The Shoe Dog Experience

This past weekend, I visited Road Runner Sports to have my first-ever athletic shoe fitting.

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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 :)

photo 1

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!

photo 2

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!

photo 4

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.

photo 3

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.

Shoe Collage

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.”

photo 1 (2)

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.

photo 2 (2)

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.

photo 4 (1)

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!


  1. Yes I’ve had my shoes professionally fitted the last 3 years but never with a special insole that is a whole extra level of awesome! I actually always have got brooks to run in, I went with the best fit shoe for my foot not always the prettiest ;)

    Love the tank top you bought. You’ve made me want to buy more workout clothes. Which is not hard.
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted…5:2 Your questions answeredMy Profile

  2. I love the ones you picked! So perfect for summertime :) If I am going for the best fit, I usually go with Asaiics. Right now I have Adidas and for shorter distances, they work. When I do a 1/2, I will probably go with either Asaiics or New Balance.
    Kate @ Baking in yoga pants recently posted…TOL – Thursday ThoughtsMy Profile

  3. I always have gone the professional shoe route. It is a big help & I learned from my foot orthopedic doc that you should get checked every year because the composition of our feet change all the time. I’m with you on the bright shoes too! Now if only I could find cuter workout grubs. I haven’t found anything to replace my old stuff although I am picky when it comes to clothes. I want to venture out to some other brands though.
    MegaN @ the skinny-life recently posted…Comment on Strawberry Banana Muffins by The Skinny-LifeMy Profile

  4. I used to order shoes from RRS back in my early marathon days.
    Then I worked p/t at a Chicago running store so got good deals on gear. Sorry, but we always rolled our eyes a bit when runners shopped by color :)
    Mizunos! Yes, Yes, Yes!! I have 4 pair in rotation: 1 for running, one for walking, one pair totally worn out that I wear on rainy days or out at our farm, and one for exercise classes.
    Nicole recently posted…WIAW (5): Chicken MeatballsMy Profile

    • I know… I am totally one of THOSE people. I just want to send a message to the shoe companies to let them know I’ll only buy pretty running shoes, haha ;) I will have to ask to try Mizunos next time!

  5. Even though I don’t run too often anymore, I’d still love to do this – I’d like to know what sort of shoes I should be going for!
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Love Your Body Challenge Recap.My Profile

  6. I love this stuff! But you didn’t even tell us which ones you picked!! I’m dying to know what they are (I’m assuming it’s the pink pair in the Body Pump picture?). I was fitted for shoes 10 years ago when I started running and have been wearing the same model since then, but I really need to go again as I’ve been having calf issues!
    Megan (The Lyons’ Share) recently posted…Top 10 Reasons to Stand Up for Your HealthMy Profile

  7. I’ve never gotten fitted for shoes before and although, I don’t consider myself a runner, I do run on occasion and I do all sorts of other workouts, so I’d love to give this a try sometime.

    I love the shoes you picked! The color is awesome!
    Holly @ eatgreatbegreat recently posted…Totally Random Bits of Info #14My Profile

  8. I always have such a hard time choosing gym shoes. Love stores that have a great return policy because I always end up returning a pair or two. Right now I’m in Nike Air Max’s and really like them. Mine are bright purple!
    Laura Dembowski recently posted…Vegan White Bean ChiliMy Profile

  9. I went to RoadRunner Sports in San Diego last summer (while visiting some old friends) and I went through the same ShoeDog fit. I had the same experience…found out I was wearing a stability shoe when what I should have been wearing was a neutral shoe. I picked two pairs of shoes (to rotate). You have great taste: one of the pairs I chose are the same ones you are wearing in your last two photos!
    Marnie recently posted…Throwback ThursdayMy Profile

  10. Oh, I’m a big fan of the professsional shoe fitting, especially for running sneakers! I rotate between my Brooks PureFlows and Brooks Ghosts.

