Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball and football to snowboarding, skis, and ice skates. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man each location, ready to answer questions, arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups, and even sharpen skates or wax snowboards. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Inside one of Illinois? oldest PADI?certified dive centers, Berry Dive Center?s eight instructors call upon a combined 100 years of experience to increase the underwater expertise of small student cohorts. Lessons unfold in both pool and classroom, with instructors sharing textbook techniques and safety tips before offering personalized critiques during supervised practice dives. The PADI five-star IDC facility?which was recently given a 35-year store award?keeps skills sharp with PADI certification courses and weekend excursions to Kankakee?s Haigh Quarry, with adventure-diving opportunities such as exploring wrecks, deep-water diving, and apprehending goldfish smugglers. The center?s dive shop also stocks a full line of diving equipment and manuals.
To motivate exercisers to burn calories in their own dwellings, Fitness Experts' passionate employees pair exercise routines with the best-suited equipment from a reservoir of new and pre-owned fitness contraptions. The knowledgeable staff addresses individual fitness needs, advising patrons on purchasing the proper gear to avoid aggravating dumbbell allergies.
For only $30, you get a $60 Groupon to Running Away Multisport, which can be used on all its awesome running shoes. With summer almost here, it's a great time to get a fresh pair for outdoors or as a Father's Day gift that says, "You're out of shape."
Erehwon Mountain Outfitter equips adventurers for hiking, camping, and other outdoor pursuits with a vast stock of sporting equipment and clothing from international brands such as The North Face and Columbia. Torsos stay dry while wearing the men's Capilene 1 silk-weight stretch T-shirt from Patagonia ($29), made of a quick-wicking fabric designed to keep skin comfortably arid. Climb and stride in comfort with the women’s Merrell W’s moad ventilator summer hiking shoes, which protect feet with leather straps and a light mesh that increases breathability more than bulky Scuba insoles ($85). The Klean Kanteen Classic lubricates parched throats during all-day expeditions with a 40-ounce stainless steel interior and a cap that proffer fresh water free of BPA and other harmful toxins ($27.95). The Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 2 ($212) warm-weather tent connects up to three campers with the wilderness via a convertible-roof window perfect for nighttime stargazing or daytime cloud-calling.
Frogg Pond Dive is the home of Chicago Diving Schools, who introduce the gill-deprived to underwater exploration. Students new to sea can get flippered feet wet in the discover scuba class, wherein a PADI certified instructor teaches the basics of sea breathing from the safe, never-electric-eel-filled confines of a pool. For swimmers not ready to take the plunge to the bottom of the un-briny depths, there's the snorkeling class. And divers who have already completed a scuba certification program, but are out of practice or have recently had their memories erased by Secret Service agents, can regain their aquatic adeptness by enrolling in the dive refresher.