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The Perfect Fit

For 10 years, Tortoise & Hare Sports has been fostering community through running

Small, independent running stores have always played an important role in the sport. But more than just part of the athletic community, they’re the heart and soul of their surrounding neighborhoods. Not only do they champion runners, but they also assist local medical professionals, support schools and coordinate races and training events.

These were all important to Rebecca and Nathan Hohenstein when they opened Tortoise & Hare Sports (TortoiseandHareSports.com) more than 10 years ago in the Village Shops at Arrowhead. As the first locally owned running store in the West Valley, the bright, open space is dedicated to helping folks of all ages and abilities find the best shoe for their needs and bringing area residents together to share their passion for running.

Educating the Community

“Our motto is to encourage, educate and celebrate a healthy lifestyle while embracing your pace,” Rebecca says.

The Hohensteins and their team put their motto into action by following three core values:

  • service
  • teamwork
  • community.

Why Buy Local

Shopping for sneakers at a dedicated running store can be scary for most people. “I can empathize with customers who come here to get fitted for shoes for the first time. It can be intimidating,” agrees Rebecca.

That factor is why many people purchase shoes online or at large chain stores.

“Sure, they can anonymously pick out any shoes they want,” she continues, “and they can get good footwear, but it probably won’t be the right footwear for them.”

Finding the Perfect Fit

At Tortoise & Hare, friendly, knowledgeable team members help customers of all ages and mobility levels find the perfect shoe. On any given day, the floor buzzes with college-age athletes looking for running shoes that will give them an edge on the track, families in search of sneakers that will take them from the sidewalk to the hiking trails, and elderly medical patients who are simply looking for something comfortable to ease their foot pain.

“We work with so many different types of clients,” Rebecca says.

Local podiatrists, physical therapists and chiropractors frequently refer patients to the store for personalized care, including a five-point fit process determining the correct shoe for each customer.

“We want to make sure that every time someone comes in, they feel as though they’re getting the best service they’ve experienced anywhere,” Rebecca notes.

Community Running Events

In addition to supplying folks with the proper shoes and gear, Tortoise & Hare Sports sponsors various activities designed to get customers up and moving—and to bring community members together.

The store’s calendar of events is chock-full of activities. There are weekly Sunday Rundays, free yoga classes and Thursday morning walks/runs around the Arrowhead Loop. You'll also notice larger monthly events, including the Pizza & Pint Run on the last Thursday of each month, which ends with pizza and refreshments, and the Donut Run on second Saturdays, which finishes with donuts and coffee from a local bakery.

“It’s powerful when customers tell us how we changed their lives by encouraging them to come to an event,” Rebecca says. “They flourish in a really positive way just through physical movement.”

Giving Back to the Community

Giving back to the community that has supported them for the past decade is a priority for the Hohensteins. They frequently donate shoes to local nonprofits, including The Hope Effect, a Peoria-based charity that provides family-based solutions for orphan care; Social Spin Laundromat, which offers free laundry services, meals and supplies to families in need; St. Vincent de Paul; and area shelters.  

The store also puts on several annual fundraising runs, including the Ice Cream Run in May, Monster Mash & Dash in October, and Holiday Lights Run in December. Proceeds from these popular events are used to buy shoes for students in Title 1 schools throughout Glendale and the West Valley.

And in 2022, the store started Great Kicks Kids. Through this program, teachers and coaches receive gift cards they can give to students in need. The kids bring the cards to the store, are fitted for free shoes, and are given socks and insoles if necessary.   

With an emphasis on providing great shoes and working together to celebrate everyone in the West Valley, it’s no wonder the store was honored as one of the Top 50 Running Stores in America for 2022 by the organization that produces The Running Event trade show.

“There are a lot of different ways that you can serve people,” Rebecca explains. “We get to do so not just by helping them get into good shoes but also by giving back. It’s good for the community, and it’s good for your heart. We love the area we live in, and we feel really honored and blessed that we have the ability to do all the things we do.”

Support Local

You can stop by Tortoise & Hare Sports, located on the outer loop at Arrowhead Towne Center at 17570 N 75th Ave #605 in Glendale, to check out the shoes and gear they have in stock. 

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