Today I bought my second pair of walking shoes. I estimate that I walked between 350-450 miles on my last pair, so it was definitely time for a new pair. Last year, I went to The Runners High to get my shoes, so I went back again today. I really like the personal service you get there.
The salesperson greeted me immediately and I told him what I wanted. He checked out my old shoes, noted how and where they were worn so that he could determine where I needed more or less support, and then told me to walk down the hall. He watched how I walked, to see if I pronated or not, and so on. He then brought out a few different pairs of shoes and told me how they were different from my current shoe and what to be aware of when I tried them on. He also brought out “this year’s model” of my current shoe. After trying them all on, I found that I liked my original pair the best, so I just bought the new model year.
I also bought some new socks, and even there the service was great. He had me try on different pairs, looked in the sale box to see if there was something there I could wear, and so on.
I left feeling like I got exactly what I needed versus the feeling that I got what the store wanted to sell. Like anyone else, I like the pricing you can find at big box stores, but in my opinion, that really individualized, knowledgeable service is still the purview of the specialized store.