Little’s Shoes came through for me with a great pair of walking shoes but after walking in the rain Sunday I knew that I would need to get a pair of waterproof shoes too. Someone recommended that I check out a store called REI down in the South Side. Unfortunately they were not able to donate a pair of shoes for free, but the salesman who helped me out, an incredibly awesome and generous man named Joe, really took care of me and helped me out. He spent about an hour on two separate nights helping me find a pair of light weight, durable, waterproof shoes/boots that I could use for the walk and then take with me to use out in the field when I begin my year of service with Americorps in September. He gave me a lot of advice about what to expect and what I should do to prepare. And if that wasn’t enough, he also but me (with his own money) a pair of hiking socks, which are extremely comfortable, something to help prevent blisters, and something to treat blisters if I do get one.
This was my first experience with REI and I can’t say enough about the company and especially the people that work there. Joe helped me find a great boot but unfortunately they did not have it in my size (but they did have the same shoe but in a lower cut in my size). He said that I was right on the cusp of the next half shoe size down so I tried on the smaller size and they felt pretty comfortable but were a little snug. Joe told me talk home, try them out, and if they still feel too snug bring them back and grab the lower cut pair in the bigger more comfortable size (They have a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied).He said my feet are going to swell from all the walking so it’s important that my toes aren’t being cramped up against my shoes.
So I tried them out this morning and they were too tight. I brought them back, the people working there were awesome again and I walked out with the lower cut pair and $5 (because they were $5 cheaper). I thought that was really something. I don’t know of any other store that would let you take home shoes, try them out, and then allow you to bring them back for a full refund. I thought that was pretty remarkable. They, more than any other store I have ever shopped at, really and truly care about the customer. I am extremely impressed by them and would highly recommend them to anyone and everyone looking for any sort of outdoor gear (they have it all). They do business the right way. Thank you REI and Joe.