RaceMob

Selecting the Right Running Shoes - with Legendary Store Owner Chris Schenone

Selecting the Right Running Shoes - with Legendary Store Owner Chris Schenone

Introduction

Legendary store owner Chris Schenone gives us a run down on his running career, and we go in deep on running shoes.

Chris owns Running Revolution, a specialty running store. Chris gives us details on why going to the physical store location is so important, and what he looks at to get people in the right shoes.

We also discuss some of the latest innovations in footwear including the Vapor Fly and Alpha Fly technology, the impact of Hoka One One on running shoes, and some anecdotes on the impact of footwear for runners.

During this discussion, we talk about:

Podcast Transcription

The following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.
Chris Schenone: [00:00:00]

I think he passed 38 plus people in that last one, third of the race, which is outrageous. And I was there along for the ride, I would say to both of you, that was the greatest single running experience I ever had without a doubt.

Kevin Chang: [00:00:16]

Hello and welcome to the RaceMob podcast. This is episode number eight.
I'm Kevin. Entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd and the founder of RaceMob. I'm joined by master motivator, founder of fitness, co chair of the Taji 100. RRC a certified coach USA track and field certified official comparable Bertrand Newson. Are you new to running or know someone who'd like to get into running then this episode is for you.
We're really excited to welcome Chris Schenone into the podcast. Chris is an accomplished runner in his own, right, having qualified for Boston and completed 50 mile ultra marathons. 20 years ago, he left his corporate job to build a business around his passion and created the Running Revolution store in Campbell, California.
I always tell people that the number one thing they must do, if they're looking to get into running. Is to get into the right pair of shoes. Before I met Chris and his team almost a decade ago, I always had knee pain and foot pain. It was on one mile or two mile jogs around my neighborhood. I just didn't think that running was for me.
It wasn't until his team measured my feet and diagnose my running gait that I realized that I was just in the wrong type of shoe almost immediately. I was able to start adding on the miles pain-free in this episode, we talk about Chris's past, by going to a physical store that specializes in and running shoes is so important.
And we're talking about those expensive machines that they have there. The different types of shoes, the rise of Hoka One One, and Nike's crazy vapor fly technology and how Chris has loyal customer base, keep him in business despite increased competition and the pandemic. All of the show notes can be found online at dot com slash podcast.
So without further ado, here's our discussion. We are so excited to have Chris owner of Running Revolution here in Campbell, on the podcast. Welcome to the show, Chris.

Chris Schenone: [00:02:15]

Thank you very much,

Kevin Chang: [00:02:16]

Chris, can you give us a little bit of background, your origin story, how you got into the running business?

Chris Schenone: [00:02:23]

Well, I started running when I was about 10 and not to date myself, but.
Back in the day here in Santa Clara County, there's always been a super strong, organized running community. And that extended all the way down into youth running in the early seventies, the AAU amateur athletic union San Jose state was attract powerhouse. And so the way the kids play soccer and baseball, there was an almost equal footing for youth track.
So I started early, like fourth grade. I just enjoyed it. My parents were nice enough to always take me to practice. Practice was fun. So it didn't seem like drudgery. And I did still play organized baseball and other sports, but they're running things, a hook and. I continued through a high school. I didn't run in college though.
I went to the university of Oregon and that was a great experience. Actually met some amazing athletes there.

Kevin Chang: [00:03:22]

You want to drop any names? Anybody we know?

Chris Schenone: [00:03:24]

Yes. It's interesting. Alberto Salazar. Oh, I've not met him numerous times actually know his wife and met his wife because she was in the dorm across from me at Oregon.
So I was in Spiller. I think she was in McLean and she came from a high school with the Rwanda guys on my side from her high school. She was fantastic for nice personally. I thought she was a lot nicer than he was and, uh, right. She was an awesome winner. Wow. Awesome letter. And just a great experience up there, but the rain drove me out after I graduated.
I worked for ups my last couple of years, college, and I just couldn't handle it after a while. So after a very blissful six years of experience up in Oregon, I came back here to, uh, California and then entered the corporate world and stayed in the corporate world till I was in my early forties. And then thought, you know, what, if I'm going to.
Start a business. Believe it or not. If I'm going to fail, I should fail in my early forties when I had a chance to rebound and maybe go back into my corporate life, which was sales and marketing management. And as it turns out, we got off to a great start 20 years ago. And really haven't looked back since not that there hasn't been lots of challenges and a lot of learning along the way, but it's been a profoundly positive experience.

Kevin Chang: [00:04:51]

Any running accomplishments over that tenure, anything you're proud of?

