It is essential to fit a patient properly for athletic footwear.However, it is increasingly difficult to find a shoe retailer with qualified employees who take the time to fit their customers. Yet, all over this country, there are independently owned specialty running shoe stores that take pride in providing expert advice and fitting of footwear. These stores usually employ experienced runners who love their sport and their work.
Most of the premium athletic shoe companies send their technical sales representatives to the specialty stores to conduct clinics for the employees. Therefore, the specialty running shoe store employees receive continuous updates and training in new technologies. Most of these stores require that customers have their feet measured before they ever try on a shoe.
Specialty running stores train their employees to evaluate feet, running gait and injury history in order to make a shoe recommendation. In many cases, the shoe recommendation is based upon a more careful analysis than what the patient’s own podiatric physician gives.This should not be the case given the fact that the podiatric physician should be able to provide a far more comprehensive evaluation of a patient. Yet, in certain situations in which the DPM cannot give such an evaluation, the next best option is a direct referral to the specialty running shoe store for advice and fitting of shoes.
In regard to locating a specialty running shoe store in your area, simply contact several of your favorite running shoe companies and ask for a list of their “preferred retailers,” which usually includes independent specialty stores. Most shoe companies list these preferred retailers on their Web sites. Go visit the store to ensure that the inventory and staffing is adequate for your patients’ needs. Leave a stack of your business cards. A store like this can refer more patients to you than any busy primary care physician.