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Sole Man: Where Do You Buy Your Shoes?

  • By Brian Metzler
  • Published Jul. 1, 2013
  • Updated Jul. 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM UTC
A scene from inside Movin Shoes, a classic San Diego specialty running shop. Photo: Brian Metzler | Competitor.com


There are a lot of places to buy running shoes, including stores where actual runners are the sales people.

Where do you buy your running shoes? It might say a lot about what kind of runner you are. But it also might say a lot about your shoe-buying motivations. Maybe you just want the best price possible. Or maybe you really just want a batman motorcycle helmet and wound up at a site selling running shoes, but more on that in a moment.

RELATED: Vote here for your favorite running stores in the U.S.!

There are a lot of places to buy your sneakers these days, including specialty running stores, mall running shops, brand concept shops (like Niketown or a New Balance store), outdoor shops (mostly trail shoes), large “big box” sporting goods stores, factory outlet stores and, of course, online retailers. Each offers a different experience and vastly different products. Here’s a quick breakdown of each one with a hint of which one you’re likely to visit for your running needs.

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Brian Metzler

Brian Metzler

Brian Metzler is the editor-in-chief of Competitor magazine. He has raced every distance from 50 yards to 100 miles and run in more than 700 pairs of running shoes in the past 25 years. You can reach him at bmetzler@competitorgroup.com.

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