Running Shoe Education:

Local Specialty Running Shoe Retailers:
Fleet Feet (Six Forks):
Fleet Feet (Cameron Village):
Fleet Feet (Ridge Road):
Inside Out Sports:
New Balance Store (Raleigh, Midtown):
New Balance Store (Durham, Southpoint):

Online Running Shoe Retailers:  (formerly Eastbay)    (online carries more/better shoes than in-store)

I can also share some online discount deals and sellers.  Let me know what you think you are looking for.

For awhile, I was also a shoe tester for one of the majors.  Several of the big box stores may not have the right product to support the type of training that you will be doing as an athlete.  I would rather find a great running shoe or spike, preferably on sale (maybe in a color I am not wild about) than get a shoe that “looks cool” or “has better style”.  Staying injury-free and healthy is your first priority as an athlete.  Many of the local specialty stores will help you find a good fit… many of them offer student athlete discounts (be sure and ask)… and many of them have a return policy that allows you try a shoe out (be sure and ask).  Most of the people who work at the specialty stores are also athletes with extensive running experience.

Shoe cushions all have a “useful life span”, and it has limits.  An efficient runner can exhaust the useful life on a cushion before wear indicators appear — such as tread wear, holes in uppers, heel area tearing, etc.  In fact, true cushion wear and cushion compression is very difficult to see.  If a distance runner does a 10mile run, it is possible that cushion will not fully decompress for 2 to 3 days from that pounding… and it is not something observable with the eye.  On older shoes (and older could be 3 months for an athlete), as the cushion approaches the end of its useful life, a runner might experience foot pain, leg pain, knee pain, back pain, etc… listen to your body.

Any time an athlete wants to discuss pain or discomfort, the first thing that we will assess is the current shoe, the wear and life of it, and if it might relate to the issues being discussed.

For Distance athletes, I often recommend 2 pairs of running shoes (or more) that they can rotate. This helps with: (1) life of shoes, (2) reducing overuse injuries, (3) general foot/ankle conditioning. As an athlete becomes more competitive, consider having “the next pair of shoes” in a box on the shelf; also, consider a “racing flat” (lighter weight training shoe) for workouts in place of spikes.

If athletes plan to race in spikes, I want those athletes training in spikes in some workouts (or sections of workouts), but not every workout and often not the full workout. Distance athletes can use XC spikes for Track, and we replace the spike inserts with 1/4″ spikes. If an athlete is to pick only 1 pair of spikes to buy and use, I recommend considering a rating that has a wider distance range (for example 60m-400m, 800m-2mile, 400m-5000m).