Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Specialty Running store 0, Lady Foot Locker 1

I tried to find a jacket at my local running store today. They have a bad track record with me and today was no exception. It's a small store and they don't carry a lot of inventory, and in my experience, I rarely find what I'm looking for in my size.

Quick rant: I wear a size large. I know that I have weight to lose, but I have to be very skinny before I drop into medium territory. I am a little taller than average and hippy and I have a big chest. I'm not large just because I'm fat. Really. Partly it is weight and partly it is body type. I would gladly trade my thighs in on the string-bean runner models but haven't been able to find a store that will take them.

I looked around and was not thrilled with the selection. Almost every jacket they had in my size was black and cost more than $100. I wanted a very light spring jacket and not rain gear, and I seemed to have trouble explaining what I was looking for. I found a size medium jacket on the sale rack that I kind of liked and tried it on just for grins. Weirdly, it fit me better than a large in the same brand of a different jacket, but both were too snug for comfortable movement. The third jacket, which did fit, was almost $150 and I didn't really like it. I told the salespeople that I didn't find anything I really liked in my size and left feeling really crummy. Like I was a Very Large Freakish Person Who Should Not Be Running. They had plenty of stock in medium, small, and extra small.

I went to Lady Foot Locker not really expecting to find anything. It was just a desperation move. I got very friendly help taking the one jacket that looked promising down off the wall. It was only $59. It was sky blue on the outside and had a yellow mesh material on the inside. It was made of a breathable material and had a hood. And it fit just right. Exactly what I was looking for. They were having a buy one, get one 1/2 off sale on apparel so I picked up a cute pair of yoga pants too.

I tend to feel not very welcome in specialty running stores, both because they don't seem to carry much in my size and because I feel like I am not perceived as a "real runner" by the staff. That latter part could easily be just my own insecurity talking. I know that a lot of people recommend that new runners go to a specialty running store to get their first pair of shoes, but in my experience, those stores just aren't friendly unless you look like you can do a sub-15-minute 5K. I hope that my experiences aren't typical. No one should judge a runner by looks -- I've passed lots of people wearing size xs in races and have been passed by plenty of xxls.


  1. P.S. Kilax had a great post about "exercising elitism" and that's sort of the feeling I get sometimes from running store staff. I'd rather just deal with the LFL salespeople, who are obviously on commission!

  2. amen! This happens to me too. In the bike shop, running store, everywhere...I don't think it's just you!

  3. Some stores are like that, some employees are like that. Luckily, not all are like that. I think most people are intimidated going into a running store. You just need to respect yourself as an athlete.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07