Are you ready for some Salty March Madness?! For our fifth year, we’re celebrating the finest local running stores around the USA. Consider this your ultimate guide to the players. Print and fill out your bracket to get started, and then vote for your favorites during the tournament schedule. Just like the real thing, we’ll kick things off Wednesday, 3/15 with the first four match-ups, in which eight stores will play to compete in the main tournament. Vote here at SaltyRunning.com for your favorites and share with your friends, and your local running store could win the title as …
THE GREATEST LOCAL RUNNING STORE in the USA!!
Get your bracket HERE
3.15 First Four Round: The bottom two seeds in each division square off for a shot to compete in the main tournament! Voting open for 12 hours beginning at noon Eastern.
3.16 Round 1: Voting open for 24 hours beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
3.21 Round 2: Voting open for 24 hours beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
3.23 Sweet 16: Voting open for 24 hours beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
3.28 Elite 8: Voting open for 24 hours beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
3.30 Final 4: Voting open for 24 hours beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
4.2 Championship! Voting open for 24 hours beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
4.4 Winner announced at 1:00 p.m.
Founded in 1975 in a renovated first-floor apartment near Harvard Square, Marathon Sports has grown to 11 retail locations, bringing unparalleled customer experience to runners, walkers, and fitness enthusiasts across the Bay State. They love to run. And walk, cycle, work out… anything that keeps them moving. And they want to share that love with their customers!
Charm City opened 13 years ago, but has not only grown one store at a time to its current five locations, but also, as it says, “one person as a time.” Charm City invests in its customers and its employees, celebrating their accomplishments even long after they’ve left working for the shop. They are also huge supporters of the Charm City running and at-large communities, donating over $500,000 per year to Baltimore-area nonprofits!
Philadelphia Runner has four locations in and around Philly that operate as outposts for the running community all over the metropolitan area. PR is more than a running store, it’s a central component of a “vibrant community of like-minded people” in the “greatest running city in the country.”
The Columbus Running Company knows running is an important part of its customers lives and that supporting Columbus-area runners is more important than selling shoes. That’s why CRC expertly outfits its customers, but also prioritizes supporting other local Columbus businesses and charities.
Running in South Jersey is way better than it sounds when you run by one of Haddonfield Running Company’s stores where they let all runners know that bathrooms and water are always available if you’re passing. They are also dedicated to helping their community members reach their goals by offering a “School of Running” with training education for beginners, intermediate and advanced runners.
At the Runners Forum, their “fit” philosophy extends beyond choosing the right size. Although size is important, they also understand the importance of offering the right item to match their customer’s specific need. Whether it’s shoes, apparel, swimwear, wetsuits, nutrition or accessories, the team at the Runners Forum knows the features and benefits of their products and will help their customers select the item that is best suited for them.
Woman-owned for 17 years, Runner’s Alley was founded to provide New Hampshire runners with the expertise only fellow runners can provide other runners. Now with three locations and offering at least five group runs per week, it’s not just outfitting New Hampshire runners, it’s the center of their community.
Three Rivers Running Company was started in 2003 by Brad Altevogt to fill a complete void of running stores serving the Northeast Indiana area. Since then the store has fostered a thriving Northeast Indiana running community, by hosting group runs, racing teams, and offering personalized coaching services.
The Rochester running community is truly centered around Medved. This family-owned business features a staff with over 100 years of experience outfitting runners and offers numerous group runs, training programs and racing teams.
Second Sole invites runners, walkers, and fitness enthusiasts of all levels to see why their ‘sit and fit’ process is the best shoe-fitting process one can find. They understand that and will take their time to help runners find the perfect shoe, for any occasion. Whether a beginning walker, runner, hiker, or local track athlete, they have the experience and expertise to keep runners moving and healthy.
Founded in 2013, Brooklyn Running Company is Brooklyn’s only independently owned and operated specialty running store. They offer an expert staff knowledgeable in gait analysis and shoe fitting and aim to be an important part of the local running and walking community.
