Our fit process is designed to help us fulfill our mission of bringing more people into the sport of running. We want to get you into the right shoe and reduce potential injury so that running or walking is more fun and enjoyable.
Shoes are the most important piece of equipment for runners and walkers. Our job is to make sure that you not only have a GOOD shoe but the RIGHT shoe for YOU. Our fit process is focused on determining which good shoe is BEST for YOU.
Step 1: Understanding Your Goals and HistoryThe first thing we try to understand, whether you’re coming in for shoes or anything else, is what are your goals. Are you trying to be more active? Wanting to lose weight? Hoping to try a 5k? Looking to set a new half marathon personal best?
We also need to understand your history. Have you had injuries? What were they? How do they affect you now?
Step 2: Measurement
Before pulling shoes for you, we need to know your correct size. We will use your old shoes to give us a data point as well as measure you in a Brannock Device. In our experience, many runners and walkers are wearing the wrong size shoe. We use the Brannock device to measure foot length & width first. This tool helps us to focus on foot elongation and width to determine proper sizing. A running shoe should always fit larger than your casual/dress shoe. After determining your correct size, your sales associate will pull three or four pairs for you to try that promise a proper fit, allowing for your foot’s natural lengthening and toe-splay.
Step 3: Video Gait Analysis
free slow motion video gait analysis and emphasis on customer service create a unique shopping experience. First the customer is videotaped running or walking barefoot on the treadmill for 15 seconds, then the footage is played back in slow motion, frame by frame, so that the small movements of the foot and the amount of pronation can be analyzed. The staff can then narrow the large number of shoes on the wall down to 3 or 4 styles that are recommended for the customer’s foot type. The staff can also work with different insoles if any extra support is needed.
Video Gait Analysis is important in understanding what happens while the foot is in contact with the ground. Shoes can provide varying degrees of stability for the foot, so understanding whether the foot is in a stable or unstable (overpronated) position while on the ground is important as it allows us to better understand how much stability is needed for an individual.
When the foot is in an unstable position, it creates stress on the lower body and it can lead to discomfort and even injury. Our goal is to reduce the amount of stress which can also reduce the chances of injury while also making the running/walking experience more enjoyable.
During Video Gait Analysis you will walk or run on the treadmill using what’s classified as a “Neutral” shoe or one that does not have any element that provides additional stability. This provides us with a baseline understanding of the degree of stability or instability of an individual’s foot.
For runners, we may also gather video from the side during gait analysis. Side video allows us to determine if a runner is overstriding. The more a runner over-strides, the more force is generated, thereby increasing the need for protection. Of course, side video also gives us the opportunity to have an initial discussion about running form.
Step 4: Trying Them Out
Now it is up to you. Take the shoes for a spin inside, outside or on the treadmill and pick the shoe that is most comfortable. Yes you can pick the pretty one as long as it is doing what it is supposed to do and feels great. During your “spin” we will confirm that sizing, support level and fit are right on target.
Step 5: Learn About Other Gear
Sometimes during the fit process it can become evident that you could benefit from an over-the-counter footbed. Your sales associate will also guide you through that fit process and custom cut each insole to fit properly in your shoes.
After we find the right pair of shoes for you we can also address any other needs you may have in regards to apparel, accessories and nutrition.
You’ll want to come back in and repeat this process each time you need new shoes (every 4-7 months or 300-500 miles if you are using them for running.) As you change—whether this means your running form, your level of fitness, or your lifestyle—you’ll need to again confirm that you’re choosing the best shoe for you at that time! We encourage those who wear running shoes for purposes other than running to consider a different model for each use, as the shoe will degrade in different ways.