Here are the answers to the most common questions we receive:

1) Which company makes the best shoe?

All of the brands we carry make excellent shoes. The best shoe is the one that fits your individual needs.

2) What type of shoe do I need?

Every company makes 3 categories: Cushioned Training, Stability, and Motion Control. We can tell from experience which category your foot belongs by watching you walk barefoot and examining the wear pattern on your old shoes

3) What size shoe do I need?

Typically you’ll want about a full size bigger than your dress shoe/sandal size. To prevent problems with toe nails and allow your foot to function properly, you’ll want to have a thumb-nail width of room in the front, and the appropriate width. We can determine this for you.

4) What can I do for shin splints?

Shin splints are a painful inflammation in the soft tissue of the lower leg that commonly develop at the start of a training program, particularly if you are using shoes that are too old or inadequately supportive for you. If it persists even with a shoe change, a compression wrap may be necessary.

5) What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis refers to a painful inflammation on the bottom of the foot, particularly if the pain is most noticeable first thing in the morning or after getting up from a long period of sitting. It can best be addressed by wearing proper shoes, a supportive orthotic, or a night split such as the Strassburg Sock.

6) How often should I replace my shoes?

6 months with average use (3 days a week, 3-4 miles of walking/running), or if you are keeping a training log every 300-500 miles. It can vary a little depending on your weight, the surface you are on, and how efficient you are. The EVA in shoes also degrades over time even without use, therefore we advise against using even unused shoes longer than a year or two.

7) Who needs inserts? What are the differences between them?

Since the inlays that come in most shoes are so flimsy, almost anyone can benefit from switching to a more supportive or more cushioned insert. We can suggest what might benefit you specifically and give you more than one option to try in the store to see which one fits your foot the best.

8) What is Body Glide? Where can I use it?

Body Glide is a non-petroleum lubricant you can apply anywhere on your body where you are prone to blisters or chafing. Blisters are caused by excessive friction. You can avoid them by wearing synthetic fiber wicking socks in place of cotton socks, by making sure you have no direct shoe to skin contact, and by using friction reducing products like Body Glide and Blister Shield.

9) What are the benefits of wearing synthetic clothing versus cotton clothing?

Synthetic clothing will wick away moisture much better than cotton clothing. It will keep you cooler when you are hot, warmer when you are cold, help prevent chafing, and keep you from feeling bogged down in heavy clothing.

10) What types of sports bras do you carry and how are they different?

Most of the brands we carry have compression bras that are good for wicking moisture but insufficiently supportive for larger busted women. Anyone looking for more support should use an encapsulated bra that lifts and separates rather than compressing. We have them in cup sizes from Brooks and Nike.

11) What are the advantages of wearing compression socks?

Compression socks improve circulation, reduce fatigue, and help prevent shin splints & calf injuries.

12) What is the difference between polarized and regular sunglasses?

Both have the same 100% UV protection (even the clear lenses). The only advantage to polarization is a reduction in glare, particularly if you will be using them often around water.

13) Do you have gift cards, and if so what amounts?

We can provide gift certificates of any amount you would like.

14) Who is the most knowledgeable Running Center employee?

All of the Running Center employees have been through a shoe fitting clinic, have experience running & racing, and provide the utmost in customer service. Our staff is diverse including triathletes, marathoners, recreational runners, a personal trainer, and even a certified pedorthist. We are all dedicated to providing the knowledge, products, and help that you need to achieve your running & fitness goals.

15) Can you provide me with a training schedule?

We don’t provide training schedules directly, but we can recommend a local group that will fit your needs.

16) Are there any group runs in the area?

The Tampa Bay runners meet at the Publix parking lot one mile south of the store Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm, and the Take the First Step Club meets at the Citrus Park Plaza 7620 Gun Hwy every Saturday at 7:00am.

17) Do you take registrations for races, and if so which races?

We accept early registrations from all races signified as RPM promotions in the Race Place Magazine race calendar, and any other races that specifically mention the Running Center as a registration site on the entry form.