Fleet Feet and running shoe brand Saucony fit hundreds of Spokane high school athletes with new shoes Monday.
Although school was already out for the summer, student -athletes got up early and stood in line at the Podium behind a column of Fleet Feet branch store owners and their employees for a sizing and a free pair of new running shoes, which would normally cost between $130 and $150 off the shelf.
Fleet Feet, which includes about 200 stores nationally, is hosting its annual national conference in Spokane this week. Both of Fleet Feet’s and Saucony’s philanthropic arms (Do the Run Thing and Run for Good, respectively) came together to give away 400 pairs of shoes, which totaled about $50,000 in retail value, said Meagan Nedlo, a spokeswoman for Saucony .
Event organizers wanted to give the student -athletes an authentic Fleet Feet experience using the shop’s 3D foot-scanning technology and dynamic pressure mapping to get the most accurate depiction possible of their feet, Nedlo said
“I ran in high school. For me, it’s really important because health and physical activity makes you the best version of yourself,” she said. “The beauty of running is you can build it as a lifelong habit. There aren’t that many sports you can say the same about.”
The event provided an opportunity to help student athletes who might have to choose between a new pair of running shoes and summer camp, said Wade Pannell, who runs the local Fleet Feet franchise with his wife, Julie.
“Team sports are great for all kids, and running is still a less expensive team sport to be involved in. Anybody can be engaged in running,” Pannell said. “It has great mental health benefits to reduce stress. These are things that our kids deal with today that we didn’t when we were younger.”
Sporting a new pair of Sauconys, Daniel Rodriguez, a 15-year-old cross country runner, hopes the new pair of shoes will help relieve a recent shin injury .
“Usually, if I need some shoes at the end of the season, I save up my money and buy some,” the Rogers High School student said. “It feels amazing to have free shoes.”
Levi Lee, 15, also a cross country runner at Rogers, said he usually splits the cost of a new pair of running shoes with his parents. He planned to take his new Sauconys out for a run on Monday afternoon. He typically burns through two or three pairs of shoes per year, which can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars worth of running gear.
Pannell said he expected that Fleet Feet will still have plenty of new shoes left to give away after the event. Students or parents interested in getting a new pair of shoes should ask one of their coaches to get in touch with Fleet Feet to receive a pair before the school year begins.