Runner’s Need Runners Need

Are you an overpronator, a neutral runner or a supinator? Yeah, I don’t know either.

And if you stepped into one of the handful of Runners Need stores, you would find out that the employees there wouldn’t know either; well not at first. When listing their locations, they include the following statement:

*Customers please note: So that we can provide the high level of service that we pride ourselves on, a shoe fitting (including gait analysis assessment) will usually take between 15 and 30 minutes. So please leave yourself plenty of time for your fitting, especially at the end of the day.

This gait analysis typically includes you, on a treadmill, getting videotaped, and having an expert sit down and review the video in detail with you to show you what shoe is best for you. They also have some pretty neat promotions. Like tomorrow, they are holding Adidas Footscan Day, which includes a computerized scan of your run.

Their approach is simple. They sell to runners. If you want to have the best gear for running, whether you are just starting, or you are training for a marathon, this is the place to go. They let you know when it is time to get new shoes. They offer expert before, during, and after your purchase; and this is real expert advice, not just information stolen and rehashed from other websites.

If you want cheap, fashionable, running-type shoes, don’t go here. I was a bit overwhelmed when I visited there because as I walked in, I quickly realized they were serious about running—and I wasn’t quite ready to commit. They weren’t for me (though now, 16 lbs later, I think I should probably head back). That’s a good thing; they don’t want everyone—they just want a community of people who, in turn, want them. And then the members of this community tell other members of the running community that they need to also go there. And so on. Not because Runners Need says in their brand guide that they are a runner’s store; it’s because they simply are. They have become an integral part of the runners’ social fabric.

They don’t compromise for looks or fads. They are hedgehogs, and they do their one thing very well. And their customers know it and show their appreciation with their wallets.

The really innovative companies are often very good at not doing too much.

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