New running shoe store hits its stride in the Third Ward
At the risk of sounding sexist, the following two sentences are generally not uttered by men or toward men in the course of a normal day:
"I like those shoes. Where did you get them?"
Women seem to say those things to each other daily, if not hourly. For most guys, however, shoes are an afterthought. We have a pair or two to wear to work; perhaps a special pair for weddings and job interviews; a pair for running or working out; one for the golf course and a maybe pair for cutting the lawn.
Whatever their purpose, as long as our shoes fit OK and don't lead to foot pain or screams of protest from the women in their lives, most men figure that they're doing their job.
I used to think that way. Then, I visited InStep Running and Walking Center, a specialty store located at 403 E. Buffalo St. in the Historic Third Ward.
InStep, which has a sister location in Delafield, is the retail arm of Mequon's InStep Physical Therapy and Performance Footwear. In addition to shoes and other accessories, the store offers trainers and physical therapists who will analyze your body, balance and the biomechanics of your running stride in order to put you in a shoe that will provide comfort, stability and peak performance.
"If you're not in the right kind of shoe for your foot and biomechanics, you're risking injury," store manager Cristin Van Driel said. "We try to cater to customers from the beginner all the way to the competitive runner.
"The other day at our Delafield store, a man came in with his wife and they were probably in their 70s and he was looking for a comfortable pair of walking shoes. We try to cater to customers from the beginner all the way to the competitive runner, but we're really here for anyone who needs a good pair of shoes to work out in."
Owner Chris Ponteri said the store plans to hold running clinics to help beginners develop good habits and to keep intermediate runners challenged.
"We liked this location because of its proximity to the lakefront and to a lot of people Downtown," he said. "We get people on their lunch hour who will come down and with all the development and condos; there are a lot of fitness-oriented people in this area."
Needing a new pair of running shoes, and a little motivation to get back into a regular running routine, I went through the InStep foot gait analysis and shoe selection process. Calvin Deutsch, one of the physical therapists who works with the stores, put me through a series of tests and then videotaped me walking and running on a treadmill.
I had heard the terms "pronator" and "supinator" in the past, but I wasn't sure what camp I fell into. Pronators generally are runners with a low, flat arch whose feet roll far inward during the weight-bearing portion of the stride. Supinators have high, rigid arches that restricts the impact of the stride to the outer edge of the foot.
Deutsch said that problems with the feet and shoes can lead to shin splints, knee pain and hip and lower back problems.
"When you look at what happens from the ground up, looking at shoes and footwear and orthotic inserts, it all effects the rotation of the leg," he said. "We take a close look at that and we can dial it in on video. We also look from the hip down and even the trunk down, because that can create rotational problems and can lead to unnecessary stressing of tissues."
After looking at tread wear pattern on my old pair of running shoes and the videotape of my stride, Deutsch determined that my stride is generally neutral. He let me try a variety of shoes and the one I picked was the Brooks Adrenaline which retails for $90. Most of the shoes at InStep run from $75 to $130, and they carry top brands like Brooks, Asics and Saucony. (Nike, the most popular brand at "big box" stores, is processing InStep's application to sell their products).
Although there are a variety of colors and styles available, Van Driel stressed that function and fit come before fashion.
"Right now, running and walking shoes are about 80 percent of our business, with the remaining 20 percent coming from apparel, nutrition and accessory-type things," Van Driel said. "We do the foot gait analysis for everyone interested in shoes to make sure they get the right type of shoe with the right amount of support and cushioning and the right fit."
AVOID! The staff at this store are all not very knowledgeable about running or bio-mechanics. I've been running for several years, and this is the worst running store I've ever been to. The salesclerk didn't do a bio mechanical check, didn't offer to videotape, except at a fee, didn't look at tread wear on previous shoes, didn't ask me about my current shoes or concerns I had about the shoes I have now. She simply selected a bunch of shoes, and stacked them up. She got out the first pair then mostly ignored me. Only half the shoes she got out were even in my size, and none of them really worked well. She said I could run up and down a very short hallway and that was it. Over the years, I've been to many running stores, and she lacked even the most basic knowledge about running. If I wanted a pretty gym shoe, I would have simply gone to a sporting goods store, where the sales staff also don't know about running. I walked out and will never go back. I recommend others avoid this store, as their sales staff lack basic knowledge that one would expect in a staff at a specialty running store.
CLAI @GREEN said: congrats this is clai from fred boutique on water, hey get some cards out , we can send you business, i bought a pair of shoes at the mall yesterday, didnt know you were their , now i do.Will buy all my running apparel and shoes from your store.
Rebecca said: Great store! I went there today to get a new pair of shoes and I was very impressed. They really took the time to help me find the perfect pair. Plus, they aren't a big chain store like you find in the maul...erm..mall, in my mind that is another plus.
sammy from tosa said: I'm very happy there is some competition now in the Milw. area. The other big running shoe company leaves ALOT to be desired in the customer service area (a thank you once in a while would be nice). I'll definetly be coming down to the ward for my next pair!
Excellent said: I over-pronate and get injured often. Great to have some analysis and help getting the right shoe this close to home.
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