Roadrunner is the largest retail store for running and walking supplies. They have a system, called The Shoe Dog, for fitting shoes. The Shoe Dog certified employee took physical measurements of my feet, I stood on a computer that took pictures to measure my arch and where I am distributing weight on my feet, then I ran on the treadmill while the computer took pictures of my gait. After all of this they were able to tell which would be the best shoes for me. There is a lot of science that goes into this. It turns out that my feet are each slightly different in the arch. I did wind up buying custom insoles, as they explained that I would not feel so uneven with the insoles. Honestly, that is something I've complained about for years but always figured it was due to my messed up hips from all the car accidents I was in when I was younger.
After the Shoe Dog rep was done with me he gave all of my information to a specialist in the shoe fitting area. He was able to tell which shoe would be best for my foot and brought out several options for me to try on. I really liked the first one I tried on, so the salesman had me hop on the treadmill and give the shoe a try. We were out the door and on our way.
This morning I found out how glad I am for the 60 day guarantee on the shoes. They felt a little different, but it was not painful, so I figured I just had to get used to them. In less than 5 minutes on the treadmill at the gym I knew the shoes weren't right. Back to Roadrunner we went. The customer service was TERRIFIC! They put me back on the Shoe Dog, and the rep said he understood why the guys yesterday picked the shoes they did for me, but I may not have needed as much support or stability as they thought. It was a judgement call either way. We tried a shoe with a little less stability, so it flexes a bit more. They let me run on the treadmill for quite some time, and I could have stayed on as long as I wanted. Again, the customer service was more than I expected. No one seemed upset or frustrated. They truly seemed to want me to continue running and would do what they could to help. When I run on Tuesday I'll see if we're dialed in to the perfect shoe. If not, the process will start all over again.
The best part of this experience was that I never felt that the sale of the shoe was more important than my foot health. The second best part was that the shoes were really no more expensive than in any other sneaker store. In fact, I paid less for the shoes I got today than I did for the shoes I had purchased previously at Sports Authority. It's great! I did pay a little more for the insoles, but that was my choice. There was no sales pressure at all.
I'll run for the first time in my new shoes on Tuesday. I want to walk around in them for a bit to get used to the insoles and just for comfort. Today is my light running day (more about that in the next post), so my "old" shoes will be fine. We'll see how it all goes!