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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 15, 2006

Store works with runners, doctors to get the right fit

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By Oscar A. Hernandez
Special to The Advertiser

Carolyn Ching tries on a shoe under the watchful gaze of assistant manager Gaston Ly at The Running Room.

Photos by OSCAR A. HERNANDEZ | Special to The Advertiser

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With my plantar condition, Gaston Ly asked about my walking or running routines, how many miles I covered in each outing and my injury history.

After walking in the store sans shoes so Ly could check for problems, he offered three pairs of shoes for me to try.

I then was able to take each of the shoes outside for a test walk, and I ended up with a pair of Etonic shoes.

The comfort was immediately noticeable, and with several subsequent days of test wearing, the running shoes are by far the best I've worn.

Being a "tough-to-fit" customer, my evaluation and fitting took more than an hour, but it was worth the time. I ended up with a well-fitting, and most importantly, pair of comfortable shoes that addressed my chronic plantar pain.

—Oscar A. Hernandez

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Address: 819 Kapahulu Ave.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Telephone: 737-2422

Web site: www.runningroomhawaii.com

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Carolyn Ching may be walking the Honolulu Marathon this December, but she still wants to make sure she has the right shoe.

"My podiatrist diagnosed me with overpronation of both feet, and Morton's neuroma (an enlarged nerve that usually occurs between the third and fourth toe)," Ching said. "He recommended orthotics to be worn inside my shoe."

Ching, who is training with the Honolulu Marathon Clinic and works out at a health club, has been going to The Running Room on Kapahulu Avenue for the past two years for her shoes.

On a recent visit, Ching was being helped by Gaston Ly.

"Gaston was very knowledgeable about my condition," Ching said.

Ly is the assistant manager, having worked at the store for nearly eight years. A former runner for Roosevelt High's track and cross country teams, Ly has taken classes in kinesiology, sports medicine and weight training.

"This 'academic' knowledge helps most when assisting customers who come from their doctor's office with foot/leg related problems, which allows me to understand (our) customers' needs in order to help their doctor with their prescribed recovery process," Ly said.

Lerma Jean Nakashima, who has managed the store for 15 years, said the staff at The Running Room leaves all medical diagnosis and treatments to medical professionals. The staff, instead, works with customers to assist in their needs after being referred by their doctors.

"Doctors will recommend our store and let us know what type of shoe to select for their (patients)," Nakashima said. "At times we have doctors (provide) a list of shoes for their patients."

Nakashima said that she and her staff will quiz a customer to help him or her find the right pair of shoes.

"(Having a customer) stand will not help us determine what kind of foot type the customer has; therefore, we will have the customer walk for us," she said. "We'll ask a series of questions on injuries and what kind of mileage will the customer aim for."

The Running Room offers an extensive selection of running shoes, as well as walking shoes, trail-running shoes, running apparel, eyewear, and nutritional products.