Runner’s Alley (104 Congress St. – Portsmouth, NH): If you need running shoes or a good pair of training sneakers, this is where you go. Period. There’s no place else. Best quality, good prices and by far the BEST customer service and (and most knowledgeable) staff I have ever met in a shoe/running/fitness store. They stand behind their products and care about their customers needs and fitness goals. They are about building a relationship with their customers and making them happy. It’s not all about the sale. And, they have the best selection of running shoes north of Boston. *FAVE: They are (so) patient and take their time to fit you in the right running shoe. They want you to get the “right” running shoe and fit, and to be 100% satisfied – same as you.
Kittery Trading Post (301 U.S. Rte. 1, Kittery, ME): I think this is a hidden gem for fitness gear on the Seacoast. They have EVERYTHING. I picked up my new swim goggles there and got a good deal. I also bought a lightweight North Face pullover that I use for cool fall runs. For a BIG store with many departments, and lots of inventory, their customer service is excellent. They have a surprisingly wide variety of sports & fitness gear. Hint – check out their website, www.kitterytradingpost.com, before heading over to check out what gear they have in stock, or for coupons. *FAVES: The swim goggle selection, variety and prices are very good; AND they also offer a wide selection of Timbuk2 bags and packs straight out of S.F. – these bags and shoulder packs are perfect for all your fitness (or work) gear, and they are rugged, well made and stylish too.
TREK Portsmouth (775 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth, NH):
There are a lot of bike shops around the Seacoast and I have been to and I have shopped them all, and this is the best! I am not a bike geek or guru by any stretch (my bike workouts are for tris or chilling only), but this store is THE place to go for bike accessories, service, fitness or training gear, endurance supplements (GU Energy Gel, Hammer, i.e.), you name it. This the Seacoast’s unofficial triathletes store and they sell some great technical training tops, shorts, bike gear and supplies too, and their prices are reasonable. Service is excellent. *FAVE: They service ALL bikes, even if it is not a TREK, and you did not by it there. Their service techs are helpful and do great work. [**BONUS – TREK Portsmouth’s cool blog on tumblr:trekportsmouth.tumblr.com]
lululemon athletica – Portsmouth Showroom (60 State St., Portsmouth, NH): Yes, this store is for both the fitness ladies and the guys too! The Portsmouth showroom, whose staff is a breath of fresh air and very involved in the local fitness community, is a new concept store for lululemon athletica. So far it’s been a big hit here on the Seacoast. Lululemon’s yoga/fitness gear/apparel is really second to none. I have a pair of their Response and Light as Air shorts and they are the BEST workout shorts I have ever owned. I wear them to bike, to swim, for Yoga, to run and to workout. They are comfortable and functional and last forever. Lululemon women’s fitness gear is on everyone’s wish list, and I know their running tops, hoodies and pants are THE gear to wear. The only catch? Their prices can be steep, but hey the gear lasts forever and you can wear it for any workout. I’m sold!
*FAVE: The staff is so welcoming, helpful, and they get it and live fit too! [**BONUSES – Every Sunday from 9:30am-10:30am, they host a complimentary boot camp in Prescott Park and a Run Club on Wednesday’s at 6:30pm too!; AND lululemon, of course, has a great blog:www.lululemon.com/community/blog]
The Kittery Outlets (U.S. Rte. 1, Kittery, ME): Still haven’t found the fall fitness gear that calls to you or fits your budget? Well, my friend just head up (or down) Rte. 1 in Kittery and, as the blimp message flashed to Tony in “Scarface”, THE (Fitness Gear) WORLD IS YOURS! The Kittery Outlets have a little bit of everything from running shoes to dri-fit workout apparel to running jackets to hoodies. It’s all there waiting for you. If you don’t mind doing a little “baagain” shopping and digging and maybe not getting the TLC customer service you would get elsewhere, you will hit the gear jackpot at the Outlets! A sampling of athletic gear/apparel/footwear (outlet) stores in Kittery include: Underarmour, Adidas, Champion, Columbia Sportswear, Nike Factory Store, PUMA, Reebok, and Saucony Factory Store. *FAVE: For my money and time, I have struck (workout/running) gear “gold” several times at the Underarmour store. That’s my ace of the outlets!
REI-Outlet (www.rei.com/outlet) ~ *BONUS Online Fave: Full disclosure – I am a proud REI Member. And, true story, I love going into REI stores and walking around and soaking it all in! REI completes me.. Now, for fall fitness gear goodies and dynamite deals, you need to check out REI’s online outlet, REI-Outlet. Believe me, you’ll want REI-Outlet in your (fitness) circle of trust too. Their slogan is “Deals, Discounts and Bargains on Outdoor Gear, Clothing and Equipment for Camping, Cycling, Fitness and More.” Need I say more? *FAVE: Check out their Closeout Fitness Deals for awesome closeout sales on Brooks, North Face and Patagonia fall running jackets, hoodies, and tights/pants. Hey, they also offer FREE standard shipping on orders of $50+! Sweet.
There you have it. Now you know where to go to gear up for fall on the Seacoast. Happy shopping for your new fitness gear. I hope some of my Seacoast Fitness “Faves” go-to stores become yours, and that you get a good deal, great service and maybe even a few baagains. Enjoy fall Back to Fitness time. Then gear up and get going! It’s the most wonderful (fitness) time of the year…
[If you have go-to gear hot spots around the Seacoast (of NH/ME), I’d love to hear from you and find out your favorites (“FAVES”) for great fitness gear shopping and deals. I am sure there are some other “hidden gems” for fabulous fitness gear on the Seacoast, so send them my way with your comments and suggestions. Be fit and have fun.]