In much the same way that Linda and I have been lamenting the demise of the brick-and-mortar bookstore due to the recent nationwide closing of Borders, I’ve noticed a distinct downswing in the influence of the physical running shoe store in the wake of internet shoe stores like Zappos and even Amazon.
Enter the Cleveland Running Company. As I was cruising the internets looking for a place to try out some minimalist shoes (before buying them cheap online), I stumbled across this article in the local news, which mentioned a new running shoe store opening in nearby Shaker Heights. Turns out, they’ve just gotten around to starting a running club that meets on Saturday mornings, so we thought we’d go make some new friends while delving a little deeper into this whole barefoot experience.
As it turns out, the combination of closed streets in the wake of filming for The Avengers and hordes of J-walking pedestrians from the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure made us late for the running group’s departure, so we decided to take a quick yog around the block while waiting for the store to officially open for the day. When we got back, we were greeted by none other than both co-owners, Jeff and Kelly, who promptly invited us into the store for bagels, oranges, and a thorough run-down of the many styles of running shoes on display.
UPDATE: As it turns out, Kelly was away that particular day at a race. We actually met Kathy, Jeff’s wife, who was a wonderful woman. We hope to also meet Kelly at some point… 🙂
During our short time at the store, I think both Linda and I were re-affirmed in our love of brick-and-mortar stores. Despite the fact that many stores simply can’t compete with the low prices and vast selection available online, they are able to offer so much more – community. Not only did we get a chance to talk face to face with something of an expert on barefoot-style and minimalist running and to try out several styles of shoes, but we also made new friends and joined a group of others who share our passion for running. How many times has Amazon offered you bagels while you took refuge from the rain?
All told, we were very impressed with The Cleveland Running Company, and I was more than happy to give them my patronage. Hopefully, the next few weeks with my spiffy new Merrells will give me enough experience to write a useful review, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, if any of you out there are looking for new shoes, or even simply a few new running partners, be sure to check out the Cleveland Running Company at 20150 Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights.
PS – If you’d like to be a stalker before you actually meet them, check out this spot they did on the local news. We also met Erica, the lovely t-shirt model, who leads some of the runs and is way into yoga for runners, which Linda is still determined to force me into doing; we’ll see who shall prevail on this one…
Read more barefoot adventures!