Chris Schenone: [00:04:56]

You know, I'm proud for the fact that I'm still running. Yeah. That I've been running since I was 10. So I'm just going to say, I'll give myself some dating here. I've literally been running for 50 years and I've encountered some injuries, like all of us have, but I've always worked myself through them.
It's really, maybe through the injuries, believe it or not that you find a path and find a way to help others. So without getting injured, I would say I wouldn't maybe be as adept in the store, have the empathy that I do without those setbacks. So call me crazy or a romanticist, but I think there's something great about getting knocked down and having to come back.
And I think that's probably what a lot of individuals really enjoy about their running. Yes. They love succeeding. Yes. They love qualifying for Boston. Yes. They love doing their first 10 K half marathon marathon, 50 K. Whatever it happens to be. But I really think that whatever the individual runner sets up for themselves as a goal when they meet that goal.
It's fantastic. I guess, to answer your question. Yes. I've ran Boston and I think that's kind of a signature moment, but I would have to say that there's other smaller moments that are equal to. Maybe greater than Boston. So I think it's the totality of my running experience that I'm most happy about.

Bertrand Newson: [00:06:20]

And thank you, Chris.
We're sharing that in your journey, your running history, that's ongoing. Is there a
distance that you prefer
your sweet spot that you find yourself getting motivated for?

Chris Schenone: [00:06:32]

I'm going to give you a quirky answer. I really wish this distance was more embraced, but it's not a 10 miler. So, and there is a race that's every October run out of Santa Cruz.
You'd know this well because it starts down there in Capitola and they run you toward the Santa Cruz Harbor. And you can go through that little park. I'm not quite sure what the name is, but you take a little loop around the park and then you come back and you finish down there at the bottom, just like Wharf to Wharf.
Right. It's 10 miles. I just think that is the greatest distance ever. I feel like, uh, back in high school, when you didn't quite read the book, maybe you could cut it, the corners, you can kind of muscle your way through a 10 K I think a half marathon it's much more difficult, much more challenging. And that back in have a half marathon can be mentally, but Oh my God.
A 10 miler. I just think 10 mile races. To me when you can find them. That is the sweet spot. I just love them

Kevin Chang: [00:07:29]

quirky answer. When I asked you the question about greatest accomplishments, you had mentioned Boston being one of those greatest accomplishments, but I could tell in your eyes that you were thinking of a couple of different moments, you had pause and you were contemplating a couple of different ones.
Just give us a couple of nuggets of different moments that have been meaningful to you
over time.

Chris Schenone: [00:07:51]

Ran a couple of 50 milers. Wow. And those 50 milers were unbelievable just based on their challenge, not just physiologically, but mentally to stay plugged in for that long. I was out there for nine, 10 hours max it at one of them.
So, and that's not that long a time. So I just found those to be really. Interesting because you're out there on a trail, you're having to stay alert. So you're tired. You're looking for ribbons trying to make sure you don't get lost, but I will take you back now that this is kind of clarifying in my mind.
If somebody said to me, okay, just name it. Your single greatest running experience ever. I paced a buddy of mine at Western States, 16 years ago, buddy of mine named Rob Evans. And that was the most outrageously awesome experience I ever had. So you're talking about a landmark running event. The Western States 100, I was there at Forest Hill to pace him from, I think, what is it?
Mile 60, 60, basically 61 to the finish, which is 39 miles. And there it is, it's late June. The weather was, I dunno, 71 degrees there wasn't a cloud in the sky. You're running on this trail and you're out there at midnight, one o'clock am, two o'clock in the morning. The stars are out. He was on fire. He was running out of his mind.
And when, I mean, out of his mind, he was running a pace and at a skill set that was unbelievable. And I was there holding flashlights and I was there as his pacer and he did not get passed the final 39 miles of that race. Not one person passed him. I believe when they looked at the data, he almost was a statistical anomaly.
Everybody talks about wanting to run negative splits. I think he passed 38 plus people in that last one third of the race, which is. Outrageous. And I was there along for the ride, I would say to both of you, that was the greatest single running experience I ever had without a doubt.

Bertrand Newson: [00:09:51]

And that you're there pacing a good friend in not even arguably, I mean, for the record, the most celebrated and, and cherished a hundred miler trail run in the world.
We had a guest on recently that completed Western States and he helps facilitate one of the primary aid stations. And that's good stuff again, you're talking about supporting somebody else on their historic journey and it's your most cherished running experience today. So that says a lot about you and your character, Chris,

Chris Schenone: [00:10:27]

maybe it was so enjoyable because it wasn't about me.
There's a part of me that really. Doesn't need the spotlight. Actually I might work around it or against it, not really looking for it, but running with Rob that evening. And actually some of the training runs you'll know that some of the training runs before it were just Epic, slammed down cage fried kind of stuffs.
So all the work was put in way before this and to the people listening on this podcast that are training with you. And all the other people that are out there training for their events. I think it's pretty common knowledge that the work is done before the race. So the race is really, it should be the capstone to what they did proceeding weeks and months beforehand.
So I feel strongly, it's all about foundational work and you know, the little things it's going for the run you don't really want to go on. And there is a time not to go for a run. Don't get me wrong. There's a time when you wake up and you probably should beg off, but there's other times when you know, you've got to muscle your way through it and do it.
And then when you get to that race, And maybe you're 80% completed with 20% remaining and you just know it's a slam dunk. You nailed it. I don't know if there's anything like it.

