Running Changes Everything®: Getting Started with the Fleet Feet Experience

Adina Crawford runs on a trail.

Adina Crawford knows one of the most beautiful things about running is how simple it is.

“You’ve just got to lace up your running shoes and head out the door and go,” she says.

But she also knows that getting started as a new runner — specifically finding that first pair of shoes, the right pair of shoes — takes some help.

Crawford got that help when she walked into her local Fleet Feet store for the very first time.

“I wanted to start running, but I didn’t know anything about how to get started or what shoes to buy,” Crawford says. “I’m so grateful for Fleet Feet. That’s where my journey began. That’s when I became a runner. The first visit to the store offered me the complete package of expertise and understanding that I needed.”

Crawford was a late-bloomer who began running later in life. As a woman of color in her 40s, she was admittedly anxious and self-conscious when she walked into Fleet Feet for the first time 13 years ago. But all of that melted away the moment she was greeted by Robyn Gault, who owned the Fleet Feet store in Gaithersburg, Maryland at the time.

Friendly Outfitters Offer Personalized Solutions

Adina sits at a fit bench inside Fleet Feet.

Not only did Gault offer a warm, personal greeting that put Crawford at ease, but she also interspersed her expertise in a calming way.

“I was kind of nervous because I was going into uncharted territory, but Robyn came over and greeted me and really made it a welcoming experience,” Crawford says. “She asked me what she could help me with, talked me through the process of finding the right pair of shoes and told me not to worry. She made me feel comfortable and that’s what made it such a wonderful starting point for me.”

After getting acquainted, Gault took Crawford through the Fleet Fit outfitting experience, selected several pairs of shoes for her to try on and helped her understand the differences between the fit, feel and ride of each one. Crawford loved the way the pair of Brooks Ghosts fit her feet, cushioned her stride and seemed to put a spring in every step.

But that was only one step of the experience. She also needed help finding the right sports bra and selecting comfortable, moisture-wicking running apparel and a good pair of running socks. Gault helped with all of that, too, providing expert bra-fitting advice and recommending a variety of running capris, tops and socks that were comfortable, stylish and performance-oriented.

The warm, welcoming interaction Crawford experienced at Fleet Feet became a key pillar of her running journey.

“A lot of it was understanding the basic information and feeling comfortable about it,” Crawford says. “If you’ve never run before, you want to know, ‘What kind of shoes do I need?’ and ‘How do I find the right sports bra?’ and small things that you don’t know, like, understanding chafing issues that can occur if you’re not wearing the right kind of materials or if something doesn’t fit you well. All of that was taken care of during my first visit.”

Training Programs Provide Guidance and Community

Adina purchases items at a Fleet Feet store.

Crawford also learned about Fleet Feet’s beginner running program and soon began training for her first 5K. With the right shoes and comfortable clothes, she was on her way. She continued to visit Fleet Feet for group runs, for Black Girls Run! events at the store and, of course, when she needed new shoes. She finished that 5K, then started training for her first half marathon with another Fleet Feet program.

In a later visit to the store, Crawford was taken through the Fleet Feet fit id® 3D foot scanning experience. The state-of-the-art digital scanning system uses a set of specialized cameras to capture 12 precise data points to construct a 3D profile of a runner’s feet. That digital information, combined with Fleet Feet’s dynamic pressure mapping system, helps the store’s highly trained Outfitters assess a runner’s natural stride pattern and match shoes that will provide an optimal fit for the specific length, width, volume and arch height of a runner’s feet.

“The whole process they do is phenomenal,” Crawford says. “They measure your feet and collect all of this data specific to how your feet move and they use that to get everyone set up right with the best shoes. Knowledge is power, especially for a new runner. Every time I’ve ever gone to Fleet Feet to get new shoes, they’ve always helped me find the best ones for me.”

Adina’s positive energy and willingness to immerse in the running community have become part of her foundation of fitness that has led her to continued 5Ks, half marathons and marathons.

Want to know what Adina’s running in? Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll highlight her favorite gear.

Keep Reading