Everything for the Runner and a Whole Lot More

From high tech socks to GPS coaching, Run with Us has got everything today's runner could want

Published : Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 1:57 PM

Looking for a device that can replace a running coach? Technologically engineered socks?

“Run With Us,” a ten-year-old Pasadena running store on North Lake Avenue stocks both – as well as a host of other running supplies you never knew you needed. Add to the mix a staff of coaches-turned-retail experts and for many local runners and walkers, the store is Mecca.

“We’re ‘running specialty,’ ” says owner Peter Van Gansen, who with his wife Lu Van Gansen opened the store a decade ago to pursue their two passions – running and retail. “As far as anything that has to do with running, we try to have it. It’s getting kind of crazy. There’s so many different accessories now.”

Crazy indeed. One of the most popular new items the store stocks are heart rate monitors, with built in GPS that can tell you how far you’ve run, your heart rate per mile, and even help you pace yourself.  “It’s almost like having a coach with you,” explains Van Gansen.

The store stocks running staples, includes a variety of socks that fit every person and running habit, in a range of sizes.

“Now they’ve got socks with two layers, so the two layers rub against each other instead of your sock against your skin,” says Van Gansen. “There’s socks that actually have compartments for the different toes. So that seperates the toes out [which prevents blisters.]” Today manufactures make socks for diabetic people, and even socks that have different pressure points.

But the most important new trend in running gear, actually brings us back to the basics – footwear, in a large range of shapes and sizes.

“It’s not a matter of technology. It’s more a matter of the fit,” says Van Gansen. “[Shoe manufacturers] are catering to a lot more different kinds of people – a lot more different types of feet. So it’s more of a custom-fit type shoe.”

Now shoe buyers can select gear in sizes like narrow, regular, and wide, or pick out shoes designed especially for people with high arches. “You’ve got to carry a lot more shoes,” says Van Gansen, “but that’s what we’re here for. It’s ‘running specialty,’ we need to be special for every foot. And that’s what we do.”
The store’s employees can even help customers pick exactly the right shoe for them, by measuring their gait, examining a customer’s walk, balance and past injuries to determine what kind of foot they have – and therefore fit them with the perfect shoe.

The store, led by its four coach staffers, even runs a running club that meets at the Rose Bowl three times a week. The club is for all levels, and it’s a chance for runners to get expert advice from the stores staff while out in the field.

And that’s part of what Run With Us is all about – allowing runners access to not just top equipment, but expert advice. It’s about helping people not just learn to run, but love to run. (Probably why Los Angeles Magazine recently named the store “Best Athletic Shoe Shop” in Southern California.)

“They’re always here to answer any question,” Van Gansen says of his staff.
“Not just when you come to buy stuff. But just to come in, and have any kind of injury related question, training questions, or you’re just doing your first marathon, come on in.”

Run with Us is located at 235 N. Lake Avenue, Pasadena. For more information call (626) 568-3331.

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