Bertrand Newson: [00:11:40]

I said, well said, I mean, Chris, I can't tell you how many times that I've been to your store and you have former athletes that you've coached and you're like, Hey coach B, this person's writing here.
And just the amount of pride and the influence you've had in those runners. Cause most of them are going to D two or D one schools and are very celebrated runners in their own. Can you speak to your coaching experience? Coaching youth, getting them ready, ready for the next level. And, uh, I know you're a very celebrated, accomplished cross country coach in your own, right?

Chris Schenone: [00:12:12]

Well, I think that the key for a lot of the younger athletes, especially now they have so much on their plate. There's a lot of pressure on them already. So whether it's parental cause academic scholastically and the gauntlet to use a pun that they have to run to get into college. I don't have to tell anyone out there.
It is unbelievable. So I think for me in the store, and as I've coached them, I try and put the least amount of pressure on them. And at the same time, it may sound a lot. I try and get them to take the greatest amount of risks that they can. So when I say attempt to get them to take the greatest amount of risks possible, I try and provide them the ultimate safety net.
So what's that really mean I rarely, rarely negatively criticize them. I just completely believe in. You know, positive support, whether they had an outstanding day, whether they had a below par day, you just want to kind of keep them up, keep them motivated. And most of them, the athletes that worked for me in the store, they do go to a variety of outstanding public and private institutions here in the us.
Area. So they go to Westmont that gun to brand them or Lee. They're going to Bellarmine college prep st. Francis Valley, Christian middy. So they're coming to me as fairly refined products in the store, especially as employees. And you can just tell that their passion for running is a great kind of fulcrum against what they're dealing with at school.
It gives them a great outlet. So I think to their, to their credit, They see the path forward. They understand the importance of running and it really helps mold them to accomplish probably things academically that maybe they would have a more difficult time dealing with without having that comradery and things that they get out of the team experience.
At the high school level before they ultimately go on to college, which is a totally, if you talk to them now, or you met Matt Richardson, so he's, he's running it, UCS B. I mean, if you talk to him about his experience as a runner at Bellarmine college prep, before he got to UCFB, it's a wildly different team set up.
So it's really interesting to talk to them as they kind of metric their way through their experience.

Kevin Chang: [00:14:30]

I did want to get into the store and into Running Revolution. And I don't know if you know this Chris, but maybe 10 years ago, when I first started thinking I wanted to get into running or started jogging, I think I ran across an article online that said, First thing that you need to do is go find shoes.
And I didn't know it at the time, but I, you know, I could only make it maybe two or three miles at that point in time. And I would always get this nagging pain in my knee and my feet would hurt my feet would absolutely hurt after two miles. And so I finally went into Running Revolution, got on the treadmill, got fitted for a pair of shoes and it completely changed my outlook on running.
Uh, completely changed my thought of, Oh, can I only go two miles? And that's just your body can handle. Maybe I can go a little bit more without pain. So my number one, tip for any new runner is go get fitted for shoes. Go get fitted for. Running shoes that fit your feet for me, I'm an overpronator.
So it made the world of difference because most just cost training shoes are made for neutral feet. And so with that being said, if I say, and a new runner into Running Revolution, what are some of the things that you're looking for looking at? How do you get somebody fit into the right pair of shoes?

Chris Schenone: [00:15:49]

Well, that's a great segue to tell all of you that in this pandemic with all this time, it's weird. There's things that I absolutely have more time for right now. And there's absolutely things that I'm spending way too much time on because of the pandemic that are taking you away from other things. But I'll answer your question by saying, we spend a lot of time and we've spent a lot of money on infrastructure, so it would be not necessarily known to the consumer, but on Friday, last week we just installed.
A ridiculously sophisticated new foot scanner. Now always had a scanner in the store from year number two, moving forward, and they, the lease or the, the money to buy this equipment is expensive. But my point is, is that most people, Kevin, to your point, they come in. 95% of the time in the wrong size. So forget about it, what shoe they're in or whether they're in the right shoe.
One of the real, why was that brings a lot of people in, um, they know that I need a good piece of footwear, but often what we hear is there experiencing a numbness or tingling in their foot. It almost feels like it's cramping. And that's number one. Number two is what you just gave voice to, which was knee pain.
But I would say to the people that are listening, throw out of your mind, what size you think you should be? And just let this ridiculously exotic expensive machine tell you what size we should start at. And we're not going to do anything in the store until we put someone in the scanner. And that's always been my number one criteria.
My employees know if they really want to irritate me and it takes a lot to irritate me. They have a rule in the first five minutes. They need to put somebody on the scanner. So the scanner just gives out an unbelievable amount of information. It tells you whether your arch is low flat, and there's a lot of people that come in and they'll tell us that, Oh my God, I've got the flattest arch in the world half the time.
They really don't. So the scanner super important. Secondly, we are going to take them outside and we're going to videotape them running away from us in a pair of neutral shoes. Now, why are we using a pair of neutral shoes? We're not looking to rig the test. And it's just the same as if you were doctor's office, you would be a little weary of any doctor.
I think that didn't take your time. Amateur weighed you and took your blood pressure before they went off and came up with a con inclusion as to what your issues are. So in the same light in the store, when they walk in. The number one and two mandatory steps that we're going to take. We're going to put them on the scanner.
We're going to find out what size they are. We're going to look for. There's some certain information that we in the store get off the scanner that we may not verbalize, but it definitely gives us a 90% clue as to what we're probably going to see when we videotape them. But then we videotape them and we do always share the video.
So the video is not as much for us as it is to use with the runner. Or Walker at some point in the process, personally, I don't like to show him the video until I'm 10 or 15 minutes in. And the reason for that is that I find when I show the video early, they tend to want to try and change their running form out there on the sidewalk when they start trying on a bunch of shoes.
So I will tacitly tell them no. Okay. I'm going to share this with you. I just don't want to share it with you now. I. Implore them to please run the way that they do and have every day of the week for the last five or 10 years. So we're not really in there to really change their running form as much as we are to find a shoe that either compliments or acts as a bridge to get them through something maybe their body doesn't quite want to do.

