Chicago's 10 best running shops
Before you pound the pavement, suit up with spiffy duds and accessories at these athletic stores.
•1620 N Wells St, 312-587-3338; Mon–Fri 10am–8pm; Sat 10am–7pm; Sun 11am–6pm •4762 N Lincoln Ave, 773-271-3338; Mon–Fri 10am–8pm; Sat 10am–7pm; Sun 11am–6pm
Not only does this runners’ favorite feature shoes by a multitude of brands—from adidas to Asics to Mizuno—along with cute athletic wear and accessories, the store excels at customer service. Before you plunk down cash on your new pair of kicks, employees lead you through a complimentary gait analysis on an in-store treadmill so you pick just the right shoe for you.
•2104 N Halsted St, 773-883-8860; Mon–Sat 10am–8pm; Sun 11am–7pm. •900 N Michigan Ave, 312-951-5923; Mon–Sat 10am–7pm; Sun noon–6pm. •1627 N Damen Ave, 773-227-1869; Mon–Sat 10am–7pm; Sun 11am–6pm
Known best for its ultraflattering, spendy yoga wear, the Canadian-based brand also carries a surprising selection of running attire for men and women. Find pieces such as frilly zip-up vests, graphic sports bras and the signature backside-enhancing bottoms for the ladies—plus brightly colored, monochromatic shirts and shorts for the guys.
2369 N Clark St, 773-348-1787; Mon–Fri 9am–9pm; Sat 9am–7pm
This Lincoln Park shoe shop may be on the small side, but its expert staff more than makes up for any gaps in the selection. Staffers spend time measuring your feet, listening to your shoe needs (running, walking, etc.) and giving you options at different price points. We’ve also seen them pass out bottled water to shoppers.
669 N Michigan Ave, 312-642-6363; Mon–Sat 10am–9pm; Sun 10am–7pm
Renamed from "Niketown," this three-story empire located on the Mag Mile could inspire consummate couch potatoes to go for a jog. The endless selection of trendy sportswear and accessories, spiffed up with the brand’s latest technological innovations, will wick away your sweat and harness your inner speed demon. Gawk at the basketball chandeliers while you're there.
513 Dempster St, Evanston, 847-869-4101; Mon–Sat 10am–6pm; Sun noon–4:30pm
Famous for figuring out customers’ needs just from how they walk, salespeople also are armed with vast knowledge about each shoe brand here (not to mention previous models and different fits), which ensures you’ll walk out the door with the perfect pair of kicks.
1466 N Halsted St, 312-951-6020; Mon–Fri 10am–9pm; Sat 9am–9pm; Sun 10am–7pm
Come for the camping supplies but stick around for the unbeatable selection of running gear—everything from wrist wallets to ergonomic hydration packs to protective toe caps to jogging strollers. Find basic running attire and shoes (several specifically designed for trail blazing) to boot.
The Runner’s Edge
5243 N Clark St, 773-649-0853; Mon–Wed 10am–7pm; Thu 10am–8pm; Fri 10am–7pm; Sat 9:30am–6pm; Sun 11–5pm
Not only will you find a nice selection of shoes and fitness clothes by prAna, Nike and Sugoi, but this Andersonville shop also includes other merch such as T-shirts and even dog leashes. Plus, like many other running stores, it hosts a running club, every Thursday night at 6:30pm. The location in Libertyville hosts a club as well.
2219 N Clybourn Ave, 773-395-2929; Mon–Fri 10am–8pm; Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 11am–5pm
In addition to a solid selection of triathlon gear, fashion-forward running apparel and training nutrition (gels, water bottles, etc.), this Wicker Park spot carries under-the-radar brands, like Newton shoes. Bonus (green) points for its reusable shopping bags.
620 N LaSalle St, 312-337-6151; Mon–Sat 9am–10pm; Sun 9am–9pm
Suffering through the zooeyness of this emporium is worth your while in dollars. You might not find the sexiest, brand-spanking-new styles, but you can easily save $30 on a solid pair of shoes, running shorts or even a fancy heart-rate monitor.
3052 N Lincoln Ave, 773-868-0893; Mon–Thur 10am–8pm; Fri 10am–7pm; Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 11am–5pm
This gem has been serving Lakeview’s running community for ten years, offering footwear (Mizuno, Saucony, Asics and more), accessories (BodyGlide, foam rollers, etc.) and even Garmin GPS units. The store also hosts a variety of events, including regular fun runs.