Up and Running, Ohio (12)
Up and Running respects the busy lives of its customers and knows they need to be able to find what they need in one place with as few hassles as possible. In line with that, U&R is all about being a one-stop-shop for every Dayton-area runner’s needs from shoes, apparel, gear and nutrition, to training advice, group runs, and more.
With owners who include a former Olympian, a certified running coach with decades of experience, as well as a former competitor in the Olympic Trials, the Athletic Annex is where serious runner go for their gear. New runners can rest assured that they leave with the best-fitting shoe and advice to help them get started and run healthy!
The Finger Lakes Running Company in Ithaca, New York prides itself on catering to the performance-minded runner. With involvement in the ultrarunning and multi-sport communities and a focus on fostering store loyalty, the FLRC could be every Ithaca runner’s dream.
Boston’s Charles River Running company’s owners are runners, one of whom is a former marine and self-described PTA mom. Charles River Running is committed to providing the Boston area with a welcoming neighborhood shop for its thriving running community.
Mojo Running is not just woman-owned, it’s owned by a Jenn Wohlgamuth who decribes herself as the “Omnipotent Being Whom the Weak and Fearful Employees Must Obey.” On a more serious note (we think) Mojo Running touts itself as the most innovative running store in the greater Pittsburg area. Jenn and her team proudly offer the traditional brands as well as cutting-edge, newer ones you might not have heard of and everyone at Mojo is committed to not only gearing you up, but cheering you on too.
Whether you’re running away or toward something, Rochester Running is here to help you along that journey. Whether it’s new shoes, or a running group, or advice, Rochester Running is there to lend a hand. How can a store with a weekly brewery run not be awesome?
Louisiana’s Varsity Sports has kept Baton Rouge and New Orleans running for 17 years. With a motto like “Run Hard. Live Easy” how could you not love them? That and their highly-touted commitment to the customer experience likely account for their social media dominance among our competitors!
Pacers Running is committed to a healthier, happier community, and they do so by recommending quality gear to keep the runners of Washington D.C. and its suburbs going and going and going!
Founded by two sisters (sounds familiar) and their husbands, Potomac River Running has grown to eight locations serving the greater-Washington D.C. area. If you ask them, they’ll tell you they’re not just a running store, they’re “your starting line for gear, advice, inspiration, community, and friendship”.
Across the panhandle, you’ll find Pensacola’s Running Wild, a store that not only fits runners for shoes and gear according to their needs, they do it with wild style! They have an awesome running group called “Phat Girlz,” a chicks-only club (we can dig it) which welcomes runners and walkers alike and is a safe space for athletes of all abilities. “Just say you’re phat and you’re in!” Good luck getting us to say it to anyone else, but for Running Wild, we’ll happily shout our phatness from the rooftops.
Run For Your Life is more than a running community, it’s a family. Between their customers and their employees, RFYL supports them as they pursue their big dreams and it prides itself on including all runners in that family, from ultrarunners to newbies. And like any good family, RFYL is happy to share their six-packs, their two six-pack race series that is.
With several locations around Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte Running Co. is determined to help runners take the guess-work out of running and training. Beyond gear and shoes, CRC offers a variety of clinics on everything from getting started, weight-lifting, and stretching to preparing for race day.
As a family-owned business, Rush Running is committed to providing a “small store” atmosphere, and as any Little Rock runner will tell you, Rush’s service, expert fitting, and running advice are out of this world!
Founded during the first running boom by a runner named — you guessed it — John, who certainly wore his fair share of silky split shorts and tube socks, John’s Run/Walk Shop has evolved into three locations, offering everything a runner could need, from gear and shoes to training plans, group runs and workshops.
Louisiana Running Company is the Big Easy runner’s favorite place to stock up on good stuff. They offer a super-friendly staff ready to get you in the right pair of shoes, and their services include New Orleans’ only video gait analysis to keep you running healthy! They also play host to the Louisiana Distance Project, a training group that helps New Orleans runners take their racing to the next level!
