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Frequent Questions

Just the FAQs: What to expect when buying shoes from us…

What is the best shoe?

Fairhaven Runners is a different kind of store. We equip you with excellent information and resources so that you can find the best shoe for your individual needs. No appointments are necessary. Just stop in whenever it’s convenient during our normal business hours and we’ll make sure you get our award-winning customer service from start to finish. This is what you can expect when you visit us:

What should I expect?

No stress here. For no extra cost, we roll out the red carpet for all who enter. Bring your previous shoes, socks you normally wear and orthotics you may use. Then relax as we take care, listen and guide you through the process. We will examine shoe wear patterns to help determine what type of shoe will serve you well. Socks and footbeds are often overlooked in their contribution to fit and performance. Your foot, shoe, sock and footbed should work in harmony together as a well thought-out system prepared to take you miles with minimal discomfort.

What is the process?

Be prepared to spend at least half an hour for the full experience. Running or walking history, injury history, shoe history, current and future activity and goals are important to us in the initial selection. We will take some time to observe basic biomechanics (walking and running motions) in your feet and joints. We attempt to save you time in the long run by optimizing every aspect of fit, getting your feedback and allowing you to walk or run in the shoes as we check to ensure good stability and look for that smile of satisfaction.

Why are their so many choices?

There are many hundreds of shoes to choose from, but are often functionally categorized as cushion, stability and motion-control shoes. Most stores buy for fashion or price and not function, so you may not get help with or hope to find the correct shoe for your needs. We wear the shoes, are educated in the shoes and know the correct application for every shoe. If we can get to know you a bit through the 4F Approach, we will be able to isolate which of the hundreds of shoes out there is the best for YOU. It is a great feeling to know you have a shoe meant for you—optimized for your comfort and performance! Be secure in the knowledge that your training will be more enjoyable and sustainable.

Do you measure my foot?

Yes, we still bring out the ol’ Brannock measuring device you saw back in the old days. Expect that your athletic shoe size will be different from your dress shoe size. Length and width of your foot will change with time, so expect also that your shoe size will change. Feet won’t grow during adulthood, but the arch does collapse to a degree, thereby lengthening the foot. Furthermore, a 10 from one company does not equal a 10 from another company, while a D width in one shoe will fit like a 2E width or B width in a different shoe. The bottom line is: “if the shoe fits, wear it” and ignore the numbers if you can!

How do I know if it fits right?

The selection and fitting process is where the “rubber hits the road” so to speak. Since no foot is the same, we lace, adjust and even modify aspects of fit while soliciting your feedback and input to arrive at an optimum and mutually satisfying decision. Try shoes with socks you normally use or some that we suggest. We will also incorporate the footbed or orthotics you typically use as we try shoes on your feet. Often, the first pair you try feels fine but we don’t stop there. We encourage you to try a few different models and brands, since fit and not brand is the best determinate of success in a shoe. Both of us continue to learn as the process continues. Feel a bad seam, seems wide to you, or feel a pinching at the toes? Let us know so we can fix it before you leave! We are becoming well known for our patience and determination to get it right as much as our customers want it right.

How much do good shoes cost?

There are some wonderful shoes available for $130 that could be appropriate for your needs…or you just want it and that is cool with us. For most folks, a good, stable, well-cushioned shoe that is enjoyable to run or walk in will generally cost around $100 dollars. Motion control shoes for folks who are heavier, flat-footed and/or overpronating will often cost more, as will cushion shoes for high mileage or heavier runners. Beginners need bio-mechanically correct and supportive, cushioned shoes as much as anyone. Inexpensive, inappropriate shoes (even from Nike or other “good” brands) may keep you from achieving those fitness goals you have. The inexpensive shoe may not be “worth” the cost if it keeps you from your intention. We talk with many folks who heave their “good buys” into the trash only to start over again finding a shoe with better value instead of a better price. With all that being said, we appreciate cost concerns and work to get you into the best shoe for the least cost.

In summary, a good running shoe will:

  • Reduce foot strain, pain and discomfort
  • Reduce shock
  • Reduce instability
  • Reduce fatigue

Walk or run easier, longer, faster and more pain free.

How long should or do they last?

You should expect about 400 to 500 miles from a shoe before the midsole compresses and hardens to the point that your body is suffering from the increased trauma and instability. For folks doing about 20 miles per week, they can expect about 6 months from a shoe before it is best used as a garden or puttering-around shoe.

Avoid injury, soreness and unpleasant running by recording the date shoes were purchased and then multiplying weeks run by your average in a week. As 300-400 miles approach, check in with your body to gauge any increased soreness, fatigue or impending injury. If both mileage and biofeedback indicate limited remaining shoe life, then it is best to consider updating once more.

