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 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

The 50 Best Running Stores in America

1st Place Sports
Jacksonville, FL

A Snail’s Pace
Brea, CA

Bandanna Running
Boise, ID

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

Blue Mile
Indianapolis, IN

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

Boulder Running Company
Boulder, CO

Capital Run Walk
Raleigh, NC

Charm City Run
Timonium, MD

Columbus Running Company
Columbus, OH

Dick Pond Athletics
Schaumburg, IL

Elite Feet Brighton
Brighton, MI

Fit Right
Portland, OR

Fleet Feet Sports Baltimore
Baltimore, MD

Fleet Feet Sports Chicago
Chicago, IL

Fleet Feet Sports Davis
Davis, CA

Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg
Gaithersburg, MD

Fleet Feet Sports Huntsville
Huntsville, AL

Fleet Feet Sports Schereville
Schereville, IN

Fleet Feet Sports Tucson
Tucson, AZ

Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa
Tulsa, OK

Fleet Feet Sports Hartford
West Hartford, CT

Garry Gribble’s Running Sports
Kansas City, MO

Gazelle Sports (finalist for Running Store of the Year)
Kalamazoo, MI

Heart & Sole Sports
Albuquerque, NM

Jacksonville Running Company
Jacksonville, FL

Luke’s Locker
Dallas, TX

Maine Running Company
Portland, ME

Marathon Sports
Cambridge, MA

Naperville Running Company
Naperville, IL

Natural Strides Running
Woodstock, GA

On a Shoestring
Bradenton, FL

Pacers Running Store
Arlington, VA

Okemos, MI

Potomac River Running
Burke, VA

Red Coyote Running
Oklahoma City, OK

Rhode Runner
Providence, RI

Run On!
Dallas, TX

Runner’s Den
Phoenix, AZ

Runners High ’n Tri
Arlington Heights, IL

Running Fit
Ann Arbor, MI

Running For Kicks
Palos Heights, IL

Salt Lake Running Company
Salt Lake City, UT

Sayville Running Company
Sayville, NY

Shu’s Idaho Running Company
Boise, ID

Sole Sports
Tempe, AZ

Visalia, CA

Branford, CT

The Finish Line Running Store
Allentown, PA

Three Rivers Running
Fort Wayne, IN

Tortoise & Hare Sports
Glendale, AZ

Track Shack
Orlando, FL

Whirlaway Sports
Methuen, MA

Ubuntu Award presented by Balega

JackRabbit Sports
New York, NY

Just Do It Award Presented by Nike

Stefanie Blozy, Fleet Feet Hartford
West Hartford, CT

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

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