“The Asics at Kohl’s are not the same as ours,” said Baum, who owns Flying Feet Sport Shoes.
He explained that manufacturers make a different level of shoes for specialty stores like his. The box retailers will carry something that looks similar but goes by a different name. It might have any number of small tweaks — such as a glued insole or less cushion — that allow retailers to sell it at a cheaper price.
“A person running around the block once or twice a week can get by on department store shoes,” Baum said. “But when they’re ready to get into higher mileage — or start getting aches and pains — it might be time to get the good stuff.”
Baum, 63, has been in the running shoe business for 38 years. He said he started selling sneakers out of the back of his Subaru station wagon while coaching. In 1982, he opened his first location, just 100 yards away from his current storefront in Spring Garden Township.
Baum and the store’s 12 employees use a thermal board to look at foot type and body alignment to determine what type of shoe a runner needs — neutral cushioning, stable cushioning or motion control. Baum said in addition to measuring for size, they talk about what the customer is planning to do in the shoe before making a recommendation.
“It shouldn’t matter — if you’re in the right type of shoe — what brand it is or what color it is,” Baum said.
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