Good Sports

September 2022 View more

Dick Pond Athletics 
This running specialty store with three locations in the west burbs has humble beginnings. “[Founder Dick Pond] started out small, just taking shoes in his car to the local high schools and selling the track and cross-country and wrestling athletes shoes at good prices,” says Krista DelRisco, who manages the Lisle store. The stores today are significantly more high-tech. “We do a 3D foot scan and a moving-gait analysis to assess what type of support you need in order to find the right shoe that works best for you,” DelRisco says.Besides athletic shoes (Hoka and Saucony are customer faves), the stores carry everything from wrestling gear and massage tools to GPS watches and moisture-wicking socks. 2275 Maple Ave. (Lisle),  303 N. 2nd St. (St. Charles), and 26W515 St. Charles Road (Carol Stream)

Good to know: Every October, Dick Pond Athletics sponsors and provides pacers for the Naperville Half Marathon. Each store location also hosts free group runs on different days of the week. 

Kirhofer’s Sports
Doug Kirhofer started this sporting-goods biz back in 1984 on Lake Street in Aurora and moved to the current location on the city’s west side in 1996. Now owned by Sean Lindo, the store stocks varsity jackets and team spirit gear for local high schools as well as an array of baseball gear, from helmets to bats. A main focus of the business is working with local schools, leagues, and clubs to supply uniforms and spirit wear for sports teams of all kinds. Need embroidered or heat-pressed names or numbers on your gear? Kirhofer’s can tackle that on goods purchased from the store or elsewhere. 2112 W. Galena Blvd. 

Good to know: The shop also restrings baseball gloves. “When somebody has a glove with a string snapped or loose, we can usually turn it around pretty quickly,” says operations employee Joe Healy.

Naperville Running Company
This local chain, with locations in downtown and south Naperville and downtown Wheaton, is a childhood dream come true for owner Kris Hartner. “When he was 10 years old, he made a business card for a running store in one of his classes,” says Marisa Hird, sales manager. Despite the name, a lot of customers aren’t runners, Hird says, but rather folks looking for “comfortable shoes that make their feet feel good—whether they’re running or walking, or they’re a nurse and always standing on their feet, or a teacher and they’re up and down all day.” In addition to offering a personalized fitting process using high-speed video, the stores carry an array of major footwear brands and technical apparel from labels such as Vuori, Nike, and Under Armour, plus gear such as handheld water bottles. They also do sports bra fittings and host classes, fun runs, and marathon-training groups. 34 W. Jefferson Ave. and 3416 S. Rte.(Naperville) and 102 W. Front St. (Wheaton)

Good to know: NRC’s sibling store, the Annex (20 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville), is a pop-up shop featuring specific rotating brands, like Swiss running shoe On through September and, after that, Oofos recovery sandals through year end.

Photos courtesy of Dick Pond Athletics, Kirhofer’s Sports, and Naperville Running Company