Kevin Chang: [00:19:37]

Give us a little bit of indication of what you're looking for in those videos. I talked a, a little bit about underpronation or overpronation, but our audience probably doesn't even know what that is. So what are you looking at for getting people into the right pairs of shoes?

Chris Schenone: [00:19:50]

Let's see if we can generically give them a picture as to what that over an underpronation means now some of the podiatrists that we work with, we like to use the phrases pronation or supination.
And I'll tell you why, because underpronation makes it sound like you're not doing enough of something and overpronation makes it sound like you're doing too much of something. So from a medical perspective, at least in store, we'll definitely tell somebody if they're pronating. That means that they're arch and or knee plus maybe even their hip it's collapsing.
So they feel like they're buckling in. That's why they get knee injuries. That's why they feel a little unstable. So that would be pronation. Supination, which we do see 25%, 33% of the time. It means that they're actually. Getting rolled to the external to the outside. And this is why the video is so important to even over this podcast.
Even trying to explain these terms, I think it's wildly ineffective, but to see it visually most people, without me even telling them what they're seeing in the video, they can tell when something's right. And they can definitely tell when something's wrong. So, those are critical factors now kind of to stay on topic here and we're talking about shoes and especially pronation.
The body naturally needs to disperse shock. Bert, you just jump in here anytime you want, but we don't want to take all the pronation away. So we want to let the body naturally deflect and roll in just a little bit, but I'll give you a magic number. When we take the video, if we feel like they're deflecting internally and they're pronating more than 10%, that's when we're going to look at the shoe to maybe act as that bridge, to work through something they're having an issue with.
So we will put them in a stability shoe at that point, but most of podiatrists feel 8%- 10% pronation is when we want to either put an insert in or use a stability shoe. If not, and this may be unique to the Running Revolution a little bit and more stores, more stores are trending this way, but we are selling more neutral footwear than we are selling stability footwear.
So I wouldn't say it's a prove it, show me, kind of deal because some people just feel better in a stability shoe. They want that feeling of something under their arch. But we do try and persuade people that a little bit of pronation is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just like eating dessert, donuts, cake.
Okay. There's nothing wrong with eating a donut, having cake or having ice cream. Do you want to do it every single night? Every single day of the week? Probably not. So I don't know if that's a good example or not, but I would just say that we're not opposed to a little bit of pronation because that's the body's way of attenuating dispersing shock.
Just like I had a couple of donuts this morning after I went for a run. I'm definitely not going to have any more donuts for a week. So maybe that's that will help some people out there.

Bertrand Newson: [00:22:44]

Yep. Well said, well said.

Kevin Chang: [00:22:46]

And I think the shoes aren't the end all be all either. I mean, I think people come into the store get fitted into one pair of shoes and their running form will eventually change a little bit over time.
So, I mean, is the recommendation to come get fitted multiple times, at least during the first year? Or how do you deal with kind of new runners come into your story

Chris Schenone: [00:23:05]

and then coming back, Kevin, that's an excellent point. I concur it. They're going to get better. Okay. Now, especially for the new runners. And what's this pandemic broad it's broad and tire boom of new roads.
Now I guarantee you that afterwards four weeks, they were definitely running better week five than they were week one. So there are some efficiencies that are gained. And so we do track that. And it's why we tend to, regardless of how long they've been coming into the store, we keep scanning them. So sometimes.
I don't know if they get annoyed, they must not get that annoyed cause they keep going back, but we will continually kind of rescan and it doesn't mean we will videotape every single time, year after year after year, if they're doing well on a particular shoe. And especially if it's neutral, we'll definitely keep them there.
If they come in and they're experiencing some other issues or I think this is important, let's say their goal set changes like Bert, you must deal with this all the time. Maybe you get people. They start out first, they claim. Bert help me. I just wanna run a 5K I just wanna run a 10K and then six months later, they adapted so well, they want to run a half marathon.
Maybe they want to run a marathon at that point. I guess I'm like a dog. My ears go up and tail starts wagging and I definitely I'm more focused on what I think they might need and believe it or not, I'm kind of, I'm looking forward. I'm extrapolating in my own mind. What I think they may encounter 20 miles in.
Now, I know. They've just started that journey. They've verbalized a desire to do that, but I definitely look at them a little bit differently if that's what I hear.

