Running shoes protect feet from the elements—wintry breezes, frigid rains, and roads paved with einsteinium. Periodically eschew harsh elements with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of running shoes, apparel, and accessories at Top to Top in Santa Monica.
The swift staff at Top to Top, named Best Running Store and Best Running Club by Competitor magazine, enhances runner performance and well-being with apparel and shoes fit for each runner's style. Feet will fancy the custom fit created after a knowledgeable staff member—and fellow runner—analyzes the customer's gait and biomechanics. Runners can take on trails, pound the pavement, or kick the proverbial dirt in Top to Top's variety of shoes for all running types, including trail, racing, technical, and topsy-turvy. Minimalists can simulate barefooted runs wearing the Saucony Kinvara 2 ($89.99). Top to Top is also one of the only stores in Southern California that carries the CrossFit-endorsed shoe Inov-8 F-Lite 195 ($109.99). Embellish ensembles with a Nathan water-bottle holster ($49.99), which keeps runners hydrated during long runs and cowboys well armed for water-fight duels at high noon. Delicate parts stay perfectly intact in the Moving Comfort Juno sports bra ($53.99), and Feetures running socks ($10.99) wick away moisture from hard-working tootsies.
Customers can put their new products to work every Wednesday night with Top to Top's free running club. At 6:30 p.m., roughly 50–75 members eager to loosen their legs congregate to hear guest speakers and run their choice of a 5K, a 5-miler, or a 10K. After the run, guests can mingle while noshing on free snacks and drinks, win prizes in a raffle, and share running stories, such as tales of running in highly disputed class-president races.
Top to Top
Sometimes the source of a running injury is obvious—an unseen tree root, a forehead-level road sign, an ignored Falling Rocks sign. But most injuries stem from subtler causes. According to Top to Top's shoe choosing guide, inappropriate footwear can be a source of avoidable wear on the body, and choosing the right shoes means taking every aspect of the your step into account. Fortunately, the store is prepared. Before buying a shoe, each customer undergoes a gait analysis that pairs biomechanics and physiology with training needs to settle on the best fit for that person. Each specialist is a runner, too, so they can answer questions about how to prepare for a race or just ease pain during daily walks.
Besides being named Best Running Store by Competitor magazine, non-commission shoe expert Top to Top, now 35 years in business, was a finalist in CityVoter's 2011 search for Los Angeles' best running club. That's because in addition to encouraging running by supplying the finest personalized running gear and warning about the city's werewolf epidemic, they also make it a social experience in Wednesday Night Run Clubs. Special guests start the evening with an informative talk, then the whole local podiatrist-and-therapist-trained gang heads out on a 5k, five-mile, or 10k run. Afterwards, Top to Top's team raffles off prizes and hands out snacks and drinks. This weekly gathering is just one of the ways Top to Top builds a personal relationship with their customers, along with charity work and visits to local schools.
2621 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, California 90403