Straddling the borders of Georgia and Alabama, Big Dog Running is proud to offer an option beyond the big-box-store for Georgia Bulldog fans and everyone alike. They offer a friendly, knowledgeable staff that is committed to making you a better runner, along with tons of group runs, races, and charity work all in the name of fostering the local running community.
If Crash Davis believes in the church of baseball, Bull City Running believes in the church of running. This Durham running store offers anything a running Durham Bull could ask for. BCR’s owners insist it’s not the money that keeps them in business, it’s the love of running and the chance to run and grab a cup of coffee with all the awesome runners they serve.
Ragged Mountain Running is the heart of the Appalachian running community. Located in beautiful Charlottesville, it is committed to community and giving back. Besides offering training plans and all. the. gear., they support local high school running programs. And coolest of all? RMR features a “Shoes for the Shoeless” program, where customers who donate a pair of worn shoes for those in need receive a 10% discount!
Phidippides, Georgia (13)
At this Atlanta store, the name sake, the Greek dude who allegedly died after running the first marathon, is less mascot and more cautionary tale; Phidippides the store will do everything it can to help get its customers across their finish line in one piece! Opened and run by a former Olympian, this store offers a knowledgeable staff and an unsurpassed availability of gear, plus weekly group runs and training support.
For almost thirty years, Running Etc., has been dutifully serving the Norfolk running community. This store boasts a staff that has over 150 years of running experience combined, who proudly serve world-class athletes, local competitors, recreational runners, and beginners of all ages with their in-store lecture series, group runs, training groups, and ambassador team program.
Runners who love and hate country music flock to Nashville Running Company. NRC’s goal is not only to provide shoes and running gear, but to provide a place where runners and walkers can learn, gather, and grow in the pursuit of healthy living. They truly feel running is something everyone can do at any age and at any point to achieve a fitness objective, even banjo players and Dolly Parton impersonators. It clears the mind, strengthens the heart, and renews the soul.
Stinky Feet Athletics, in Flowood, MS, was a fan favorite last go-round. This little store with the catchy name is committed to furthering the owners’ Christian faith along with their passion for running. Stinky Feet Athletics store, closed on Sundays, actively supports the local running community as well as abroad and uniquely features a weekly men’s run and bible study.
Ken Combs Running Store, established in 1980 by Ken and Sylvia Combs, is a specialty sports store in Louisville dedicated to runners and other fitness-minded people. Ken coached and taught school in the Louisville area since 1956, and he was instrumental in establishing Louisville runners’ beloved Metro Parks. He also brought his commitment to excellence in his own racing, coaching and teaching to his store, which never disappoints.
Touted as providing “Alaska’s best running shoes, casual shoes, and apparel,” Skinny Raven goes the extra mile. Instead of a manager, it employs a “Prime Minister of purchases” who chooses the best running shoes and casual shoes for runners to stock in their two locations, one of which features an 85-meter track for testing shoes!
“Our love for this city and this sport is matched only by our love for helping other runners. Using the latest technology in gait analysis, Big River will find the right shoe for you.” Big River Running doesn’t just have a great motto, it loves it by helping all of their customers, not just their feet, and offers personalized coaching services, educational clinics, and plenty of community events.
Gazelle Sports was founded in downtown Kalamazoo in 1985. With several locations today, Gazelle Sports strives for retail excellence by providing the world’s best customer care. They offer footwear and apparel for active and casual use, provides free runs and walks, weekly clinics, training programs, and organizes and supports over 200 community events throughout the year.
Started by two homegrown Minnesotans in 2013, Mill City Running is all about building up the running community in the Twin Cities. They offer many group running opportunities from their store, including their famous early Flapjack Friday runs which, naturally, offer post run pancakes!
Gear Running has been providing gait analysis, group runs, shoes and all types of running gear to Edina, Minnesota for over 30 years. The store is located near the Chain of Lake, making it the starting point for some of the Twin Cities best group runs!
