Fleet Feet Sports

Locals don’t walk—they run—to an Encino hub for the athletic-minded.

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    Linda Grasso

As the sun sets over the San Gabriel Mountains, dozens of people in running shorts and tank tops gather at a strip mall in Encino to stretch and offer words of encouragement. They warm up, share a few laughs and head out for a jog.  The group, which is training for a marathon at Lake Balboa Park in April, meets three times a week—gatherings orchestrated by Boulevard newcomer Fleet Feet Sports. 

The store is housed in the former Phidippides, and like its predecessor, it also sells running shoes. But owner Trey Barnes insists that’s just part of the business. “Most of our customers aren’t even runners. They’re people who just want shoes that are comfortable,” he says. “Getting the right fit makes a world of difference, whether you’re walking around the block or running marathons.”  

Trey, who favors the Brooks Cascadia trail shoe and describes himself as an “ultra runner,” says his staff is specially trained in custom fitting. “We watch the way someone walks, and analyze motion—how flexible the ankle is,” he says.

Fleet Feet is one of more than 90 franchises around the country but the only one in Southern California. Trey worked at a Fleet Feet in San Francisco before selecting the Valley to open shop. “I felt that there was a lot of room for growth here. With all the parks, trails and fitness-minded folks in the Valley, we can provide a lot of resources for them to stay fit and active.”

Trey envisions Fleet Feet, which holds group marathon training as well as clinics and classes, as a local hub for fitness enthusiasts. “We want to be a resource for the community to stay fit and active. That can be anything from discovering what shoes work best for you to learning about how to warm up and cool down,” Trey says.