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I’ve bought running shoes in a store and online now. As much as I like the convenience of online shopping, buying running shoes online just doesn’t seem to work for me.
I prefer buying my running shoes after trying them on, touching them and seeing if I really like their look. In 2014, that’s only doable by going to the actual store offline. (Maybe in a few years somebody will have figured out a way to do this online.)
I’ve bought my shoes at the Running Wild stores in Marion and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I like that they ask questions: How much do you run, for example.
They measure your feet and ask about style and brand preference. If you want you can take the shoes on a run on their treadmill. (I assume they won’t let you get a full workout in. :))
Several options are presented – including shoes currently on sale – and you can make a fairly educated decision.
That experience isn’t possible online, yet, so I don’t mind going to an actual store – as much as I don’t like to go shopping outside of Amazon.
I once bought a pair of running shoes at a store and they had a sign that said something along these lines:
“Yes, you might be able to find a better deal online, but you are here now.”
It may have said something about the store’s excellent service, too. Either way, that sign prompted me to buy my next pair of running shoes online. Basically, it reminded me of the option. (Don’t think of a blue elephant. Of course, now you are thinking of one.)
Online: I bought the exact same pair that I had bought at the store the last time. I liked that pair. It arrived quickly and they didn’t fit the same. Awesome.
Yup, I could send it back and say what? Send a better fitting pair of the same? Hmm.
Instead I just dealt with it and got used to the slightly different fit. It worked fine, but definitely not as perfect as the offline experience and purchase.
I went back to shopping at the store for my running shoes. When I drop $100-plus for a shoe I surely want to make sure what I get is what I really want.
For now, I prefer shopping offline in the case of running shoes.
I would recommend a speciality running shoe store, too. I did buy shoes at a box store before and while they seemed to work for a bit, when I started running 10-15 miles a week actual running shoes were much better, from my experience.