Where do people like to buy running shoes? Preferably a place that will do a fitting test.
pacers in alexandria, ask to be fitted by Joe.
very attentive guy and will literally get every shoe out to make sure you get the correct fit if needed.. however you probably won't need him to do this only maybe 1 or 2 shoes until you find one you like.
I've had good luck w/ Pacers for the past 6 years. They have multiple locations in the area - see www.runpacers.com.
Also, some of our merchant partners sell running shoes:
Conte's Ballston store is co-located with Potomac River Running.
Georgetown Running Company. I've found their staff to be helpful and they allow "test" runs, but parking is an issue at both their G'town and Chevy Chase stores...
City Sports. Their Chinatown store has lots of running shoes, but, the few times I shopped there, the sales people seemed to lack the training found at the above-mentioned stores.
I'll second Pacers in Alexandria. I went once with my girlfriend, and they helped her for almost an hour to find the right pair. I ended up buying a pair of shoes I didn't even need for 6 months because I thought they did such a good job with her.
If I need something quick, Fleet Feet in Adams Morgan is closer to my apartment, and I've always gotten great service when I go there.
Most of my shoe buying happens at Sports Authority when Asics is changing models though. Once you know which shoes you love I suggest that. I'll buy 3-4 pairs at a time when they are $90 instead of $140.
I have to with Pacers, especially in Alexandria. They have even shipped my shoes to me in Afghanistan. You can't beat them.
Thanks for the great advice everyone! Very helpful!
I prefer PRR....Potomac River Running....they have stores in Arlington (next to Conte's) and DC. They have a treadmill in the store, will watch you run and will recommend shoes for you. They have a good selection of shoes and will order anything you need that they don't have. They also keep a record of your shoes (model, size, etc) so you can just go in and tell them you want the same kind....much easier than bringing in your old shoes!
I get mine at PR and they do a great job with fit. When I got orthodics, my gait changed completely and I went to a neutral shoe. I was coming off a stress fracture and they found me a shoe that had the right cushioning to deal with my injury. Very attentive - I went to the one in Tysons. Also, 10% discount for most running clubs (I'm guessing that DC Tri is in that list, but I'm not sure. I am in another running club and used that for the discount.)
Just a note about an important difference in the policies at Pacers and PRR. At PRR, you can return shoes up to 30 days after -- but ONLY if the shoes have NOT been outside (so, you can test run on a treadmill only). With Pacers, you can return the shoes up to two weeks later no matter how much or where you have run with them.
I've been shopping PRR for a long time (Burke, Cleveland Park, Ballston and Falls Church locations) and I always liked the people there but in dealing with some knee problems i have also had for a number of years, my ortho thinks half my problem is i have been running in the wrong shoe and it worsened my injuries. I went back to PRR a few times and got a new shoe, thought it was good, but by the third or 4th time I had run in it it sucked and at that point I was stuck with the shoe. I recently went to Pacers (pentagon row) and Ryan helped me there- he was really friendly and worked with me for a long time and told me that I should take my time with the shoe, really test it out for a week or more, and then if it hurts at all to come back and he will get me in another one. Pretty cool-- and of course, with my problem feet, after racing in the shoes on sunday, I'll be going back. So if you have problem feet/knees like me, I'd recommend Pacers over PRR.
Don't forget Georgetown Running
"DC Tri Club members receive a 15% discount"
In fact, we have a bunch of merchant partners who give us great deals.
while I like pacers (and run with the group there and know Joe personally and he absolutely knows his stuff) - I think that if you want the real test (not just a person talking to you and watching you walk/run on the sidewalk), I'd HIGHLY recommend Road Runner Sports in Falls Church.
They will talk to you about your running (how long, how far, what surfaces), put you on a computerized pad to get your foot type (arches). Then they will put you on a treadmill and tape you running - watching back in super slow-mo to see how you strike, roll, and lift... and then they will fit you in shoes they think will work letting you run on the treadmill with them on to get a feel for them. The best part and a big reason for my recommendation over Potomac River Running: once you pick your winner you have 60 days (or something like that) to return them - no questions asked! I don't know of any other store in the area that will let you return a used pair of running shoes if they don't work. Since shoes are easily $100+ I think this is a huge incentive.
I say all of this knowing that once you find the perfect pair for you... you can buy future pairs online or at expos. I think it's absolutely worth the trip to Falls Church.