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8 Favorite Sporting Goods Shops in Metro Phoenix

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Our sister blog Chow Bella recently rounded up Phoenix's 9 Best Desserts. We will try to avoid them, but we will (in all likelihood) fail miserably.

To make amends for our sinner's appetite, we exercise. Some of us run, and others play squash. No matter what we do, we need gear. Everybody knows national chains like Dick's or Sports Authority. But for those who want to maintain local cred or seek a more specialized selection of equipment, here are the best places to get sporting goods in metro Phoenix.

See also: TopGolf Entertainment Center to Open in Scottsdale in 2014

Valley Golf Center Arizona has golf courses galore, and three out of the four seasons of the year it's home to perfect golfing weather. However, summer just might be our favorite time to play, as tee times are dirt cheap. Avondale's Valley Golf Center has some of the top brands of clubs to help you get in the swing of things. Not sure which club will be best for you? Then try it out. With VGC's "try before you buy" policy, you can take any club and go hit a few balls on its their driving range. And if new clubs aren't helping your game, it might be time to sign up for one of VGC's golfing clinics.

Arizona Hiking Shack Mountains surround us, such is Valley life. Once you go outside the Phoenix metropolitan area, you'll find campgrounds all over the state and plenty of lakes for kayaking and fishing. Whatever it is you need for your next outdoor adventure, the Hiking Shack probably has it. On Thomas Road and 32nd Street, the Hiking Shack has the best hiking shoes and clothes to help you enjoy the beautiful mountain preserves. And sometimes we like to get away from civilization a little and live out of a tent for a few days. Or if we're feeling really daring we might pick up some nice rock climbing gear. The Hiking Shack has it all.

Big League Dugout Despite what many people believe, playing baseball and softball isn't just for kids. Sure, once you get a bit older, you may not be able to throw a zooming fastball, but it's likely you can still throw a mean soft-toss. Head to Big League Dugout to pick up a new mitt for your company softball game. Still, the store has every kind of baseball equipment imaginable for kids, adults, and everyone in between. Big League Dugout also offers hitting lessons with its in-store batting cage.

C&S Sporting Goods If you're feeling lazy and don't like the sound of schlepping to three specialty stores, then C&S is the place to go. From fitness equipment to hockey pads, all types of sporting goods are packed into a relatively small store located near Seventh Avenue and Bethany Home Road. C&S' sporting equipment selection includes a disc golf collection, which we have never seen in another store. The shop definitely gives you the feel of a local store and with great customer service.

Ski Pro Ride Shop Winter is coming. Maybe not for a couple of months, but it eventually will get here. And while Phoenix may not receive any snow, the mountains a few hundred miles north of Phoenix will be covered in the white stuff and perfect for some snow sports. Whether you're a skier, snowboarder, or just like to sit in the ski lodge and sip hot chocolate, the Ski Pro in Mesa or Phoenix will hook you up with the best snow gear. Even if you're not a big fan of snow, Ski Pro has other extreme sports gear such as wakeboards and waterskis.

Tennis Cabana There aren't many better feelings than smashing an ace on a tennis court. But in order to take out all your rage on a tennis ball, you need the right racquet. That's where Tennis Cabana comes in. Here you can buy the same racquets used by such pros as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Though the name says tennis, there's far more here than just tennis supplies. Tennis Cabana sells equipment for racquetball, squash, and lesser-known pickleball.

Landis Cyclery Maybe you've been watching the Tour de France and feel inspired to try biking yourself. Whether you're trying to get fit or you're a seasoned cyclist, any one of Landis' four Valley locations has a wide range of bikes and helmets. And Landis definitely knows bikes; the store has been selling two-wheelers for more than 100 years.

Sole Sports Running Zone Running is the classic choice for getting in shape. Whether you sweat it out on a treadmill or rack up miles for charity, the sole and quality of your running shoes are important. And with a name like Sole Sports, it's no wonder that this place has the best collection for your feet. Of course, Sole doesn't carry just running shoes. The store also has a wide selection of track cleats and volleyball shoes, along with such running apparel as shorts and hydration packs. The Tempe establishment is so focused on running that it's equipped with a video gait analysis program that can help improve your running form while properly assessing the kind of shoe your foot needs. That's what we call service.

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