Eastbay was founded in 1980 when high-school runners, coaches, and lifelong friends Art Juedes and Rick Gering found themselves unsatisfied with the selection of running shoes available for athletes around their Wausau, Wisconsin, hometown. The pair knew that for small town athletes, getting the right running shoes usually meant traveling long distances. Their idea? Bring the shoes directly to the athletes. With little more than $7,000 worth of running shoes and a dream, the pair took to the road in sweats and t-shirts to set up shoe clinics around Central Wisconsin. At each stop, they educated athletes and coaches on the benefits of the shoes and provided descriptive price lists. The two of them knew when athletes look good, they play even better, so, for almost two decades, they gave coaches the opportunity to supply their teams with the latest styles. Like any local business, there were risks and hard times, but their hard work and dedication laid the foundation for Eastbay.
What began as a dream between two friends has become something much greater than either of them imagined when they first began. As the company grew, its territory increased and Eastbay began selling more than just running shoes, adding more sports to its assortment. The letter became a brochure, the brochure became a catalog, and the informational website became an active ecommerce site in 1998. Eastbay continued to grow and evolve, but to make the jump to the next level, it needed help. That’s why, in 1997, Eastbay joined the Foot Locker, Inc. family, giving Eastbay access to a wider range of the market and an even larger selection of gear. And the growing still hasn’t stopped.