Kevin Chang: [00:24:41]

Excellent. So we talked a little bit about the underpronation, the overpronation talk to us a little bit about the different types of shoes in terms of cushioning.
There was a whole genre of minimalist shoes, and then there's a whole genre of maximally cushioned shoes. And so do you choose those shoes based on your goals and what you're looking to accomplish? Or do you maybe have one pair of each or, or what's your recommendation in terms minimalism, maximalism, cushioning, those types of things.

Chris Schenone: [00:25:10]

Well, in fairness to all the manufacturers and not to sound like I'm belittling none, I'm politically correct. And I'm just going to shoot straight right down the middle. They're all making phenomenal footwear right now. And I would say if you're a running consumer, there's a lot of thank you's and it could be given to believe it or not Hoka for making that maximum was platform completely acceptable.
Medically sound and allowing some people to run that heretofore would not be able to run because they've got all that ridiculous. And I mean this in a positive way, all that cushion below them. Now I ran in a pair of Hokas is this morning, my Bondis, which is it's like six bags of marshmallows under me.
It was a phenomenally productive 25 minute run. It must've been so productive. That's what led me to go get those donuts. Yeah. That's not what I did yesterday. So yesterday, I guess I'll just use myself as an example right now to answer your question. I went for an eight and a half mile run yesterday and I did put on my original Nike vapor flies.
Okay. So want to thank you to Nike for that unbelievably explosive game changing shoe that came out four years ago. Remember the first one, the baby, the blue with the red trim? Yep. Okay. People were shocked. 250 bucks. What the hell am I going to do? What am I doing spending $250 carbon plate. What now I ran in those yesterday.
I had a, I've got a pair of the originals that I'd been saving. I would just say that I went out there and I wanted to run a really specific training run where I ran a half mile at super, super. Tempo pace. And then I ran, I took a break and then I ran a mile at tempo pace, and that was an entirely different type of workout.
I wanted to run fast. And so I put those shoes on because I thought they would give me the results, but I wanted out of that run. So.

Kevin Chang: [00:27:07]

And for our audience that doesn't know that those Vapor Flys are the ones that Kichoge wore during his two hour marathon. Right. So they are the best of the best, cutting edge.
If you want speed on the road is that how you would explain them?

Chris Schenone: [00:27:20]

Yes. You know, since we're talking about it, I'll go even a couple of steps deeper at this point. It's 2020, there's already been four iterations of that shoe. So the shoe that I ran in yesterday was 1.0, and they have had iterations thereafter. I mean the most recent one to be totally correct.
Is the Alpha Fly it's $280. That's what Kichoge wore to go under two. But that is, that lineage is from that original shoe from four years ago that he ran. In Rio and won the gold medal with and Galen Rupp was behind him in second. In fact, I think that's where some of the focus became a little bit more clear on what's this footwear what's going on.
I mean, the other manufacturers really didn't do anything until really 24 months ago. So they were all behind on this party. I mean, it's very typical of Nike to be. Cutting edge like that, but in the same way that I said, thank you to Hoka for the maximalist footwear. I would also say for the consumers out there, some who may politically have an issue with Nike, or just don't like the brand for any assorted reasons, which I understand.
And I empathize with those people that feel that way. Give Nike a lot of credit for spending millions and millions and millions of dollars, a ridiculous amount of human time in their labs, working on this foot wear, because without that expense, without that expertise without that experience, without those athletes that they train and give stipends to, then some of this footwear would not be out in the market and believe me, some of the things that they find in those exotic expensive shoes, Bert they're in those, they're in those Mylar React, Infinity Reacts in some of those main line consumer products that are in the store right now.
So it's all part and parcel of a bigger story.

Bertrand Newson: [00:29:14]

Yep. Well said,

Kevin Chang: [00:29:15]

What's it like to run in those Vapor Flys? Do you have to run differently? Are you leaning further forward? Is it different type of shoe altogether? What's it like?

Chris Schenone: [00:29:24]

Well, this is just my personal opinion, but I think there's an odd for me.
Connection between some of these Vapor Fly shoes and some of the Hokas, cause there's a certain springiness and a certain rocker, and there's a certain geometry that they kind of share. So I find them to be both uniquely similar and stylistically amazingly dissimilar, but you get. An oddly similar output, but speaking of the latest shoe that Alpha Fly, they're going to start moving them out to the dealers early August.
And the allocation on that product is like Fort Knox. It's like gold. I can tell you, wow, I'm getting, I'm getting 15 of them. That's it? 15 August 3rd. And the sizes are even weird. It's not even a complete size run, so they're not going to give me. All right. If I showed you what they were sending me, it's a little odd, but yeah, that's coming early, August $280.
And I have not ran in that one yet, even though I do have a pair. So they sent me one a couple of weeks ago as a courtesy. And no, it wasn't free. I have to pay for it, but I have not ran in it only because I just haven't felt a desire to run it yet. I'm kind of. Saving it for when I feel like I'm in the right Headspace and maybe I'm having my own COVID pandemic obstacles myself, but I just I'm like, Nope, I'm just not ready to put this thing on yet.
And I'm just, there's other footwear that I'm enjoying enough right now where it's not bring a hole in me. So I'm just going to wait until it calls its name and then I'll pull it out of the box, and lace those puppies up

Kevin Chang: [00:31:02]

for some of our audience that doesn't. know about Hoka. So Hoka One One kind of wrote the book on this maximalism footwear.
This is actually what I wear a lot of the times. Speak a little bit about who do you recommend that footwear for and what types of runs people are going in Hokas.

