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Running Stores Go Virtual!

The Illinois “stay-at-home” order has resulted in a running boom here in Chicago. While we should not be running together right now, as our friends at Fleet Feet remind us - “Running Is Not Canceled”! We should feel comfortable continuing to run. Just be sure to practice safety guidelines with safe social distancing, including not meeting in groups.

Fleet Feet, like all local running specialty stores, are not open for in-store shopping. But many are offering special services to keep us running, including free shipping, same-day delivery, and curbside pick-up. (See our running store directory at the end of this post)

One of the things we all love most about shopping at a running specialty is the expertise they provide. With in-store shopping off-limits, Fleet Feet, and a number of local shops, have launched a virtual fitting process for your next shoe purchase. At CARA we wanted to check out this opportunity for ourselves, so CARA Executive Director Greg Hipp set up a virtual fitting.

Here is how it went in Greg's own words:

First off, I set up an appointment. Runners can go to a simple calendar on the Fleet Feet website and choose from the available times.

With the appointment set, Fleet Feet provided me a link to a Zoom meeting. No Zoom account was needed for the meeting. I used my Ipad for the meeting, but any computer or smartphone with a camera will work. Be sure you have your mic settings enabled so you can communicate back with your outfitter.

Once I connected, Fleet Feet outfitter Michael from the Lincoln Square location welcomed me in.

As we got started, I could see Michael, and he could see me as well. It's helpful to have your most recent running shoes nearby just in case the outfitter has some questions about what you have been wearing. Michael asked me about my current running goals, how much I'm running. He also asked me about any aches or pains or injury history.

Next up, Michael had me set up my Ipad on the floor at an angle that allowed him to view my feet and ankles. He then had me walk back and forth so he could evaluate my gait. He also had me put on my current running shoes and show where my toes lined up so he could check for sizing. Since Michael was familiar with my current shoe model, he was able to tell me what size I should need in each of the shoes he would later recommend.

Based on my video analysis and history, Michael quickly knew I had a neutral foot strike. With that, and knowing my training goals, he put me on a brief hold to find a few available options for me. He quickly came back with three shoes for me to consider. Michael recommended the Brooks Ghost, Asics Nimbus, and Saucony Triumph.

Michael explained the pros and cons to each shoe, their fit, and how they compared to my current running shoes. He also helped me understand the sizing for each. He knew I would need an 8.5 in the Asics, and an 8 in the Brooks and Saucony models.

Michael explained the different features of each shoe, and how they've advanced from past models.

The Saucony pair had some cool features and looked cool. However, I had previously run successfully in the Brooks Ghosts, so when he recommended these, I knew the fitting was spot on and I knew they were the right ones. I was also excited that they had the Ghosts in stock, as I had trouble finding these a couple of months back.

Michael then asked me about any other needs I had and then ended the Zoom meeting. He gave me a call by phone to set up the order. They were available for immediate curbside pick-up. But since I live just outside the city he said he could ship them UPS at no extra charge. Minutes after I got off the call I already had an email with a tracking number.

I give this virtual experience a great grade. The expertise was clear, and this was a great use of simple technology to make sure I still got the right fit. I urge all runners to always get fitted at their local running specialty. It ensures you get the correct shoes every time and also supports small businesses that support the running community.


Fleet Feet, with seven locations, is a great choice for your running purchases, along with many other locally-owned running specialties in the Chicago area. Here are all of our locally owned running stores. Check out their websites, social media, or give them a call to see how they can serve you:

Peak Running (Burr Ridge, Downers Grove & LaGrange) - Offering Virtual Fittings

Running for Kicks (Palos Heights)

Xtra Mile (Schaumburg)

Dick Pond Athletics (Carol Stream, Hoffman Estates, Lisle, Park Ridge, and St. Charles)

DNA Athletics (Plainfield)

Fleet Feet Schererville (Schererville, Ind.)

Human Race (Orland Park)

Lively Athletics (Oak Park)

Naperville Running Company (Naperville, Wheaton) - Offering Virtual Fittings

Runners High 'n Tri (Arlington Heights) - Offering Virtual Fittings

Running Excels (Beverly-Chicago)

The Runner's Edge (Libertyville) - Offering Virtual Fittings

The Running Depot (Crystal Lake)

847 Running (Libertyville) - Offering Virtual Fittings

Store Owners: Feel free to email us at if you have updates for us.

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