toe prints, no outside edges of my feet, nothing!
The third part of the Shoe Dog Experience is to run (barefoot!) on a treadmill. I only ran for about 90 seconds once I got up to a comfortable speed but during that time, my Fit Expert was able to record a video of my running stride and understand if I had any imbalances that needed to be corrected. Turns out I did. I guess I knew this but I tend to run on the outside edges of my feet. I thought it was normal but apparently, I’ve been wearing the wrong style of running shoe!
The final analysis involves having a Fit Expert mold a custom insole to your foot. That was my favorite part. I just stood there and Eric did all of the work, ha!
After your Shoe Dog analysis is complete, you are emailed a copy of your results for future reference and then the fun part begins – trying on shoes!
Since I found out I need to wear a “neutral” shoe rather than the “stability” shoes I’ve been wearing, I walked over to the huge neutral section and started looking at my options. I told Eric that I had one requirement for my shoes – they needed to be bright! If I’m going to be running hundreds upon hundreds of miles this summer, I need to have something to keep me awake on my feet… Plus girlfrand likes bright shoes. He looked at me like I was crazy (we all know that’s a true statement, haha!) but took the challenge on with stride and brought me some great options to try out.
I tried on Brooks (ugliest shoes I’ve ever worn – no thanks!) and Adidas and New Balance and Asics and Saucony and a few other brands that I can’t recall.
With each shoe, I took a lap around the store (my Fitbit logged over 5,000 steps while there, haha!) to figure out if I liked the way they felt. When I selected the pair I knew I wanted, Eric let me jump on the treadmill to make sure they were “the ones.”
I wore them around the store while I was waiting for my friend to find her perfect shoes. Since I had some time to kill, I also picked up some Feetures socks (never wearing a different brand of socks – they are amazing!) and a tank top to wear for Body Pump.
Upon checkout, I joined Road Runner Sports’ VIP Family which offers 90 days of shoe return if your new kicks don’t fit well (even if you wear them outside!), at least 10% off on all items and free shipping from their online store, and exclusive perks including fun runs and prizes at your local Road Runner.
I would definitely recommend the Shoe Dog Experience and Road Runner Sports to anyone looking for new fitness shoes or gear. And if any of the Road Runner Sports management team is reading this, Eric from the downtown Chicago location deserves a raise for being an awesome Fit Expert and taking on the challenge of finding me (the pickiest shoe buyer ever!) my perfect pair of running shoes!
Have you ever been “professionally” fit for running shoes? This was my first time!
What is your favorite brand of athletic shoe? I LOVE Asics – their bright colors get me every time but I also really love Saucony. I haven’t tried Mizuno’s yet but have heard great things about their shoes!
Is there a Road Runner Sports in your area? (You can check here.) If so, you must make a visit!