Remember back in the “olden days” when running stores were all about running and running races had more to do with a race than how much stuff you could cram into a goodie bag or how big your medal was.
As you are aware those concepts are as old as a one flavor of Gatorade, but that’s not necessarily all bad. With the popularity of running growing every year, the running store has become more than “just a store,” they have become community centers for runners to not only buy shoes, get advice, train and even meet the love of their lives (Fleet Feet 10 marriages and counting).
Each year Competitor Magazine puts out a list of the top 50 running stores in America. Four Chicago area stores are on the list of the best of the best.
Runners High n’ Tri – Arlington Heights
Naperville Running Company- Naperville
Dick Pond Athletics – Schaumberg
Fleet Feet Sports- Chicago.- The Fleet Feet brand has 12 of the 50 spots, including the top spot with 2012 Running Store of the year in Syracuse.
Readers picked the criteria and secret shoppers went to stores all over the country to see how they measured up to your expectations. The “best” running stores are the stores that offer exemplary customer service for every type of runner, organize training programs, group runs and local races, and provide knowledge and insights about the latest trends, the newest gear, proper running form and local trails, plus can answer tons of questions about racing, training and injury prevention.
If you have ever been in any of the four Chicago area running stores, you know they have earned the recognition.
What is your favorite running store in the area, did Competitor Magazine leave your running shop off the list?