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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

Specialty Running Shops

What it’s all about: Your local specialty running shop is usually the best place to get great service, the best shoes for running and free expertise about training, running injuries, local trails and the area’s upcoming races. In a good running shop, you’re likely to see posters of long-ago runners you’ve never heard of and will hear something that sounds like a foreign language when one shop guy says to another: “This morning I tempo’ed 10×400 in 72s and felt pretty good. I’m doing 12 easy this afternoon if you want to join.”

Often there’s a skinny guy with gray hair that just happens to look like the guy who’s shaking Bill Rodgers’ hand in the blown-up and autographed circa-1979 post-race photo that hangs behind the register. (Must be a coincidence, right?) The bottom line is that specialty running shops ooze running culture, and it’s contagious. Inside the store, you immediately realize one of the solutions to the American obesity epidemic cost less than $150 per person and the willingness to wear something in a bright neon motif for about 30 minutes a day.

Why You Shop There
Because you want to run a faster half-marathon and want/need the best gear for your needs. And when you get there you suddenly feel inspired to be more fit, almost as if you were actually running the 50 miles per week you tell the salesperson when he asks you what kind of runner you are. Plus, you know they host evening weekday funs runs and give away free stuff. And sometimes, for the adults in the crowd, free beer.

(If you need guidance, here are the Best 50 Running Shops in America from 2012 and here’s how you can vote for your favorites for next year.)

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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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