If you’re a runner in this town, chances are you’re familiar with Mill City Running and its new sister store Saint City Running. You’ve read the beaming reviews and have already stopped in for shoes, apparel, or to chat up others in the running community.
But if you’re walkers like us, you may have assumed these stores weren’t for you. What if walking in there was like walking into Championship Vinyl and asking Barry Judd for the latest Bieber album? He’d laugh you out of the store!
Turns out, our fears were unfounded. Mill City Running was opened in 2013 by husband and wife Jeff and Bekah Metzdorff. They’re both avid runners but welcome exercisers of all shapes, sizes, paces, and abilities. After ordering (and returning) half a dozen pairs of ill-fitting sneakers online, and feeling underwhelmed by the service and selection at Dick’s and the Mall of America, Minnevangelist co-founder Ashlea Halpern paid Mill City Running a visit. And guess what? The workers were so NICE — the total opposite of record store snobs.
Ashlea’s free consultation with staffer Matt started with a conversation about her fitness history (including any injuries), past shoes that worked (or didn’t), and her short- and long-term walking goals. Both wore masks throughout the fit process; clean socks and hand sanitizer were also available. For folks who don’t feel comfortable shopping in person, virtual fittings can be scheduled at millcityrunning.com/virtual. (Ladies, it’s also worth noting that the new Saint City Running location offers free, professional run bra fittings for band sizes 30-44 and cup sizes A-G. Schedule an appointment online at millcityrunning.com/runbras.)
After the mini-Q&A, Matt guided Ashlea to the shop’s Aetrex Albert scanner, a machine that uses 18 imaging cameras to produce 3D foot renderings. (Sizing sure has come a long way since those clunky Brannock Devices!) After a few minutes, the machine generated a “foot passport,” which told her the exact length, width, instep, and girth of each of her feet, plus arch type and pressure distribution. Matt then led Ashlea to a partially concealed treadmill, where he used video software to record and analyze her motion and stride—pinpointing a pronation she never knew existed.
Finally, it was sneaker-fitting time. Matt ferried out a dozen pairs, trying Hoka and Brooks, Adidas and New Balance, until Ashlea found her ideal match. The one-on-one service was fantastic. Even better is the store’s 60-day money back guarantee: If you don’t ❤️ your new shoes, you can return them in any condition. That won’t be a problem for Ashlea. She’s already logged 43 miles in the last week, with nary a blister to moan about.
Mill City Running
411 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 612-378-6001.