At my apartment building here in Boston, the rise of online shopping is vividly on display each day, mostly in the form of Amazon Prime boxes. Some of those boxes have been for me—but when it comes to running shoes, I still prefer the local running shoe store—the kind owned and operated by running and tri-geek sorts.

If you have access to such a store, there are numerous benefits to be had. They can be a hub of information—teams, coaches, races, as well as gear.

When it comes to running shoes, what’s some solid advice to go with in getting the most out of your store?

1. When it comes to brand, keep an open mind. Ray Pugsley, co-owner of the Potomac River Running stores in Virginia and the Washington, D.C. areas, advises runners not to cling to any favorite brands in their search for their dream running shoe. “If each customer keeps an open mind to brands and lets our staff determine the correct stability category for him or her, then the chance of finding that perfect shoe goes way up,” he says.

2. Talk too much. Welsh says the customers should open up when consulting with an associate. “It’s the most important thing,” he says. “Talk with the sales person you are working with as openly as you feel comfortable with.  The more you say the better the chance you will get the perfect fitting shoe.”

3. Set impeccable standards. “A shoe should feel great when the customer leaves the store,” Pugsley says. “It should not need to be ‘broken-in.’” Scan how the shoe feels on your foot for hot-spots, for areas of pinching or abrasion. Make sure the heel doesn’t slip while at the same time make sure that your toes have a little bit of room to breathe and do not feel crammed. Any discomfort you feel during your time in the shoe store will likely be exacerbated five-fold while out on a six-mile run. 

4.  Repeat the fitting process each time. Let’s say you find a shoe you love and spend four months running in it and decide it’s time for a fresh pair. Pugsley suggests repeating the entire fitting process rather than just dropping by for a replacement pair. As a runner continues to improve fitness, and thus runs a faster average pace, foot strike patterns will change,” he says. ” It is a good idea to continue to get fitted to make sure future shoe choices continue to be correct for that person’s evolving foot strike.”