    I love the tank top you bought! I might have to copy you :)

  11. This is so good for feet! I really like brooks and some aren’t the cutest but they’re great shoes!!
    Jackie recently posted…What I ate Wednesday!My Profile

  12. Clearly I’ve had my shoes fitted professionally since I work at a running store ;) but i did the unthinkable and went to road runner after my massage therapist told me to go and get custom inserts. I’ll never buy another orthotic again. I think that is seriously the coolest contraption ever created. I’m all about the bright shoes too, obviously haha
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…One weekMy Profile

  13. I love how many options they have for the shoes!! That a whole wall of shoes!! I use to go to fleet feet, and they never had a WALL of shoes for you to pick from!! Mizunos are my favorite, the only one that I don’t have pain in :), but I also have my adidas for walking.
    Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #11My Profile

  14. I LOVE the ones you got, love that bright color! I have been fitted but it was at a different place, we don’t have a Shoe Dog, I looked :(
    mia @ makemeupmia recently posted…{Thankful Thursday} 4/10/14My Profile

  15. I do the “professional” fitting! :) Before I did that though I would get my shoes at Road Runner and love their whole process! The Cortana is a great shoe and super cushioned!
    Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} recently posted…The Cornerstones to Life {Positive Thinking}My Profile

  16. I’m probably due for a new fitting…I haven’t had one in YEARS and I’m sure things have changed and shifted since then. :)
    Katie @ Talk less, Say more recently posted…Another Year Older, Another Year WiserMy Profile

  17. This seriously sounds so awesome! I have never been fit for shoes, but I would love to after hearing your review! So this was free??? Do you know if this is offered all over the country?

  18. Picking out the right shoes are so key to being successful with marathon training. And I LOVE Feetures! socks –> I am hosting a giveaway for them on my blog tomorrow!! :)
    Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted…Crockpot Salsa Chicken {advocare approved}My Profile

  19. I got professionally fit for running shoes a couple years ago, and I’m SO glad I did! It was super helpful. I have found Brooks shoes to be my favorite. I used to run in Asics all the time, but then I found Brooks, and I fell in love. The Brooks were better for my wide feet!
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted…MercoBox GiveawayMy Profile

  20. I haven’t had a full shoe fitting experience {yours sounds totally cool and now I want to!} but when I bought my first serious pair of running shoes I went to a local running store and had the guy fit me. I apparently do not have high arches at all and needed support. The support shoes he brought over to me to try on were HIDEOUS. I chose the pair I wear now based purely on the fact that they were the prettiest of all my good shoe options. They are Asics and I luuurve them. I definitely need a new pair, but homegirl is broke and I’m waiting…when I buy my next pair of shoes I will buy them based on looks too lol. It matters :) I’ll be more likely to turn if I like the shoes I’m wearing <—fact.
    Leslee @ Her Happy Balance recently posted…Under Armour Marbella SunglassesMy Profile

  21. I have been professionally fit, but not like your awesome experience!!! I just ran around a tiny track in the store barefoot and they checked my stride and wear pattern of my old shoes.

    What is your favorite brand of athletic shoe? I used to run in Mizunos and love them. They are so light and comfortable. I’ll probably go back to them. I am running in a pair of Brooks now-they were cute and on sale and fit well…so I gave in and switched for this year’s races.
    Leslie @ Life begins @ 30? recently posted…Porch Sittin’My Profile

  22. I’ve never been professionally fit for running shoes! There’s no road runner in mn but I wonder if there is another place that has a set up like that? I usually go to run n fun and they watch you run and then tell you a shoe style to try.
    Alex @ alex runs for Food recently posted…Black Bean and Corn BurgerMy Profile

  23. Love them!!! It’s such a fun experience getting fitted for running shoes SO worth it!! Both times I have done it Brooks were my winning brand. But you are right….the are ugly!!! I wish they would come out with better colors! In the name of comfort though I stick by them. But that’s when you just buy cute Nike’s to wear to the gym right? haha. Excited to hear how your shoes feel after you put some distance on them!
    heylaurenrene recently posted…Treat Yourself TuesdayMy Profile

  24. I started in Saucony, then went mizuno (carried me through my first 26.2!) and now I’m in a pair of brooks. But mine are neon green with some pink and not ugly! although, it depends on what style you looked at within the brooks family ;)
    kATIE recently posted…Yogatta Try This: Part 2 of 6, Types of Yoga!My Profile

  25. So, call me crazy but I’m scared to do this…I know 4 people who’ve done it and all 4 people had problems with their shoes! What the heck!? Maybe people in Sonoma County don’t know how to fit people correctly. My mom’s was fitted so poorly she ended up having foot injuries.
    I’m glad it worked out well for you though! The shoes look awesome.
    kelli h (made in sonoma) recently posted…Brew Review: Golden Road Brewing Wolf Among the WeedsMy Profile

  26. Wow that sounds like quite the experience. I was fitted at a local runnin store but it was nothing like that. I currently run in brooks, I know they are ugly but as of now I really like how they make my feet feel. I’m actually in need of a new pair of shoes, I’m hoping to find some fun colored ones that fit with my shoe need.
    Nicole @ Fruit’n’fitness recently posted…Championship nervesMy Profile

