Stacey and Frank DeJulius are the couple behind Cincinnati's two local Fleet Feet stores (one in Oakley and one in Blue Ash). Both have traveled the world, and returned back to their home state of Ohio to do what they call, “the greatest job in the world.” By definition, Fleet Feet is a running apparel store, but in reality, it is so much more. The store hosts running groups that have become like family, provides numerous training programs, supports a multitude of local races, partners with nonprofits of all shapes and sizes, and serves as a community resource for the Cincinnati running community.
Fleet Feet strives to provide, “an inclusive and welcoming experience for anyone seeking fitness in their lives.” We definitely felt that walking into the Blue Ash location a few weeks ago. Both Molly and I needed new running shoes. In fact, when we conducted an Instagram poll featuring my beat-up, hot pink Nike kicks almost 100% of you voted that I should run, not walk to the store to purchase a new pair. Full disclosure, my money conscious hubby was one of the few no votes.
We set up a meeting with Frank, to chat all things Fleet Feet, and to get fitted for new shoes. Neither of us had gotten fit for tennies in a number of years, and never at Fleet Feet before. We would soon learn that Fleet Feet's process is SO cool.
First Frank asked us a number of questions. How many miles are you running each week? Do you have any past or current injuries? What are your current goals? Etc. Side note, not a runner? Doesn’t matter. Good shoes still matter. Right before us, Frank fit a nurse who has never run a mile in her life in a new pair of shoes for work day shifts.
Just recently, in 2017, Fleet Feet introduced 3D scanning technology called fit id™. “fit id creates a three-dimensional scan of a person’s feet and provides specific measurements including foot width, length, and arch height. The scan takes five seconds to complete and appears on an in-store tablet, allowing the fit specialist to review, discuss observations, and find solutions together with the customer.”
Molly went first, and I went second. We both stood on the fit id platform for a few seconds, stepped off, and Frank pulled up pictures of our feet on his IPAD along with tons of information to help him pick out the best shoes for us. For example, because of the way my feet are shaped Frank told me I need more support for my arches and was immediately able to pull specific shoes that had that feature for me to try on.
After the fact, the 3D scans of our feet were emailed directly to us for future use. Frank said it’s really interesting to compare different scans from different timeperiods because our feet change as we age or expereince various life events like injuries or pregnancy. As our feet change, different styles of shoes work better. Having the old scans on file (Fleet Feet keeps them too tied to your email address) helps Fleet Feet staff compare changes to determine best fit for your feet today, not a year ago. Fleet Feet is currently the only running store in the states to offer this 3D technology. Molly and I both ended up loving the shoes Frank picked out for us. However, if you don’t FF offers a 60-day return option, no questions asked.
We could write an entire separate article on Fleet Feet running groups and race training programs, and we just might in the future. In the meantime, check them out here. If you’re not signed up for a training program or running group, no worries, you’re always welcome to pop in and give it a try to see if you like it. Just let one of the Fleet Feet employees know that you’re new when you arrive and they’ll hook you up with the right pace group. Running groups are great for those that like to run with people, or that want to be held accountable. Training programs help individuals train in a healthy way for races with support and encouragement. To check out the non-profits that Fleet Feet works with visit this link.
While at the store we bumped into a fellow Queen Bee Ambassador, Jen. Honestly, everyone working there was so friendly and chill we could have hung out all day. Check em out!