Foot Zone in Bend prides itself on being a healthy small business that is proud to be an integral part of the community. They sponsor nearly all the local races, and they pride themselves on promoting and financially supporting the preservation of open space and building of trails in the Bend area. Of course, they do all of this while providing the best in running shoes and gear.
Shu’s was founded by the aptly named Mike Shuman, and is not only committed to building up the Boise running community, but the Boise community itself. Besides offering great customer service to every runner who walks in the store, Shu donated over $64,000 to Boise-area charities last year alone!
Universal Sole has been outfitting runners on Chicago’s Northside since 1999. With its commitment to fostering the Chicago running community with group runs and its flagship race team of fun-loving runners ranging from 2:20 marathoners to 6 hour marathoners, Universal Sole is the epitome of awesome local running stores!
Portland’s Foot Traffic was founded on the principle that a small business has a far more salient purpose than simply selling great running shoes, apparel and accessories. The FT team is committed to the bettering of fellow runners, walkers and the community at-large. They offer video gait analysis, gear, shoes, and informational talks about injury prevention and advice for healthy running. It’s truly a one-stop shop!
Locally owned and operated in the suburban Twin Cities, TC Running prides itself on personalized service. Don’t be surprised if owner Adam shows up to lead a group run! Their two locations are well-stocked with running shoes, apparel and accessories, and a friendly staff of runners. They take pride in serving runners and walkers of all abilities, beginners and veterans alike.
Hanson’s Running Shop keeps the Motor City motoring with its four locations located around Detroit. Oh, and it’s the flagship shop of that little group called the Hansons Brooks ODP.
Ann Arbor Running Company might be a newer kid on the block, but this store founded in 2014 is working hard to enrich the lives of Ann Arbor runners with its many running education events. They even call their shoe selection process “Shoe School” where they educate their customers on shoe types and styles and ensure that “every customer graduates at the top of their class.”
605 Running Company in Sioux Falls, South Dakota was founded by three brothers with a passion for running. They feauture all the best brands as well as a line of store branded items like shirts, knit hats, and even a 605 Running drinking jar.
At its founding in 1973, it was one of the first running stores in Wisconsin. Back then it offered three styles of shoes in a pharmacy basement. In 1974 it moved up in the world and became a roving store out of the trunk of the owner’s Chevy Nova and finally, in 1976, became a real retail shop in the heart of Madison, WI. Throughout its history, Movin’ Shoes has considered each runner who walks in the door a friend.
Run Hub, Oregon (15)
Run Hub offers more than just shoes and gear. From weekly group runs, stroller runs, monthly destination runs and informational workshops on stretching, fueling, and foam-rolling, Run Hub is committed to being an integral part of Eugene’s running community and strives to inspire runners of all speeds.
Opened in 2007, Beyond Running focuses on the “everyday athlete”. It is a haven for those that are just not quite ready to call themselves runners, yet impressive enough for those seasoned at the sport. They offer information, equipment and encouragement to anyone, whether they’ve been running for years or are just starting out.
Located in beautiful Grand Forks, North Dakota in “the stripmall next to Menards”, See Dick Run can rest assured it will win the best name in the tournament prize even if it doesn’t take home the golden snail. SDR was founded to fill a void for a good selection of quality running shoes, apparel, and accessories in Grand Forks.
Red Coyote, named the #1 Running Store in the Nation by Competitor Running in 2015, was founded to actively promote a healthy lifestyle in the Oklahoma City and surrounding communities. They strive to create an unprecedented retail experience by providing excellent customer care, unmatched product knowledge (including slow-motions gait analysis), and building strong connections within their community. ”
Austin, Texas runners have a friends at Rogue Running! This Texas LRS powerhouse’s mission is to “create an authentic community of athletes discovering a running path to physical, mental & spiritual potential.”
Located in the sunny capitol of the beehive state, Salt Lake Running Company offers everything new and veteran runners and multisport enthusiasts need to train and reach their potential, from gear rentals to training plans to coaching services.
