CARROLLWOOD – The Running Center, at 14308 N. Dale Mabry Highway, #E, in the Landmark Shopping Center, specializes in products for runners and walkers, including shoes, apparel, accommodative inserts, energy products and other accessories. What sets the Running Center apart is the knowledge and expertise of the staff, according to owner Bill Davison.
A lifelong runner and nationally certified pedorthist, Davison opened the Running Center in 1998 with the intent of being able to provide comfortable footwear for runners and walkers. While the Running Center carries many of the same shoes as chain stores at similar prices, Davison’s qualified staff of experienced runners is focused on matching each customers feet with just the right shoe.
“First we find out what the customer will be using the shoes for, then we perform a free gait analysis to determine the type of shoe that will work best,” Davison said. “Most people tend to roll their feet in when they walk or run, which is called pronation. Whether they are a walker or a runner, they’ll need a stabilizing shoe with good support. Someone with a higher arch will need a shoe that absorbs shock better. Once we do the gait analysis, we match the customer’s foot type with two or three options for a shoe that will work best for them.”
Shock absorption is important because, as Davison said, three to four times a person’s body weight comes down on each heel strike when they are running. When walking, the force is still considerable at two to three times the body weight.
The Running Center offers two or three models of shoes that they believe will work well for a customer, because each brand will fit differently. Although a customer may have to try on several different brands to find the shoe that works best for his or her feet, Davison says the results are worth the effort.
“If you have the wrong shoes, you’re going to notice a lot of discomfort,” Davison adds. “People often think that the best shoe is the most expensive shoe, but that’s not necessarily true. Price doesn’t dictate what is best for your feet. Our intent is to get people comfortable footwear that performs for their foot type.”
Because he is a certified pedorthist, Davison is qualified to recommend accommodative inserts to make the shoes fit even better.
“We probably have the best selection of customizable inserts for shoes in the Tampa Bay area,” Davison said. “We have accommodative inserts to cover everything from high arches to those who are severely flat-footed.”
The oldest running specialty store in Tampa, The Running Center carries more than 100 styles of shoes in widths from 2A to 4E, from major manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Saucony, New Balance and Mizuno. The shop carries running apparel, sports bras, compression socks and a range of running accessories.
For information, visit www.runcenter.com, or call (813) 908-1960.