Feet on the Street: Purchasing Running Shoes



Hi guys!  This is a little extra special addition of Feet on the Street.  I thought I would sneak another one in this month since it’s Birthday Month! :D  I’m not going to talk about my running shoes just yet, but I am going to talk about the running store where I purchase them!

Columbus Running Company is a local running store full of very knowledgeable owners and staff.  What started off as a single store has now expanded to three local locations.  Pretty amazing right?  I bought my first pair of running shoes here several years ago when I first attempted learning how to run.  I’m sure they don’t remember seeing how it was years ago and I was just one customer out of so many, but Eric was the one who helped me find a pair of shoes and created a running plan for me.  He had me walk around the store a few times so he could check out my feet and my gait.  He said that I tended to roll a bit and needed a stability shoe to help keep that under control during a run.  I bought my first pair of Brooks and was on my way!  Unfortunately due to an injury a month later, my running attempts stopped and I was sidelined (more details about that in a future post!). Because he was so nice and helpful, when I started running again I immediately headed over there for a new pair of shoes.

I got a chance to ask Eric a few questions about shoes!  I thought it would be nice to get a little bit of perspective from someone in the business.  Please ignore what appears to be my bobble head in the picture.  I have no idea how that happened but I hope not to repeat it!  On to the questions!

CRC Store Owner, Eric

CRC Store Owner, Eric

1. Can you give us some insight on why a good pair of running shoes are a must have for any runner?

When you’re out on a run, your feet strike the ground about 1700 times per mile.  That can be pretty jarring, especially on pavement.  A good pair of running shoes helps to absorb this shock so that your body doesn’t take so much of the pounding.

2. Why should someone seek out a specialty running store for shoes as opposed to shopping at a larger retail chain store?

Well, obviously I’m pretty biased on this one!  But bias aside, the right pair of shoes makes all the difference in the world.  There’s a shoe for every foot type, and the right shoes can mean the difference between an enjoyable running routine & injury.  Someone with a flat foot needs a very different shoe from someone with a high arch, and employees at running specialty shops are geeks when it comes to running & shoes.  They’ll point you in the right direction for your foot.

3. What should someone look for and expect from a quality running store?

Service is the most important thing that a good running shop can offer.  It’s our job to put people into the right shoes, to know about the races & runs in the community, and to be there to offer advice on everything from training to injuries.

4. What inspired you to start Columbus Running Company?

I ran in high school and college, so running became a major part of my life.  In high school, I was always injured, and my coach & I could never quite figure it out.  Then, when I got to college, my college coach looked at my shoes and told me that I wasn’t wearing the right types.  I have extremely flat feet, and I need a lot of support.  Once Coach got me into stability shoes, that was the end of my injury streak.
That experience got me interested in shoes & the biomechanics behind running.  From there, it was a short leap to running store owner!

5.  What running shoes do you wear and could you share some of their specs (For example, are they extra cushy to help prevent injuries, are they stability shoes)?

I need a lot of support due to my flat, flat feet, so my favorite shoe recently has been the Mizuno Alchemy.  It’s super supportive but also pretty light.  While that’s my favorite shoe, I try to run in a variety of stability shoes so that I can offer feedback to people who swing by the shop.

6.  Just for fun, do you have any pre-race superstitions?  Maybe a lucky pair of socks you have to wear, for example?  And if you listen to music during runs, what are some of the tunes that keep you moving?

I don’t have any pre-race superstitions these days, but I used to have a few when I ran in high school… These are kind of dorky though!  For one, I used to use the same golden safety pins for my bib number every race.  Then, before a big race one year, my mom gave me a pin with a plastic Goofy face on it – it was a pin that she’d used for my diapers once upon a time.  So I ran with that in every race for a year.  (Yeah, I know that’s kind of cheesy…)

Nowadays, I don’t really have any superstitions, but I like to eat a bowl of pasta the night before and watch a movie to relax & take my mind off of the race ahead.  It’s a good way to go into the race relaxed and ready to go – and it doesn’t make people stare at me like they did when I was wearing that Goofy pin!

There you have it guys, straight from a man in the know!  One of the goals of this feature is to help bring proper shoe awareness to the forefront for everyone.  It doesn’t matter if you hike, run, or walk, we all need to make sure we have the proper gear to help prevent injury and to support us so we can achieve all of our goals.

Two tips that I’m passing on when buying shoes:

1. Appearance doesn’t matter.  Forget about it.  You want a shoe that feels good and is supportive.  Not the latest flashy whatevers. Which I constantly have to remind myself because I don’t like pink and for some reason women’s gear is always pink and pastels! (EW! And who can I talk to about this?!)

2. Don’t even talk price until you are at the counter buying the shoes.  Shoes are expensive but they are an investment.  Would you rather shell out $100 once for a great pair of shoes or have to pay for doctor and physical therapy bills over several months while you deal with an injury?  Proper shoes help prevent injuries.  Invest in a great pair shoes, you owe it to yourself.  If you are on a budget and just cannot put out $100 for a pair of shoes, talk to the store owner about the previous model of the shoe you’re looking at.  Maybe you can get it for a discount or do a search online for that shoe.

If you are in need of shoes, please visit a locally owned store near you (not a chain and not something that’s part of a franchise.).  A place that is run and owned by locals who love what they do and are involved in the community.  They will be more than happy to help you get what you need!

If you are a Central Ohio local, please visit Columbus Running Company!  They have so much to offer, stop by and check them out!

A huge thanks to Eric for allowing me to stop by the store and pick at his brain a little bit.  :D

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