  27. I work directly across the street from a roadrunner- next to that is a lululemon. Its a wonder Im able to pay my rent.
    Ashley @ Brocblog recently posted…My First 5kMy Profile

  28. BECKY, I love you but if you call my beloved Brooks ugly again I’m going to have to punch you in the face ;) JUST KIDDING! I’ve been fit before, and love it! I actually was fit in Puma’s first which I hated, but I love my Brooks Ghost now (h8r.) I LOVE Feetures socks, love love love. The bright pink ones are my favorite, my next shoe is going to be pink, and I love that your requirement was that your shoes has to be bright. People look at me like I’m weird all the time, love that you got the look too. #meanttobefriends
    Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Confessions (Again!)My Profile

  29. I know my feet pretty well, but I should get prof fitted soon! Great review!
    Annette@FitnessPerks recently posted…How I Use Essential Oils Every DayMy Profile

  30. I need to have this done because I really want to start running again and NOT get injured this time. I went to a running store where they just watched me walk up and down the aisle, but they told me my shoes weren’t the problem and were basically no help. I’d love to do something more comprehensive like this.
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey recently posted…Party in the USA – Silks EditionMy Profile

  31. This sounds like a cool experience! The shoes were literally made for your feet! I know a lot goes into finding the “perfect” shoe for your foot but I didn’t imagine it entailed all of that, especially the amount of weight you put on each one. This was cool to read!
    Alisha @ Alisha’s Appetite recently posted…WIAW: Quick & Healthy MealsMy Profile

  32. Sounds like a great experience! I love local running stores that really take time to help you pick out a perfect running shoes, because they really can make all the difference when you’re training for a long race!
    Stephanie @ My Freckled Life recently posted…Lemon, roasted red pepper and artichoke quinoaMy Profile

  33. This is where I shop too! I love how they run their business for all of these reasons! Really cute new shoes (and socks!!). I am a sucker for lulu socks, but feetures sound great too! :)
    Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures recently posted…I’ve Got a Good FeelingMy Profile

  34. How cool is that?! Makes me want to find one of those stores just for the experience. I’m curious about how balanced I am and how I stand on my feet! Love the cute new shoes you bought…bright and cheerful!
    Sarah @ Sarah Sincerely recently posted…Thinking Out Loud {4/10/14}My Profile

  35. I’ve only had one “professional” shoe fitting done, and it was years and years ago. I don’t think they did a very good job, though, because I didn’t end up liking my shoes and developed some serious shin pain afterwards. Boo. I’m thinking about going in for another one soon, though, since I’m hoping to take up some running this spring and would really like to NOT end up injured.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #73 .My Profile

  36. I used to be an Asics girl, but now I LOOOOVE my Newtons. I have custom insoles from my chiropractor for them too and it makes a HUGE difference.
    Next time I’m in the States, I’m totally hitting up a Road Runner for a shoe fitting :)
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Hansons Method: StrengthMy Profile

  37. I did the Shoe Dog fitting at RRS and loved it! Like you, I pretty much only saw a little bit of the ball on my feet and my heel. I got the Mizuno Wave Riders and they’ve been pretty comfy – but I love the color of your shoes! (The color definitely matters)
    Christine @ HowtheWestwasRun recently posted…Oh Hey There….My Profile

  38. This sounds amazing! I went to Fleet Feet to get fitted when I registered for my half marathon. They weren’t quite as thorough as it sounds like your experience was — they also asked what I’d be wearing them for, obviously, but the main thing they did was watch my stride while walking/running barefoot and with each pair of shoes I tried on. I can’t seem to shake my love for Asics, but I believe I tried on some Mizunos that I liked as well…

    I got suckered into buying inserts and running socks (I have Feetures, Balenga, and Asics) and I had so few problems with pain during my training that I’m probably hooked for life on it all!
    Katie @ Blonde Ambition recently posted…I’m going going back back to… Utah?My Profile

  39. I was fitted about a year ago and it was great. I had always run in a neutral shoe and needed a stability. It was a little weird to switch styles at first but it has been sooooo much better for my running and no more pains!
    Runnergirleats recently posted…Running is therapyMy Profile

  40. Roadrunner Sports is my favorite! There’s a couple out in the north Chicago suburbs that I’ve gone to, and I’m planning on doing the adventure run at the Kingsbury store next month!
    jana recently posted…Share Your Running Stories!My Profile

    • I think I’m going to try to do that one too! I went to the one this month by myself and it was so awkward. I definitely need to go with someone this time :)

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