The 50 Best Running Stores in America for 2012

A view inside Fleet Feet Syracuse, which was named the 2012 Running Store of the Year on Dec. 5.

These shops go out of their way to do everything for local runners.

What makes a great running shop? Sure, it’s one that correctly fits you into running shoes that match your foot shape and running gait, but it’s much more than that. Is it a shop with a treadmill and high-speed cameras for gait analysis? Or one with a cool local wall of fame that honors local runners? Or the one that organizes local races or has the best happy hour fun runs?

The top shops in America — according to you, our readers and connoisseur of all things running — are the ones that offer exemplary customer service for every type of runner, organize training programs, group runs and local races, and provide knowledge and insights about the latest trends, the newest gear, proper running form and local trails, plus can answer endless questions about racing, training and injury prevention. In other words, it’s a shop that goes out of its way to do everything for local runners.

RELATED: Fleet Feet Syracuse Named Top Running Store In The U.S. 

“The goal is to take down all of the barriers that people perceive they’re going to run into when they start running or when they come to a run specialty store, make it a comfortable, engaging experience for them and let them get hooked,” says Matt Helbig, owner of Big River Running in St. Louis, one of four  finalists for the 2012 Running Store of the Year award. “And we all know how easy it is to get hooked on running.”

Every year, Competitor magazine and Running Insight identify the 50 Best Running Stores in America. It starts with consumers nominating their favorite stores through www.competitor.com. Then those stores are put through a rigorous evaluation process, which includes mystery shopping to assess customer service, credit ratings from vendors and assessments about local programs and community commitment. The 50 Best Running Stores in America and the Running Store of the Year were honored on Dec. 5 at The Running Event, an industry-only trade show in Austin, Texas.

2012 Running Store of the Year

Fleet Feet Sports Syracuse
East Syracuse, NY
www.fleetfeetsyracuse.com

The 50 Best Running Stores in America

1st Place Sports
Jacksonville, FL
www.1stplacesports.com

A Snail’s Pace
Brea, CA
www.asnailspace.net

Bandanna Running
Boise, ID
www.bandannarunning.com

Big River Running (finalist for Running Store of the Year)
St. Louis, MO
www.bigriverrunning.com

Blue Mile
Indianapolis, IN
www.bluemile.com

Bob Roncker’s Running Spot (finalist for Running Store of the Year)
Cincinnati, OH
www.runningspot.com

Boulder Running Company
Boulder, CO
www.boulderrunningcompany.com

Capital Run Walk
Raleigh, NC
www.capitalrunwalk.com

Charm City Run
Timonium, MD
www.charmcityrun.com

Columbus Running Company
Columbus, OH
www.columbusrunning.com

Dick Pond Athletics
Schaumburg, IL
www.dickpondathletics.com

Elite Feet Brighton
Brighton, MI
elitefeetrunning.com

Fit Right
Portland, OR
www.fit-right-nw.com

Fleet Feet Sports Baltimore
Baltimore, MD
www.fleetfeetbaltimore.com

Fleet Feet Sports Chicago
Chicago, IL
www.fleetfeetchicago.com

Fleet Feet Sports Davis
Davis, CA
www.fleetfeetdavis.com

Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg
Gaithersburg, MD
www.fleetfeetgaithersburg.com

Fleet Feet Sports Huntsville
Huntsville, AL
fleetfeethuntsville.com

Fleet Feet Sports Schereville
Schereville, IN
www.fleetfeetschererville.com

Fleet Feet Sports Tucson
Tucson, AZ
www.fleetfeettucson.com

Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa
Tulsa, OK
www.fleetfeettulsa.com

Fleet Feet Sports Hartford
West Hartford, CT
www.fleetfeethartford.com

Garry Gribble’s Running Sports
Kansas City, MO
www.garrygribbles.com

Gazelle Sports (finalist for Running Store of the Year)
Kalamazoo, MI
www.gazellesports.com

Heart & Sole Sports
Albuquerque, NM
www.heartnsolesports.com

Jacksonville Running Company
Jacksonville, FL
www.jacksonvillerunningcompany.com

Luke’s Locker
Dallas, TX
www.lukeslocker.com

Maine Running Company
Portland, ME
www.mainerunning.com

Marathon Sports
Cambridge, MA
www.marathonsports.com

Naperville Running Company
Naperville, IL
www.runningcompany.com

Natural Strides Running
Woodstock, GA
www.naturalstrides.com

On a Shoestring
Bradenton, FL
www.onashoestringinc.com

Pacers Running Store
Arlington, VA
www.runpacers.com

Playmakers
Okemos, MI
www.playmakers.com

Potomac River Running
Burke, VA
www.potomacriverrunning.com

Red Coyote Running
Oklahoma City, OK
www.redcoyoterunning.com

Rhode Runner
Providence, RI
www.rhoderunner.net

Run On!
Dallas, TX
www.runontexas.com

Runner’s Den
Phoenix, AZ
www.runnersdenaz.com

Runners High ’n Tri
Arlington Heights, IL
www.runnershigh-n-tri.com

Running Fit
Ann Arbor, MI
www.runningfit.com

Running For Kicks
Palos Heights, IL
www.runningforkicks.com

Salt Lake Running Company
Salt Lake City, UT
www.saltlakerunningco.com

Sayville Running Company
Sayville, NY
www.sayvillerunning.com

Shu’s Idaho Running Company
Boise, ID
www.idahorunningcompany.com

Sole Sports
Tempe, AZ
www.solesportsrunning.com

Sole2Sole
Visalia, CA
www.sole2soulsports.com

SoundRunner
Branford, CT
www.soundrunner.net

The Finish Line Running Store
Allentown, PA
www.finishlinerunningstore.com

Three Rivers Running
Fort Wayne, IN
www.3riversrunning.com

Tortoise & Hare Sports
Glendale, AZ
tortoiseandharesports.com

Track Shack
Orlando, FL
www.trackshack.com

Whirlaway Sports
Methuen, MA
www.whirlawaysports.com

Ubuntu Award presented by Balega

JackRabbit Sports
New York, NY
www.jackrabbitsports.com

Just Do It Award Presented by Nike

Stefanie Blozy, Fleet Feet Hartford
West Hartford, CT
www.fleetfeethartford.com

Running Insight ®, The Running Event ® and 50 Best Running Stores in America ® are registered trademarks of Formula4Media, LLC

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