The Hard Sell

Can you trust a specialist running shop?

1 to 20 of 28 messages
01/12/2007 at 20:53

Recently I had a bad experience trying to buy a pair of new shoes in Runners Needs in Camden. Wanting to try a pair of Inov 8 Flyrocs, I asked for a pair of 9 and a halves instead of my usual 9's having heard they came up slightly small. The pair I tried on felt massive. It turned out they were size 10's. I told the guy this but he tried a really hard sell strongly suggesting that I should have that size. They felt obviously too big so I asked for the next size down. As I had begun to suspect it turned out that the next two sizes down were out of stock. This isnt the treatment I expect from a specialist runners shop and it would have been bad enough on the high st. Should I ring and complain? Surely good advice is one of the reasons we go to shops like these?
01/12/2007 at 21:18

Wow - thats not good. I go to Run and Become in Victoria and have found the opposite.  You go in and its not the £90 of asics or the £100+ nike you leave with but rather a pair of £65 / £70 shoes that are actually the most appropriate after watching you jog up and down outside the shop.

02/12/2007 at 00:57

I am a 9 in shoes and take a 9.5 in Flyrocs so you were right about the size you needed.
06/12/2007 at 10:59

Not defending the shop mentioned in any way, but have found from personal experience that a fair number of runners (not including you in this NLR) are adamant that they are a certain size, only to end up buying shoes in a different size. They were obviously wrong to not tell you it was a different size from the start, but often it can be worth trying half sizes up/down as different brands have varying standards of fit.

The classic example is someone asking for an adidas in a uk 9 ending up with a 9.5 or 10 because they come up smaller than every other brand...

06/12/2007 at 11:48

Wish people would read the message first before replying. I said that I had read that Inov 8 were coming up small which is why I thought I would need a 9 and a half. Why dont shops keep in stocks of popular sizes. What use are they otherwise? I tried on 9 and a halfs at sweatshop and they were perfect.
cougie    pirate
06/12/2007 at 13:29

I dont think its worth righting off the shop because of one guys fitting on one day.

I'd have tried his reccomendation, but at the end of the day - they are your feet and you have the final say on what size you want.

It would have been silly to not try on the shoe - for some people it could have been a perfect fit.

I wouldnt bother complaining - the guy was doing his best.

NLR - yeah I'm sure the shop deliberately ran out of the popular sizes = because thats really sensible for them to do.....

06/12/2007 at 19:51

Coughie, by the sounds of it the guy was doing his best to get a sale and probably a bit of commision. The whole reason we go to specialist shops is for the advice they can give.

I wouldn't write the shop off either however I would be inclined to complain.  If this guy is selling shoes based on what he has in the stock room rather than what is best for the customer then that's just wrong.

cougie    pirate
06/12/2007 at 22:34
but how long does it take to try on a pair ? I have heard people reckon on buying a pair bigger than you would normally wear - doesnt work for me - but clearly for some it does.
07/12/2007 at 13:50
I understand that but NLR had already asked for a bigger size and from the sounds of it the salesman then gave him the 'hard sell' when he said they were a bit big. I could understand if the salesman's response was "I don't have a 9.5 but you can try on the 10 if you want"
07/12/2007 at 19:11
Was going to reply to cougie but Leslie you said it all for me. Just a guy trying earn comission at a runners expense. Luckily I had enough experience to say no. Could I really now reccommend that shop to people in my club who are new to running?
08/12/2007 at 16:30
well i will certainly be advising people not to go to any runners need shops, or cycle surgery (they seem to be associated) any more after hearing of this incident.
13/12/2007 at 21:40

Well, just for the sake of fairness, whilst I tink this salesman was doing completely the wrong thing, I think I should mention I have bought shoes from Runners Need 3 times now, and they have always been great with me, very happy to take time with me, explain everything and watch me on a treadmill and talk through what they suggest.  They've also been happy to suggest shoes which would not be 'in their best interest' if they were soley commissioon searching - they basically tried to downsell me (when my heart was set on Asics) to a NB pair which were nearly half the price, and in fairness felt pretty good.

 I think Cougar's right, they offer advice, it should be taken on board, but the decision & responsibility is with the customer.

Oh, and finally, I would phone and ask to speak with the manager, and explain your recent experience.  I'm pretty sure that when he hears your story, and hears you are not a newbie and you are a club member with lots of running buddies with ears, he will be more than keen to listen and speak to the salesmen (not assisitant!) about his approach.

14/12/2007 at 11:36
I've used Runners need at Canary Whary and I have to say they were very good. Took ages bringing out several pairs of shoes, doing gait evaluation etc. No hard sell. Maybe you got the bad apple. 
14/12/2007 at 21:40

I absolutely hope I got the bad apple!! I am all in favour of specialist running shops but they mustn't take our custom for granted by chasing sales targets over the good advice that we go to them for. I have had great service from Lincolnshire Runner for many years. In all my years of running this is a first, which is why I felt so incensed. I hope it isn't a sign of the way things are going. If so I think they are making a grave error. Another point is the lack of stock of popular sizes. The internet companies must be rubbing their hands. We cannot buy what they havent got. Sweatshop staff were much better but in the end I had to buy from For the record my 9.5's fitted perfectly and coped brilliantly with the Parliament Hills mud at the London XC Champs.
22/12/2007 at 11:20
just for the record I'm fairly sure that staff at most if not all running shops do _not_ work on a commission basis. Can't say for Runners Need as I've never worked there but I'd be very surprised if that was how they operated
26/12/2007 at 19:43

I would always trust my own experience and moreover my own instinct over anything said in a 'specialist' running shop. I've heard some complete nonsense discussed in running shops over the years!

In fact, while we're at it, I've always suspected that Asics gold dealers sell so many Asics because they are particularly well versed in talking them up to the detriment of other brands! (just my experience)

02/01/2008 at 22:37

I'm pretty sure I can safely say that no sales assistants at any specialist running shops operate on a commission basis, otherwise we'd all be running in overpriced marshmallowy Asics, surely?

The shop probably doesn't hold a huge stock of trail shoes (since road running has more mass appeal) which is why they were sold out of the popular sizes.

As for the hard sell? Well, that's never happened in my experience at Runnersneed.

17/01/2008 at 14:03

I think the phrase is 'buyer beware'. As I am sure that sales staff will nudge you in the 'right' direction through most walks of life, you cannot always brand the outlet as a bad'un based on a single experience. It could just be an over zealous or inconsiderate assistant in that single instance.

However, listen to the ones that most runners would recommend from personal experience and ask why they feel so positively about the assistance they were given. My vote is with Dudemeister, Run and Become in Victoria is one of the best and lately I was with my wife who had some great service and advice from the staff in Sweatshop at Harrods [don't knock it until you try it].

I am sure runners Need would respond if you let them know of your experience but I can well understand your annoyance.

17/01/2008 at 17:46

I've never had problems with Runners Need & if the shop is fairly quiet they can spend a fair bit of time with you.  I stopped using Run & Become when I heard one of the assistants say something on the lines of "the more you pay for shoes, the better they'll be for you."

In terms of giving you the wrong size, sounds like they were trying to pull a fast one.  Should have been honest & told you that they only had 10's in but no major harm done is there? 

18/01/2008 at 19:23

No major harm done is there???? How patronising!!!!! Buying beware??? Well my point is to make the buyer aware. Strangely enough I went into the shop today and was stopped by the manager. Turns out I knew him but hadn't realised he worked there. How bizarre. Maybe next time I see him I will ask what he thinks.
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