Secret Shop Criteria

After carefully evaluating all Best Running Stores of 2021 nomination forms, The Running Event team will select top stores to be secret shopped. To make the process as transparent as possible, we’ve outlined the secret shop criteria below. 


Calling the Store

1. To confirm the address
2. Share the reason for going to the store (new
runner looking for good shoes as a
3. Learn about Covid restrictions

Social Media Check

Review the location’s Facebook/Instagram page before visiting.

In-Store Experience

Engagement & Fitting Process

1. Were you greeted and made to feel welcome and safe when you entered the store?
2. Was the store laid out in a way that was easy to navigate, and considered social distancing, etc.?
3. Did the Sales Associate ask questions about your intended usage and why you were looking to purchase new shoes?
4. Did the Sales Associate use a fitID method/device, watch you walk, and/or measure your feet to get an accurate fit?
5. Did the associate recommend specific shoes or types of shoes?
6. Were you made to feel comfortable while you were trying on shoes? (Take into consideration the fitting experience as well as Covid protocols.)
7. Did the associate help you understand your options for what shoes would work best based on your needs?
8. Did the associate explain why they were recommending a specific shoe or type of shoe? For example – based on your gait, what you are training for, etc.?
9. After the sales associate helped you find footwear, did they suggest any other products? – socks, apparel, recovery tools etc.

Checkout Experience

1. Please rate the level of professionalism of the associate that helped you.
2. Were you asked to provide your mailing address or email address in some way during the checkout process?
3. Was the check-out process easy and customer friendly?
4. Were you thanked and/or asked to return?

Overall Experience

General Feedback

1. Rate the assortment of accessory products (socks, apparel, insoles, water bottles, hats, etc.)
2. Rate the overall ambiance of the store.
3. Was the merchandise presented in a way that was easy to understand and shop?
4. How would you rate the overall experience?
5. Would you refer a friend to this store?

The Extras

Community & Sustainability

1. Did the store have any sustainable practices in place?
2. Were you made aware of any upcoming event, training program, or race through store signage and/or conversations with the associates?
3. Did the store share/display any information about running clubs/groups or virtual running clubs/groups?
4. Did the store share or have any information about their charities, donations, or give back programs?

Best Running Stores of 2021 Timeline

  • March 24: Nominations deadline (closed)
  • Mid-July: Winners notified
  • December 2: Winners honored and Store of the Year announced at The Running Event

Questions? Our team is here to help! Please email us at

Secret Shopping Performed By:

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