Madison’s first running specialty store Movin’ Shoes has been open since the early ’70s and is still the go-to shop for running shoes and apparel. “We are the original and we like to think of ourselves as the best in the city, but I guess everyone likes to think of themselves that way,” laughs Tom Kaufman, who has worked in the store since the late ’70s in various capacities and now serves as a salesman on the floor and as coach of the running club. Footwear Plus and Kaufman discuss what’s kept Movin’ Shoes Madison’s destination running specialty favorite.
Q: How would you describe Movin’ Shoes? A: Our focus is on running gear. We are a specialty running store and we only do running shoes and apparel. We stock shoes from Nike, Asics, New Balance, Saucony, Brooks, Hoka One One, Salomon and Mizuno.
Q: Which are your best sellers? A: Our top three, based on volume, are Brooks, Asics and Saucony. Brooks moves the most, and then Asics and Saucony are about even.
Q: Which styles? A: From Brooks, we sell a majority of the Adrenaline. Asics would be the GT-2000. And Saucony is split between the Guide and the Ride.
Q: Who would you say is your typical customer? A: I think we have three categories of customers: the first is first-time runners–beginners–who’ve heard that we’re the place to come to for really good service, where folks will take as much time as necessary to get them set up to start out; the second category is old-timers like me who have been coming here for years; and the third category, interestingly, is people who come in to find the right running shoe to use as a walking shoe.
Q: Does Movin’ Shoes do store events? A: Oh yes. We sponsor a number of runs, we have a women’s group, a beginners’ group, I usually lead a half-marathon training group, we have done fall cross-country meets, as well as clinics and other special events. We usually have about three or four things a week. We do the Full Moon 5k, which is a nighttime run around one of the lakes in town–it’s very popular. The signup usually fills weeks beforehand because the cops cap it at about 500 people for the run.
Q: What keeps customers coming back? A: Based on feedback we’ve received, I’d say the primary thing is the customer service. We pride ourselves on getting something–that is getting the right shoe and the right fit for each individual. We encourage people to try them, and if they don’t work, bring them back and we will find something else that is a better fit. We are dedicated to them.
Q: What’s the best part of your job? A: I’ve worked here in some capacity for either 36 or 38 years–we can’t remember exactly when I started! I’ve had other jobs (I was a teacher), but this job is different. I enjoy interacting with customers, I really believe in the products we sell and, honestly, I just really like my co-workers. This is a place that makes it fun to come to work and it’s comfortable to come to work here. It’s the tone the owner sets and just this place–it’s a great place!