I came in this past Saturday with my son to get him fitted for a new pair of shoes for the first time. A friend had recommended Fleet Feet to us and had mentioned how great the knowledge and service of the staff was and the extensive fitting process. My son had never been fitted for shoes before and we had always purchased shoes for him online. He runs cross country and track for his high school and was starting to experience shin pain so we felt he needed better fitted shoes. Being a small business owner, I felt that a local store that offered superior service would be worth trying over just shopping based on price online. We were greeted immediately upon arrival and the initial process seemed promising. The store was inviting, well laid out, and seemed to offer lots of great specialized products. However, the salesperson that greeted us did not ask us our name, did not offer his name, did not provide us any information about his qualifications, and generally went straight to the selling process. By the end, I felt underwhelmed and oversold due to the following reasons:
1. The fitting process consisted of measuring my son's feet, having him walk about 5-10 paces barefoot and that was all. There were no questions about any pain he was feeling, how he ran, what shoes he had been wearing, etc. I remember one question about how many miles per week he ran but I think that was it. In less than 5 minutes, the salesperson went in the back and came back with one shoe to try. My son tried them on and they went outside for a quick test jog. Once back, my son said he liked them and that was it. No more alternative shoes offered or tried on other than another shoe recommended we purchase additionally for speed training that could be rotated in but not as an alternative to the first shoe. I felt this process was very underwhelming and showed more interest in selling than fitting and getting to know my son's needs. The website seemed to place such an importance on the fitting process as a key benefit/differentiator for Fleet Feet but the in-store experience seemed very inconsistent with the expectation.
2. Before fitting, the feeling that selling was more important started with having my son take off his running socks and try on a new pair of socks. We were not there to purchase socks and if my son had cheap or worn socks, maybe I could see a recommendation for a new pair of high quality running socks but the socks he had on were a new pair of Darn Tough Vertex, which I feel are a high quality running sock.
3. Every question seemingly immediately was answered by a product recommendation. Again, no questions or attempt to really get to know us or what was behind our questions.
4. A pair of Superfeet inserts were offered to try on but no explanation was given for why and what benefit they would have. My son, being trusting and pretty much liking everything, of course said they seemed to feel nice and so in the end, we purchased one pair of shoes and the Superfeet insert.
5. Again, as we were heading to the cash register, the salesperson offered some clearance shorts,which we had not expressed a need for, and though it wasn't a hard sell, it further reinforced to me that up selling was more important than our overall experience.
6. After checkout, I remembered there was a rewards program and noticed on my receipt a reference to rewards but the salesperson never offered any information or explanation. There was also no mention or explanation of the Happy Fit Guarantee except once in passing during the selling process where the salesperson did quickly say about the SuperFeet insert that they could be returned if we didn't like them. But it was not made clear if this was a SuperFeet benefit or a general store benefit. Both the rewards and guarantee seem like key additional reasons that someone would be willing to pay more for supporting a local business than purchasing online and so I was very surprised they were not mentioned.
Overall, I know that it can be hard to make a judgement on one experience and I do feel that the salesperson was trying to do their job. However, for the premium we paid, this one experience really left me so underwhelmed that I do not plan to return simply because the value does not seem to match or exceed the premium. And with the amount of choices today, I can't help but feel that the first experience is still the most important of all.
Great staff. Very knowledgeable about the products and body mechanics. I appreciate the amount of time the sales rep spent with me and knowing that she doesn't work on commission, I didn't feel forced into buying things I didn't need. I love the shoes I bought and will be back when I need a new pair!
Phil was patient and helpful, and he recommended a great pair of shoes. He answered my questions and suggested other appropriate products. I was very happy with the whole experience of shopping at Fleet Feet and plan to return next time I need running gear.