Chris Schenone: [00:31:21]

That's a phenomenal story because realistically they've only been in the market for eight, nine years at most running stores to say that at least in the Running Revolution, they are the number three sold brand.
For those that are listening, I'm going to tell you straight up that the top two brands that we sell and they make up the lion's share of what rolls out of the store. Our Brooks and new balance. And I don't think that's probably too surprising at most running specialty stores. At this point, those two brands have a commanding share, make outstanding product, and they make outstanding product, a wide variety of categories.
So that's why they're both doing so well. So they serve the under pronator, the overpronator that supinate or the Poon eight or whatever we want to call them the big person, the small person, and they all have offerings that are super cushy, super competitive. So they're doing a great job, but the fact that by volume, we're selling more Hokas in our store, Nike, Saucony, and Asics.
That's a compelling story. And it may be that we were Hoke is second account here in the Bay area. I believe their first account was a Bert. What was the store up there? In Menlo Park that, uh, they're no longer Zombie Runner, Zombie Runner and little Running Revolution. We were the first two accounts. So when nobody else wanted them.
And nobody else cared. And the product looked ridiculous worse than they worked. They looked worse than you. And they were second only to Ronald McDonald's shoes,
super bad, but my brother and I got a pair and I remember driving back here into Los Gatos on the Jones Hill. And we went up and over the dam and you could just tell game-changer. So regardless of how goofy they looked, I felt like I was Neil Armstrong, one giant step for running kind and one, I don't know, whatever his great phrase was when he stepped foot on the moon.
And yeah, they looked ridiculous, but they felt so good. I was like, This is going to happen. So we did get off to a great start with them. And then they really matured as a company. Ultimately, the two guys that were from think Adidas or Solomon, French Canadian trail guys ended up selling it to Deckers for those people out there, Deckers owns a boots.
So when people think of Hoka, believe it or not. They ship product out of the same warehouse that has boots and TIVA sports sandals, and simple shoes. So this holding company has all four brands under their ownership. Yeah. The Hoka story is an amazing one and they, they show no signs of slowing down and it's definitely not a trend.
It's a hundred percent widgets. I would say, especially for the mature adult, I'll just define the mature adult is maybe somebody over 40, but you know, the cushion in those shoes. I mean, it's really saving a lot of people.

Bertrand Newson: [00:34:23]

You see those shoes in healthcare, you see them with nurses and people that are on their, on their feet on a long time basis.

Chris Schenone: [00:34:30]

Yes. Well, I can say that my wife is a nurse and the top two selling nurses shoes right now are. Brooks and Hoka. Wow.

Bertrand Newson: [00:34:38]

There you go. Yep.

Chris Schenone: [00:34:39]

Yeah. Yeah. In fact, my wife, I took my bond. He's out for a two and a half mile run this morning and my wife is going to wear them for 10 hours on shift at Valley med today.
So what's that tell you? They're absolutely in the greater fabric of their running community at this point.

Kevin Chang: [00:34:56]

I remember the first time I heard about Hocus, I was having lunch with a endorphin dude and a, you know, here's a guy who was on the couch one day and got up and decided to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks.
And so when he tells you, Hey, these shoes check out these shoes. I mean, you tend to sit down and you tend to listen. And I remember my first pair of putting them on. I think I got them up. Up at zombie runners and game-changer, I mean, the amount of miles that I like to put on the body without the body feeling tired and, you know, the knees hurting and those types of things.
I mean, I still remember vividly my first pair of focus.

Chris Schenone: [00:35:32]

