Support Your Local Running Store

When you walk into the Movin' Shoes in Encinitas you'll notice the obligatory "Stop Pre" poster, the signed posters from Meb and Adam Goucher, the yellow and fading newspaper clippings of local high school track and cross country stars, and if you look up, you'll see old pairs of shoes hanging off the ceiling, used shoes, worn out, retired after winning races, or used up after miles and miles of hard work.

When I started running, someone told me to go to Movin' Shoes in Encinitas. I had been buying the cheapest, most over-built shoes I could find in the bargain bin of local big chain sporting goods store. I was nervous going to Movin' Shoes because it was a real running store, and I didn't feel like a real runner. A guy named Jim helped me. He was a runner. He knew his stuff, but didn't talk down to me. He had me try on different shoes and had me run outside in them. He put me in a pair of Adidas (I think), and running in those shoes changed the way I felt about running.

Movin' Shoes celebrates its 35th anniversary today. How can Movin' Shoes, and other small, specialty running shops stay relevant in the days of smartphone apps that let you scan barcodes and find the cheapest online price of the item that you are holding in your hands? They care about running. They hire experienced and knowledgeable runners to work in their stores. They know running, and are passionate enough about it to clip out newspaper articles of local high school races and tack them up on their walls.

Our sport needs stores like these. We need a place to store the memories, share the stories, and just to hang out and talk about running. We need a place to send our friends who are just starting to catch the running bug, knowing that they will be in good hands, and that they will be put in the right shoe for them, not the right shoe for the bottom line, or the shoe with the latest gimmick. We need stores that reach out to the running community by organizing free group runs on the weekdays.We need running stores where the employees actually care about running and give up their Saturday mornings to organize a charity 5K, or give up their weekend mornings by acting as tour guides to the local trails.

I'm guilty of scouring the Internet to save a few dollars on new shoes, of hitting up the daily deal sites and buying discounted gift cards for online running stores, but I'm going to make a change this year. While I'm sure that there will still be some online deals that will just be too good to pass up, I'm going to try harder to support the local running store, the store that put me in my first pair of real running shoes, and the store that I sent my mom to when she decided to run a half marathon, because our sport needs these stores to stick around.

Last weekend my daughter and I ran a 5K, hosted by Movin' Shoes, a fundraiser for a young woman with cancer, organized by Mick, a track coach at UCSD. They opened the store early, and I brought my daughter to the store. We were the first ones there and as I sat surrounded by the history of San Diego running, Carl, the owner told my daughter stories about the old shoes hanging from the ceiling, giving a short history of the races and the trails that they had tread, talking about them fondly, and you could almost see the trails and the track, hear the cheers and sharp breaths, and this passion for running is why Movin' Shoes has lasted 35 years and I hope will last another 35. We need these local running stores to survive because they treat our sport with reverence, knowing what every runner that has ever puked on the trail, or collapsed on the finish line knows, that this sport is so much more than just a hobby.

Thanks for reading.

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