Running shoe technology has advanced to the point that runners can no longer just select a shoe by size. Instead, they often need to take into account how their feet strike the ground, stabilization issues, and of course, the intended running surface.
The Shoe Dog system used by Road Runner Sports, located in Westminster, and celebrating the Grand Opening of their store in Lone Tree, was designed to help runners address all the variables involved in choosing the right shoe.
Following a measurement of both feet, a quick verbal Q&A is used to determine whether the customer runs more on pavement, concrete, track, or off-road surfaces, as well as how many miles they run per week.
Next, a video analysis of the runner's (barefoot) gait, allows the tech - and the customer - to see where the foot strikes the treadmill, as well as any pronation or supination that may occur. This is followed by a pressure test that shows where the runner puts most of his or her weight when standing still. Finally, the tech leads a discussion with the customer about whether a custom molded insole is appropriate.
The Shoe Dog experience is a friendly and pleasant one. The tech goes into each phase with a high-five and a big smile. Obvious care is taken to ensure that the customer is sized in both feet, and guided toward the shoe that, through the tech's training, will serve the customer best. Additionally, customers who need additional support from insoles, but not to the extent of custom-built orthotics, are offered the molded insoles as a potential solution.
Road Runner Sports offers shoes from a wide range of options, from highly supportive top-of-the-line ultra-distance running shoes, to minimalist shoes with virtually no interference to the runner's natural gait. Their selection also includes trail-running shoes, and even crosstraining shoes.
The running shoe industry (including manufacturers and retailers) is to a great extent geared toward guiding runners toward more support to cushion and soften imbalances. Customers should do some research, including reading up on the potential destabilizing effects of additional support prior to doing any shopping for running shoes. While highly supportive shoes and molded insoles may be a good solution for some, there is potential for causing harm to runners who don't need them.
Overall, Road Runner Sports and the Shoe Dog fitting system earn a ranking of 4 stars out of 5!
Along with the free fittings available at all their locations, Road Runner Sports is having $3600 of giveaways (including race entries, shoes, Garmin equipment, and Nike gear) during the Grand Opening celebration of their new store in Lone Tree. They invite you to join them for the 4-day celebration at 8457 S. Yosemite Street from March 20-23.
Regardless of whether you're an ultra-marathoner or a CrossFitter who prefers 100-400 meter sprints, knowing the anatomy and performance of your foot can help you find the right shoe for you.