What do pedorthics and run retail have in common? Plenty, according to Bob Schwartz, a longtime specialty footwear retailer and head of the Pedorthic Footcare Association.
Speaking at The Running Event in Austin, TX, last November,, Schwartz, the owner of Eneslow Footwear in New York City, outlined the linkage between pedorthics and the run retail business.
For the uninitiated in the world of run specialty, pedorthics is the management and treatment of conditions of the foot, ankle and lower extremities requiring fitting, fabricating and adjusting of pedorthic devices, including footwear, insoles and other accessories to help ease and treat foot-related problems.
“Pedorthics and retail are a perfect fit,” Schwartz said at his TRE23 presentation. “Done right, a pedorthic approach helps stores achieve sustainable competitive advantages against other stores and certainly against online shopping. Pedorthic skills enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.”
Schwartz says pedorthics favors a holistic approach that starts with staff training and investing in product inventory that can serve the needs of consumers with foot and ankle issues.
To be successful, you need ready-made, over-the-counter product solutions, Schwartz said, which means inventory on hand and on display and a wide product selection for consumers.
“It helps the consumer and encourages impulse buying and add-ons,” he said.
Among Schwartz’ top recommendations are compression, antimicrobial, temperature and humidity regulating hosiery, foot aids: toe crests, bunion pads and splints, and ready-made inserts.
Schwartz respects the gait analysis and digital foot scan approach to shoe fitting favored by many run stores, but he advocates a more in-depth approach to fitting, which includes worn shoe evaluation, foot shape and arch length.
For shoe fitting, pedorthic training also includes inventory knowledge so store associates can provide problem-solving products that are currently in-stock.
When a store adopts the pedorthic approach. Schwartz said it can open up new consumer segments and he loves the idea of running stores opening up to this approach: “Consumers sometimes think of pedorthics as a clinical store that sells clunky shoes to people with disabilities. A run store connotes wellness and fitness and active people with active lifestyles.”
It’s a great environment for this approach.