I have been working at Greater Boston Running Company in Hingham nearly a year and I must say that I have learned a ton! I’ve learned a lot about the differences between each shoe brand (Mizuno’s wave plate, Adidas’ use of boost foam technology and Brooks’ DNA gel in their shoes), how to properly fit someone for a shoe using a gait analysis test and even the differences between various brands of GPS watches. I must say that it has been a very educational year!
But I’ve also learned a lot about other runners. I’ve paid attention to the friendly customers who pass through our doors and this is what I’ve noticed….
1. Male customers are the EASIEST! Why? Because they leave their house with a mission to accomplish: to purchase a pair of running shoes! Plus, many men know exactly what they want (or at least they think they do ;). “Adrenaline, size 10 in blue please.” And if on the rare occasion we don’t have it- they’ll take the next option without blinking an eye. “Sorry, we are out of the blue.” … “No worries. I’ll take the green.” Done deal. Transaction complete. Easy peasy.
2. Female customers love to browse, try on all the shoes and ooh and ahhh over the pretty colors. To be clear- this includes yours truly. We just love to try on ALL the different types of shoes! “I really love the way these Gel-Cumulus’ feel, but yea, I’ll try on more for fun! Why not?” Trying on new shoes is like playing dress-up as a little kid; it’s fun and makes us feel pretty! So why not?!
(And honestly- I love being a part of it! You want more shoes to try on?? Suuuure! I’ll bring out 5 more!! I get a little carried away sometimes – haha, whoops!)
3. Men really do buy Nip Guards… and they always wait until the last possible moment at the register. With a quick smile and nervous laughter the man slyly slides the pack across the cashwrap, “Oh yea…and I’ll get a pack of these too. Just in case, you know?” No buddy, I don’t really know. But that’s ok. I’ll add it to your transaction and we’ll be right as rain. 🙂
4. Women may just look a lot, but men touch! If a man doesn’t know the exact shoe he wants then he will approach the shoe wall with purpose. He picks up anywhere from 6-8 shoes and closely examines the seams of the upper, feels the tread and flexes each shoe at the toe. He places his right hand on his chin and nods to himself with certainty. Yes, yes, THIS is a good shoe for me. THIS is what I’m looking for. The best part is that (most of the time) he has no clue what he’s looking at or looking for. I love men. 🙂
5. Male customers almost always try to go up a half to full size in shoes. “I’m a 12…no… 12.5… actually bring me a 13. Yea, size 13.” Whereas women will squeeze their foot into any tiny shoe: I ALWAYS wear a 7! I’m a size 7. I swear I’m a 7.” It seems a smidge tights. Why don’t you try a 7.5, or maybe even an 8. “No, no. I swear it fits. I’m a 7.” ~
I’m no exception! I wore a size 8.5 running shoe for 10 years because that’s the size of my other shoes- UNTILL I was properly fitted. I remember the first time I tried on a size 9 and thought, “Ooooh, THIS is how my shoe should feel!! I can wiggle my toes!!
6. You learn a lot about feet! Hammer toes, bunions, incredibly flat feet, missing toe nails super high arches (essentially feet shaped like a rainbow)- you name it, I’ve seen it! Who knew feet were so different from person to person?
Earlier this week I spent a solid 2 hours drilling the Superfeet representative (a brand of insoles) about feet. We talked a lot about how properly measuring someone’s foot can tell you whether or not they are prone to over-pronating and arch pain.
Random tidbit: While bunions can run in a family, did you know that bunions are primarily caused when someone has been wearing a shoe/size that is too small? Many women wear high heels that are too narrow and pinch the side of their foot, which gradually pushes the foot bones into an unnatural shape. Ouch!!
7. Sock puppet shows. Enough said.
8. The employees are fairly obsessed with running. We look at each others’ training plans, read about running/nutrition/strength training any chance we get and occasionally go on a run together. Sometimes we even daydream about running an ultra… maybe… just maybe…
You have to love running store antics! We have a good time while helping others find the right gear to get them on the road!! Good times!