There was a young woman. I have to give her a shout out because I just found this to be the most. Outrageous. We've seen a lot of crazy people coming to the store and I mean, crazy in the best possible way. Having done things far, far, far above my pay grade.
Now I'm just going to say Molly Cuevas challenged athletes foundation last summer in a time where there was no Corona, no pandemic, no anything. So she launched herself from Santa Monica all the way up to long Island. And I think she started in may of last year. I don't know how the hell she did this. I want to say she's 23 or 24.
And her mom got in a van in an RV and some of her friends just went out there. Do you know Bree Lambert? That's who helped train her as she was racking up, it was like 200 miles a week. I mean, just. Oh, okay. Now she's she started her journey. The only reason this came to mind was just this tangent we were on with Hoka.
She was having trouble as she was getting kind of into Arizona. Really on the first one 10th of her journey. I can't remember exactly what shoes she was in. I'm just going to say that. I remember it was something generic, something that was a better than average piece of footwear. And I had talked to her about this, but by the time she got out there, her mom.
And her called me and they said, we think we need those crazy Hoka Bondis, so they were opposed to it. And I'll tell you why they were opposed to it because yes, they look crazy, but there gets to be a point where you're like, you know what, if this is what's going to get the job done well, and this is what I want.
And maybe this is a good time to tell people, listening to this. When you go into any running store, forget about the colors and forget about the way they look. You want the shoe that feels best for you in any circumstance, in any situation. So try and I get it aesthetics are important. I'm not saying that they're not, but I would say that in the end, you want to buy the shoe.
That feels the best. You want to buy the shoe that motivates you or allows you to run the mile or two miles you think you couldn't do. Maybe that's the best way to put into somebody's mind what shoe should you buy. When somebody asks me that I tell them which one of these shoes do you think might allow you to do more than what you're thinking you can do today?
That's the shoe you want to buy. So I'm saying that in the same way that Molly Cuevas got from Santa Monica to Long Island, I want to say it was less than three months. You can look her up. She raised, I don't know, was it over $50,000-$60,000 for CAF, but she did it with the Bondi. Okay. Without that Bondi.
And she made me, have gone through eight pairs I mean I was drop shipping them to Glendale, Arizona. I dropped shipped them to Wichita, Kansas. So I obviously, I remember it vividly. Again, so interesting to see how footwear can impact somebody's life.

Kevin Chang: [00:38:18]

Especially with your youth or, you know, new runners coming into the store?
No, my recommendation is always to get a couple of different pairs of shoes for runners. So two to three, three to four. How many shoes do you recommend people have? And I know I get a couple different shoes. Because there are road running shoes, there

Chris Schenone: [00:38:36]

are trail running shoes.

Kevin Chang: [00:38:37]

There are maybe she's that I want to use for longer distances, or maybe these shoes that we talked about for race day, where I want to just go fast and get out there.
So talk a little bit about different and styles of shoes, even for the same runner. How many different avenues can people go down?

Chris Schenone: [00:38:51]

They could go down three easy groupings. So to your point, cause you just kind of lined them out. You want a shoe that allows you to run efficiently and faster than you might normally do.
You want a safety shoe? Okay. As I like to call them a trainer one, that's going to be easy. Probably be the safest thing you could possibly wear. Maybe allows your body to recover and heal. And then I would say the grouping that might have the most. Elective purchasing power would be the trail side. I think around here, the trails, you can run a lot of the trails around here in a street shoe, but I do think it kind of depends on the individual.
I would say that because of the pandemic, you've got a lot people coming into the store that I'm not going to say they're shot at the time prices, but you know, they may be used to buy them a pair of shoes at target or Kohl's or Ross dress for less, or even Dick's, um, a bigger box athletic store. And so I would say the baseline price right now in the store is about $130.
That's really where they're all sitting. There's some that are $120 and there's some that are even at a hundred that are absolutely a hundred percent viable footwear. That's why we have them. Some people are surprised that we've got a hundred dollar list price shoe in the store, more than one. But it's important because you get some kids that come in there and they don't need an exotic piece of footwear and they don't even need $120 or $130 shoe, there's a lot of middle school kids that come into the store that need a better than average piece of footwear.
So they're all in there for a reason, but I think two shoes. Some studies have proven that the body adapts to two unique pieces of footwear. And if somebody can afford it, that's a good way to go if they can't, we absolutely want them to be in one shoe that absolutely meets all their criteria. And

Kevin Chang: [00:40:35]

I mean, $130 is a bargain.
It is the one piece of equipment that you need to go running to invest in your health and invest in your fitness. Um, it's not a lot to ask for, um, especially with the number of miles that you can get in, in any pair of shoes. So what is the recommended mileage for people before they start looking at new shoes?

Chris Schenone: [00:40:56]

300, I feel as the baseline. And if you just took a, a random set of phone calls and went to the Brooks website, Hoka new balance, then you called up their customer service people on that 800 number. They're all gonna tell you about 300 miles. Some of these shoes, if they're a more performance oriented shoe, this sounds a little contradictory.
They're more money. And yet you get smiles out of him. So Brett and I both know those vapor flies. Again, it's amazing to meet her $250 and you definitely, I don't think you get really 250 miles, so it's a little bit better than that. Yeah, I think that's, that's exactly where I would say
300 miles at what? A 10 minute mile pace. So we're talking about 50 plus hours for you on the road. And you get to think about your fitness, your mental health.
I mean, it's a no brainer.
I, I agree with you, it's, it's a, it's a very, I don't know you could send it to any economic advisor and they would probably say for God's sake by the shoe, I mean,

Bertrand Newson: [00:41:59]

necessary, essential expense, plus the therapy that you get out of it as well, just in the experience in running pennies on the dollar.
One question I had for you, Chris, as I know, we want to respect your time. You've been in business for a while. You've seen competitors come and competitors go being an independent running store operator. What

Chris Schenone: [00:42:20]

makes you your store,

Bertrand Newson: [00:42:22]

your

Chris Schenone: [00:42:22]

staff?

