I usually buy my sneakers from Fleet Feet Rochester. I could save about 10% or maybe slightly more if I bought online. Sometimes I order online if there is a closeout deal or if I’m in a time crunch. But most of the time I buy from Fleet Feet. There’s one simple reason and it is not service. It’s that Boots and Ellen and Fleet Feet do a ton for the local running community. I don’t race very often and when I do it’s often out of town. So the only real way to help keep them in business (I do not think they are struggling and I hope it stays that way) is to buy my sneakers from them. I know I pay more and it is worth it to me.
I just ordered a new pair of my regular trainers: Mizuno Wave Precisions. This is my second pair of version 11 of the Precisions. Every run I did with this particular pair has resulted in blisters. I got a massive blister on my big toe and a small, yet intensely painful, blister under the nail of another toe. I switched back to my old sneakers (same exact model and size) and didn’t have a problem.
I emailed Ellen and asked if it was possible to have a bad pair of shoes. She said it was possible and offered to have me swap them out for a new pair! I was not expecting that but I should know not to be surprised by things like this. A while back Boots and Ellen gave me a fantastic Mizuno backpack. I think a Mizuno rep gave it to them as a free sample. This was a high quality “tri” backpack. I already had a nice gym bag so I gave the bag to my friend (a budding triathlete at the time).