Shoes that last a bit longer do so at the expense of lightweight, breathability, soft cushioning and general run-ability. The tradeoffs are significant enough for most people to accept, while enjoying the upside. What would you pay for the fountain of youth elixir? For the cost of one to three pair of shoes per year, running is an inexpensive and efficient way to feel and look younger and to live much longer—a great investment without doubt.

We are runners helping to support your active lifestyle and your fitness needs. We are not shoe salespeople. Shoes are just one (important) tool we use to help keep you going.

If I’m a walker, can I use a running shoe??

There is a popular misconception that walkers are somehow different, or less likely to need good shoes, than runners. This has unfortunately propagated itself within the footwear industry, to the point that a great many “walking shoes” out there are simply detuned, less expensive, and of worse construction than their running shoe counterparts.

The fact of the matter is that running and walking both put a great deal of stress on the muscles, tendons, and bones in the lower extremity, and as such each activity demands a high level of cushioning and a proper amount of support to get the job done right. Running shoes, on the whole, offer a greater variety of cushioning systems, levels and support systems that ultimately allow us to “dial in” to a particular foot type or need better than with traditional walking shoes. As the dynamics of walking and running are very similar, most customers who come in looking for a walking shoe leave with a running shoe.

How do trail shoes and r
oad shoes compare?

Some people can run in anything, some even barefoot, but most of us can enjoy the advantages of certain features that trail specific shoes have to offer.

Trail specific characteristics include:

  • darker colors
  • water resistance
  • better abrasion resistance
  • lower ride
  • wider base
  • tough toe bumper materials
  • firm or protected forefoot midsole (stone bruise protection)
  • aggressive tread pattern rearfoot and forefoot

Trail shoes don’t necessarily have all of these characteristics, some have very few and certain road shoes may be better for you than some trail shoes.

Fit is even more critical than in road shoes.

  • You want to feel secure and confident of foot control with your shoe.
  • You want proprioception—a good sense of how your foot is contacting the ground.
  • Your toes will jam the end in poor fitting shoes.

A poor fit allows movement and friction within the shoe, which then causes sore spots, blisters and less control.

Do socks and footbeds matter much?

Your foot, sock, footbed and shoe should work as a harmonious system and that is what we work with you to achieve–sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?  Until you’ve tried a good, a REAL good sock, you don’t know what you’re missing. Cotton is great for hanging out or “chillin”, though they start to feel quite hot and sweaty as you run. Cotton absorbs moisture and the fibers expand, meaning your feet are wet and the sock is a bag. Conversely, the socks we sell, like the shoes, are made for higher intensity use, for the actual “activity” of running or walking. These wool, poly and blend socks will stay much drier, cooler and fit your foot as you move. Get the feel of soft cotton, stay drier and lighter, reduce blisters, get a better fit, say “ooh and ahh” a lot. The extra expense is well worth it and don’t be surprised if one pair outlasts an entire bag of your previous brand. Let us figure out the perfect pair of socks with you, during your shoe fitting—harmony at last!

We carry Superfeet and other supportive footbed replacements for the sockliners found in new athletic shoes or used as supportive additions to other types of footwear. Instead of your feet collapsing inward and stressing the surrounding muscles, joints and ligaments, these footbeds help you move in better alignment.  The common result is better balance and support, reduced foot fatigue, comfort, and a decreased risk for repetitive stress injuries from weight-bearing physical activity.

For 80% of consumers, the footbeds will last approximately 12 months depending on body weight, type of shoe and the environment they are used in (i.e. walking, running, work and sports). Because everyone is different, we can not indicate how many miles it will take to wear a pair out. We recommend replacing your footbeds every 12 months or when you purchase new shoes. It can be helpful to stop by Fairhaven Runners and compare the feel of your old pair with a new pair. The old pair might then be used in your older shoes.

What is the Return Policy?

Our simple policy? We want you enjoying your running or walking. If not, then we still have work to do. We do our best in the store to help you make a great decision, but sometimes there may be an unforeseen problem and we actually want you to return so that we can help get you get back on track. We won’t give up on finding the solution for a runner/walker in need.

We strive to ensure that you are in the right shoe before you leave the store, but if for some reason the shoe does not work out as expected:

Shoes may be returned for store credit or exchange when:

1. the receipt is present

2. shoes are presented in clean/new condition

3. If shoes are not in clean/new condition, then we will exchange or give store credit at 50% of the original purchase price.

4. Exchanges should be made within 14 days of purchase

5. When shoes are defective, we will gladly exchange them for you at any time.

If it isn’t working for you, it most definitely isn’t working for us! We believe in the products we sell and in the people who sell them.  If you should have ANY TROUBLE with an item purchased from Fairhaven Runners, please let us know. The solution is here.