Running Changes Everything®: Helping New Runners Get Started

Nathan Clemenson runs on a trail.

Nathan Clemenson admits it was only a few years ago that he was a new runner and didn’t know a lot about running shoes.

In the few times he had gone running, he just wore whatever sneakers he had. Like a lot of new runners inspired to start running, Clemenson was eager to get the right gear, but he didn’t know where to begin and needed some assistance. Plus, he has very wide feet, so he’d always had trouble finding shoes that fit

It was about that time that he walked into a Fleet Feet store in Austin, Texas, which changed everything.

“It was the best experience I could have hoped for,” Clemenson says. “I really didn’t know a thing about the different types of shoes or what I needed. They welcomed me into the store, asked me about my running and took me through the Fleet Feet Outfitting Process. The entire process was very personable, and they were knowledgeable about everything.”

Getting Properly Fit

Nathan Clemenson runs along a trail.

Clemenson credits store manager Ari Perez with taking the time and applying his knowledge of the current shoes and the data acquired from the Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting Process to help him find a pair of shoes that were ideal for his feet and gait. He settled on a pair of Nike Epic React 2 because they fit his feet so comfortably, and that helped him truly enjoy running for the first time. He started training regularly and felt his fitness improve, putting him on a path to running his first half marathon.

“Those shoes were so perfect for my feet,” he said. “I was so grateful for the fitting process at Fleet Feet. I wore those forever. That changed everything for me.”

He continued to visit Fleet Feet for fun runs, to buy new running shorts, socks and accessories and, of course, to get fitted for new shoes. He was so inspired by what he experienced, he eventually took a job there. Now he’s a manager of the store, has an exhaustive knowledge about running shoes and regularly helps customers find the best shoes for their feet.

Clemenson says the Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting Process is extremely effective because it helps the store’s expert shoe-fitters recommend the best models for each customer’s specific needs. The proprietary 12-camera 3D fit id® Foot Scanning Technology takes precise measurements of the length, width and arch height of a runner’s feet, while the Dynamic Pressure Mapping system provides understanding of the movement pattern of their feet and how a runner’s feet and ankles absorb impact and stress.

“One of the big things a customer will learn is what shape of shoe is good for them,” Clemenson says. “I’ve found that people are often wearing a shoe that’s a little too small for them or just not the right shape. We have 10 different brands of shoes in the store and most fit slightly differently. One brand’s size 9 might fit amazingly for that runner, but another brand might fit too short or too loose. Understanding those metrics helps us recommend shoes that will feel right in the heel, through the midfoot and in the toe box, so they won’t slide around out on a run and lead to blisters or be too snug and lead to discomfort.”

Trusting the Process

Once a runner goes through the Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting Process, the digital profile of their foot and gait pattern can be saved for future shoe-fittings or to help determine if a runner would benefit from semi-custom heat-moldable insoles. Plus, Fleet Feet’s 60-day return policy allows a customer to start the process over if a pair of shoes doesn’t feel as good as they did during the try-on experience, Clemenson says.

“Ultimately, we want to make sure that every runner has the best ride possible based on the size and shape of their feet and how they run,” Clemenson says. “A lot of it is about educating runners and helping them understand why they might be feeling a certain way in their shoes. Being able to visually analyze it and look at the data, you can get a real understanding about why they might need something different than the model they’ve been running in.”

Nathan Clemenson runs through a trail.

Although he only started running a few years ago, Clemenson has run two half marathons and plans to train for his first marathon in the near future. He shares the passion he’s developed for running and does everything he can to make sure every individual who walks into the store feels welcome and included like he did.

“The biggest thing for me and, one of the biggest reasons I decided to work at Fleet Feet, is that everybody is different and has different levels of experience and different needs for shoes,” he says. “If you’re a new or novice runner, it’s OK. You belong here. Our approach is always about making sure you can have the best experience possible.”

Need new running shoes? Fleet Feet outfitters will not only take the time to get to know you and your training goals, they'll take you through the fit id process to understand what type of shoes might work best for you, hand select a few good options for you to try on, and empower you to make the best choice.

You, too, can go through the Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting Process at a Fleet Feet store near you.

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