On my to-do list for the last six months: Buy new running shoes. My feet were NOT happy with me when I did my half marathon training this past spring in shoes that had run their course (no pun intended). A little bit of pre-plantar fasciitis pain began to crop up, but thankfully nothing major and I completed my fifth half marathon mostly pain-free. That’s why when Fleet Feet contacted me the other week about getting new running shoes, I JUMPED at the chance. But this wasn’t any old store visit and picking out shoes on the wall that looked good. This was an entire fitting experience — 3D style. Read on to learn more and how you can pick your perfect pair, and hear about The Big Run happening June 5 across the country in honor of Global Running Day.
I had been to Fleet Feet a couple of times but it had been a while, so I read up before I visited and learned it’s more than just a retail store. Each location is locally owned and operated, and its values are clear from the moment you walk in the door. Plus there’s this:
In its infancy, running was dominated by men. And yet, in 1976, two women decided to open a running store.
YES PLEASE. On the website, it notes that “as a company, we believe it’s a privilege to serve our communities and lead people toward healthier, more active lives. We believe in putting others before ourselves and putting down our phones to hear how we can help. We believe the value of a pair of running shoes isn’t measured in dollars, it’s measured by the miles that change lives.” Now those are values I can get behind.
Listen, Watch, Act and Plan with fit id™
The 3D fit id™ process begins simply with listening. I met with store manager Jackie, who was extremely knowledgeable in the shoe game. You can tell she’s been through lots of training (plus she’s training for her first full marathon — go, Jackie!). Jackie asked me about my running (how many miles a week I log, what I am training for, etc.) as well as what I did outside of running, and I mentioned Orange Theory, which she took into consideration as she was recommending shoes. She then looked at my beautiful (hahaha) feet and watched me walk, to see my stride, stance and step. Surprisingly, I was very flat and didn’t turn in as much as I thought I did. Next, the fun part!
Fleet Feet uses a 3D scanning technology to take precise measurements of your feet and captures 12 data points to give you personalized shoe and insole recommendations.
Jackie showed me my foot scan, which included my heel to toe length, ball width, arch height, instep height and more. Gone are the days when your mom used to take you to the shoe store and they’d measure your foot with that ruler thing. This is a virtual measurement of every aspect of your foot. I even learned that your feet can be two different sizes! My left foot is 7.7 C and my right is 8.2. Who knew? I am also barely five feet tall so my feet are freaking huge. I also have high arches. It was neat to see where I fall in all of these categories. I never knew my ball girth and now I know! #themoreyouknow
Next up, Jackie brought me out some shoes to try based on what she learned about me via talking to me, watching my feet, and my scan metrics. She brought out a pair of New Balances, which I’ve worn before. They felt good but after feeling my toe up front, I didn’t have enough space to move, so she brought me the 8.5, which felt much better. (If I were on my own, I would have taken the 8s). I did a little jog in them outside and moved on to the second pair — the game changers. On Running’s On Cloud X was put on my feet and instantly, I knew they were the best. They were light and breathable with Zero-Gravity foam and the CloudTec® sole made to move in all directions. Perfect for quick movements when doing Orange Theory, HIIT or if I get super motivated and do sprint workouts. I was sold! It’s so much more than a cute pair of shoes. But these are pretty cool looking, which is a plus.
But I wasn’t done yet. Jackie also tested some insoles on me with the shoes, to give me even more support. After testing out a few, we selected the best ones. Then she hooked me up with Injinji socks — these are like gloves for your feet. Since my toes rub together, this is also something they identified to prevent blisters. And finally, Jackie showed me the Addaday roller. She recommended that I use this for 5-10 minutes each morning when I wake up, to roll out any tightness and knots. WHOA! Where has this been all my life? I can roll my feet, neck, hamstrings — really any part on my body.
I walked away after my consultation with Fleet Feet feeling great. The proper gear is SO essential for your runs. My beat up Nikes had seen better days and no wonder my feet were taking a beating. I work out several days a week and log lots of miles, so ensuring my feet are equipped with the best possible gear, tailored to me, is priceless. And it doesn’t matter if you run one mile or 20 or work out one day a week or seven. Any movement impacts your feet. The combination of rolling, along with proper shoes, insoles (and even socks) will help me keep on running for years to come. I can’t recommend this process enough. (By the way, download the Fleet Feet app and sync it with your Strava account, and they’ll help you keep track of how long you’ve had your shoes. They also keep your foot scan results on file forever, so next time you need shoes, it’s there and ready for you. Did I mention you can also earn rewards with each mile ran?)
Finally, going back to values, the team at Fleet Feet were so incredibly genuine and nice. Every person I spoke with was friendly and knew their stuff. The owners Bob and Deb even came out and introduced themselves. It was a personalized touch you won’t get at other stores. Plus, the resources they have are incredible. In addition to this fit process, they do sports bra fittings, they have injury prevention, hydration, electronics, and a new partnership with lululemon. Plus they have a blog and training programs, running groups, clinics, and seminars. (And if you’re a newbie and want to train for the Great Race with the help of Fleet Feet, use referral code JACKIE to get $5 off registration through 7/8). What an invaluable resource for the Pittsburgh running community!
The Big Run
On June 5, runners from around the world will celebrate Global Running Day, and Fleet Feet and Brooks are hosting The Big Run. This is an annual nationwide 5K, so no matter where you live, you can participate! I also LOVE these awards, which you don’t always see:
- Common Ground: Finish with the most common finish time and you’ll be entered to win a big prize.
- Middle of the Pack: A male and female who finish in the exact middle.
- Social Butterflies: Those with the most-engaged social media posts will win big.
Sorry, fast runners, but sometimes it’s fun to recognize us middle-of-the-road kinda peeps. I also love the giving back aspect: For every 5,000 participants, Brooks will give back to a high school track-and-field program in need. Join the Brooks Run It Forward challenge by syncing your Strava account with the Fleet Feet app and track your miles.
Visit https://www.fleetfeet.com/thebigrun to find your city. Pittsburgh friends: click here to sign up. It will be at North Park. Let me know if you’ll be there so I can say hi and snap a pic. $25 gets you registration/a bib, medal, t-shirt, and food — you can’t beat that! Plus it’s in the evening during the week, a nice change from early weekend runs.
Disclosure: In exchange for a review of the Fit ID process and promotion of The Big Run, I was provided with free gear and race registration. All opinions are my own, as always.