The sun is getting brighter and the sky is getting bluer, which can only mean one thing – it’s time to dust off my sneakers and get active again.
With so many beautiful beaches, parks and trails in and around our city, picking up a new sport or outdoor activity couldn’t be much easier for Vancouverites. We can play volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, or make use of a plethora of picturesque spots for biking, hiking, or rock climbing. And so, after a less-than-active winter season, I felt quite ready to take the plunge and start doing some regular running.
To make sure I was properly equipped for the sporty season ahead, I took a stroll down to the brand new downtown Sport Chek location to prep and search for gear.
Located at Robson and Howe (where Chapters used to be), the tech-savvy store is a modern athlete’s wonderland. It’s full of interactive digital elements such as motion-activated screens, ability-testing devices, and electronic product descriptions.
I learned that I could get my gait analyzed to find the perfect running shoe (a pretty nifty feature), shop on eCommerce touch screens, or make my own custom jersey to take home. And just to fully convince us that we’re living in the future, the store even uses holograms to showcase some of their products.
I also checked out their community wall which displayed content that was specific to the surrounding community. This included social media posts about Vancouver athletics, employee bios, and an activity calendar detailing “local active lifestyle events and venues”.
I particularly liked the fact that I could visit the training club and get advice from professional Sport Chek coaches. The staff at the club are experienced specialists in their field, and they’re quite open to passing along some sport-based wisdom.
There’s also a service shop, skate sharpener, automated racquet stringer, and snowsports tuning machine for touching up equipment. Like the rest of the store’s employees, the equipment technicians were pretty knowledgeable. I like to play some tennis when I can, and had a good chat with one technician about the benefits of different string tensions for tennis racquets.
I took a break from browsing to hang out in the community lounge area and have a look at the 3D model rendering of Vancouver’s cityscape. If I had kids with me (not this time!), they would have been able to enjoy “a digitally projected experience centered on sport experiences” specifically designed for youth. Good stuff.
The goal is to get geared up for a new sport before you leave the store, and truly, everything you need is here – from sticks to socks to bikes. They stock top brands like Nike, UnderArmour, North Face, Adidas and more. And for the classic Canadian, there are entire departments dedicated to hockey and cycling (where’s my Dad?)
Bottom line – I got what I needed. A new pair of New Balance X20 runners and some UnderArmour jogging pants. I’d recommend dropping by the new store to get your questions answered, get a bit more familiar with Vancouver’s athletic community, and pick up the gear you’ll need to get active in a new way this summer.