Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lucky Foot. I love that guy!

There's a great local shop for running shoes, attire, gear, fuel and superior customer service in RVA:  

Lucky Foot!!

Lucky Foot is a small locally-owned and operated footwear and running-gear store on Rittenhouse Drive in Midlothian. They hosted packet pickup for the Instant Classic events, so I stopped in to grab my race bib and swag-bag. I left with my gear AND a new pair of perfectly-fitted Saucony kicks. My experience was so great, I have to share.

I've had a pretty tough time finding the right pair of running shoes to meet my needs on both trail and (occasionally, blah!) asphalt. I've gone through 5 pairs of shoes in the past year and a half, due mostly to poor footwear choices; only partly to high mileage. I've been battling some quirky foot injuries and I'm pretty sure that most of them have occurred because I've been wearing the wrong shoes. (OK, so I did break my pinky toe during an intense game of Hide & Seek with Lucy; that was a my bad!)

My feet are weird; they are super wide with extremely high arches. Those factors alone make it challenging to find the right running shoe; throw in the desire to have good trail traction (and a now-deformed pinky toe) and you've got yourself a tricky search. My prior shoe was the Brooks' Ravenna 4, chosen because of the great traction and "comfortable enough" rating after a spin around the block. After a few months, I started to have some discomfort in my forefoot, which turned out to me a Morton's Neuroma, a swollen nerve aggravated by a shoe that wasn't wide enough.

About 3 weeks before the marathon, my foot was really bothering me. I thought it was probably too late to buy new sneakers ("they" say you shouldn't run a race in a new pair of shoes), but I knew I wouldn't be comfortable in the Brooks for 2 miles, let alone 26. Unsure of what to do, I started running in my trusty kick-around shoes, a pair of Saucony Cohesion 6 sneakers. Almost immediately, my pain lessened and I kicked my Brooks to the curb (it's not you, its me...). It was looking like I'd be running my first marathon in a old pair of shoes that were very comfortable but already had over 400 miles on them and been used most recently for raking leaves and chasing Lucy around my local Target ("NO, you can NOT have more sweet tea!")

Jump to Tuesday, marathon week....I ran on the treadmill for about 2 miles and it seriously felt like my shoes were going to fall apart on my feet, right in the middle of the dang YMCA. Great. Wonder how they'll hold up over 26.2 in, like, 4 days? Hmm...this could be a problem.

Cue Friday, packet pick-up day and less than 24 hours from the start of the marathon. Great time to buy a new pair of shoes.

Luckily, I found myself at Lucky Foot, my new favorite place to buy shoes and maybe my new favorite place in the world (other than Total Wine, of course). I'll start with how convenient their location is; close to 288 on Hull Street in Midlothian, right next to one of my other favorite places, ROSS! Finally, I don't have to cross the river to go shoe shopping! My husband is really gonna love saving that toll money.

Secondly, their shop is really great for parents who have tiny toddler tag-a-long terrors (say that 5 times fast) with them on their shopping excursion.

What's that I see? A play area for the kiddos stocked with trucks, blocks and trains? Brilliant!

Now my kiddo might not run amuck in your (very neatly organized) store and drive me so crazy that I end up leaving without buying a single thing, toting her like a sack of horse feed straight to the car. SIKE! You know she'll still get into trouble but at least you've provided some toys to keep her occupied for at least a few minutes. Genius!!

After shoving Lucy off to the play area (where's the EXIT? haha), I started chatting with one of the shoe pros in the shop. Didn't get his name (way to go, loopy), but I think he may have been the owner. Anyway, he was extremely knowledgeable, patient and professional; exactly what I'm looking for in the customer service department. He measured my feet, old-school style with the silver measuring tool, then offered to analyze my gait.

I'm sorry, what?! You betcha!

I jogged a little, back and forth, as Lucy sprinted behind me laughing hysterically (you can lead a horse to water...)

He categorized me as a "neutral" runner, meaning I don't really over or under-pronate (news to me). Also, he said that I definitely need to be wearing size WIDE shoes. The Brooks shoe I was in was not only too narrow, but is also not made for runners with a neutral gait. Looks like I've been doing it all wrong, man!

I've been wearing a size 9.5 for years, so when he brought out a pair of 9 WIDE Saucony Ride 6, I was really expecting them to be too small..........And its a perfect fit! 


This guy knows his stuff! Not only did he fit me perfectly (for maybe the first time, ever), he gave me 10% off that day, a coupon for a future purchase and told me to come back and pick up my 26.2 magnet on the flip-side of the marathon. 

I ended up wearing my shiny new Saucony Ride 6 sneakers for the marathon and they felt awesome. Although they aren't technically trail shoes, they gripped well enough and I'll pick comfort over traction every time when the fit is this good. I'll definitely be heading back to Lucky Foot the next time I need a new pair of kicks, and of course I dropped back in to grab that cute little green magnet.