Best Of 2005

BEST PLACE TO BUY SNEAKERS: Feet First

If finding a serviceable pair of athletic shoes is your goal, then any old mall store should do. But if more specialized stuff is needed, pitter-patter on down to Feet First. The store concentrates on running shoes, and stocks dozens of varieties, but here’s where Feet First separates itself from the corporate emporiums: They’ll special order items and hunt stuff down. True story: Earlier this year, a long-in-the-tooth basketball player needed a particular pair of Adidas shoes, the only style that felt good on his busted-up feet. He looked all over the Internet and came up empty. Then he called Feet First, and within hours someone on staff had located a couple pairs via an Adidas close-out. He bought them at a discount. Sneaker lovers, that’s the kind of tale that should make you feel good right down to your toes. 3400 W. Bay to Bay Blvd., Tampa, 813-835-1339; 3487 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-898-1130.