Bertrand Newson: [00:42:23]

Unique in the midst of the pandemic. I mean, you know, you shared with me how you've still been able to keep the doors open, where other running stores, even big box brands with multiple locations with more inventory have had to significantly alter hours or clothes all together.
But Running Revolution is still there providing for the community, all fitness levels, all age levels. Why have you been able to sustain the business the way you have?

Chris Schenone: [00:42:51]

I do think having been in business for 20 years, you been battle tested and secondly, I'm absolutely not doing it by myself now. Burt, you've been in the store long enough, you know, that I have kind of a unique business environment and I've got a lot of young adults that work in there.
So. Without their composed mature, happy, fresh, the business is not sustainable. So the business is really, you know, kind of floats on his point, kind of an authentic vibe that you only get having been in business for 20 years. Right. I couldn't open up another store and recreate really what we have in the store at this point.
It's like your favorite coat. Maybe you've had it for 10 years. Fabric is still super soft, cozy. And I think for a while, people that come into the store, right, we are an absolutely trusted kind of no holds barred. Place where they can get really valid advice. And they know that there's no real skinny in the game for us in terms of selling a particular brand.
So we're big on pushing out at least two or three options. And I think that's super important. You want to be an honest broker in what you're presenting to the individual and being a little smaller, believe it or not in this environment. Actually works to your advantage because we can be a little bit more nimble.
I've been able to shift the hours of the store. I mean, let's just call it what it is. Pandemic hours. You've got an entire huge piece of the society that is now working out of their home. So, yeah, we're open now, Monday through Friday, we open at noon and, you know, I dunno the noon hour is reflection. The fact that my wife has a job as a County nurse, and I need to be here with my kids.
I feel at least til noon when I think they're kind of done with school and then I can open the store at noon and work until five. And it seems like. We get busy at 1231 o'clock two o'clock, which just seems to coincide with when adults get done with their zoom call. So call me crazy, but we've kind of looked at what's happening in American life today, and we're trying to structure the business to mirror what those needs are.
I mean, Saturday and Sunday, it's a little easier because Saturday and Sunday, we're open 10 to four and 11 to four, but it seems to work for the time that we're in right now. Well,

Bertrand Newson: [00:45:17]

you've shown over the years, 20 plus years, Chris, that you've been able to be nimble and put forth fantastic service. And I think you're, you're not giving yourself enough credit.
I mean, Running Revolution is a direct extension and reflection of you directly, you know, I, I like sports basement. I like what Lisa's doing over at athletic threads, there are a couple other smaller running shops, but there's only one Reddit Running Revolution and, or honesty. You keep it real. Plus you have character and charisma and you never feel like you're being sold something you don't, you know, you'll say, Hey, you know, I don't think that's a good fit that doesn't work, you know?
Or you, you give the history of the product. As you talked about the Hoka brand, as you talked about. The sales of other brands that to the average runner is valuable information and just the level of sincerity and transparency and retail sells, which isn't always the case in other industries. It's just very refreshing.
So from the community back to you, man, thanks for what you're doing. We really appreciate it.

Chris Schenone: [00:46:23]

You're welcome. You know, we're just going to keep trying to do the best we can every day.

Kevin Chang: [00:46:28]

Well, we wanted to be respectful of your time. So, or let the audience know where they can find you where your store is located, how they can best reach out to you if they have any questions.

Chris Schenone: [00:46:37]

Well, maybe I sound like the U S government, but we've, we've gone on a great infrastructure expenditure extravaganza. So the powers that be back in Washington should be quite happy with me. Why? Because I bought, I bought the new scanner. Yes. I upgraded the website. And these are all things that I've spent money on.
And so I guess back to a joke I might've made earlier. Yes, the pandemic has been good for kind of making us retear some of our, uh, similar services, but, uh, RunningRevolution.com the hours are legitimate. So the website is clean. Now the hours are correct. We're open seven days a week, you know, still, even moving forward, unless there was a new stay in place.
We're only closed four days a year. They can reach out to us on the website by clicking on any numerous links to send us an email. You can call into the store, you can leave a voicemail. We definitely return our voicemails. Believe it or not within 24 hours. So some people are shocked when we actually pick the phone up and call them back, but that could be a whole nother.
So, um, We'll

Bertrand Newson: [00:47:42]

have you back, we'll have you back.

Chris Schenone: [00:47:44]

Yeah. So hopefully that answers the question. RunningRevolution.com. They can call us at (408) 374-9310. They can email me directly. I am absolutely more than happy to get as many emails as anybody wants to send [email protected] and believe me, pandemic.
I've had a lot of people reach out and all kinds of ways, and we're more than happy. In any way, they get ahold of us to help them in any way we can.

Kevin Chang: [00:48:12]

Amazing. And over 50 years of experience running revolution, open 20 years, plus just a staple of the running community. So thank you so much, Chris, for being on the podcast with us and we'll have you back.
Definitely.

Chris Schenone: [00:48:26]

Thanks for inviting me.

Kevin Chang: [00:48:30]

Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at dot com. Please subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time.
Keep on moving.