San Francisco Running Company is the hub of the Marin County running community and offers a wide variety of shoes, apparel, nutrution, and even sandals. Naturally, with their proximity to the majestic redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument, they specialize in outfitting the trail and ultra runners among us. But you bet they’ll take great of all you roadies too!
Runner’s Roost has been around since the original running boom. Now with seven locations serving the Front Range of Colorado, from Colorado Springs to Denver to Fort Collins, it’s mission is to foster the local running community. As running has take off and other local stores bought out, Runners Roost takes pride in remaining locally owned.
The KC in KC Running Company, stands for Kansas City, which is so-not-shockingly fitting as their mission is to be the “first and last place for all things running in Kansas City.” They’re the only running store with an adjoining sports medicine store making them the place to go to overcome or avoid injury. You can even pick-up a KC Running Company branded knee brace while you’re there!
With a few locations around Mission Viejo, California, A Snail’s Pace running store offers a training academy, group runs, informational clinics, and gear to get runners to the finish line with the goal they desire. With a snail mascot, you know we are slightly biased!
Don’t expect to find Jimmy Choos in this Manhattan shoe store. Manhattan Running Company in Manhattan … Kansas wants to serve every runner’s needs, whether they’re a beginner, weekend warrior or an elite athlete. They provide expert advice, super fun training runs, and a free digital foot scan and gait analysis to help you find the right training or racing shoe for you.
While not quite peanut butter and jelly level, running and beer go together. Or so says the founders of Shoes and Brews, the suburban Denver running store and taproom combined. Their unofficial motto is shoe business in the front and beer party in the back; they’re proudly the mullet of running stores.
Go!Running, is a LRS diamond in the diamond state. This little Little Rock shop is owned by two former collegiate runners who have given back to their community through mentoring, speaking events, and coaching for years. They strive to create a home for all runners from beginners to elites.
Red Dirt Running serves the runners living around the capital of Nebraska. And do they serve! between all manner of coaching services from beginners to ultra runners, races, race-timing, and of course any product a runner could want, Red Dirt Runner takes care of Omaha’s finest pedestrians.
OK Runner, Oklahoma (12)
For over 20 years, Ok Runner has been a family-owned shop serving Oklahoma’s major cities: Edmonton, Norman, and soon to be Okahoma City. Offering the standard running groups, training programs, and event hosting, along with superior customer service, OK Runner prides itself on its stellar reputation in the OK Running community.
A Runner’s Mind in San Francisco proudly boasts that their staff isn’t a team, it’s a family. This community-focused store offers group runs, but not just easy ones. Depending on the day, runners can get in speed work, long runs, or hill repeats as well as buying any running-related gear they need! Best thing about them is that in a major market like San Francisco, ARM, while conveniently located near the Presidio and Golden Gate Park, remains a family-owned, truly local running store gem.
Located in Glendale, Arizona,Tortoise and the Hare Sports offers services to all animals, errr, runners on the speed spectrum, They host group runs and even yoga days in addition to providing any running-gear that runners need!
Owners, Scott and Sarah each have an Olympic Trials their resumes, he in the marathon and she in the steeple. Together, they moved back to Sarah’s hometown in Cedar Valley to open the Runner’s Flat in 2006. Over the past decade, they have continued to focus on helping others achieve their health and fitness goals, while encouraging newbies to lace up too. The Runner’s Flat has all the LRS bells and whistles, including wetsuit and elliptigo rentals, in case you need a little cross-training.
Flatirons Running Company in Boulder, Colorado is co-owned by a man who is known as the “Foot Whisperer” to many of the runners in town, because of his ability to identify and resolve aches and pains with his “built on location” custom insoles. Additionally, the store offers gear, group runs, and support to runners of all experience levels and is the only truly local running store in the running mecca that is Boulder.
iRun was started by a native-Phoenician and accomplished ultrarunner who has since formed a team of experienced runners and experts serving the Phoenix running community. The iRun team prides itself on their passion for the Phoenix, its trails and running scene and they’re happy to tell anyone that their gimmick is experience and knowledge of all the running things. And whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned trail beast, they’ve got you covered.