When women exercise, they want their workout clothes to be utilitarian and comfortable, and they want them to look good, too. Areté Athletic, Bloomington’s new store for active women, strives to meet this demand for fitness fashion that is practical and attractive.

An offshoot of the Indiana Running Company store on the downtown Square, Areté Athletic is located in the Renwick Village Center, 1567 S. Piazza Dr. In February, the store had a dual grand opening with its neighbor, Bloomington Body Bar fitness studio.

“We had about two hundred people here for the grand opening,” says Tom Chorny, Areté Athletic manager. “That Bloomington Body Bar was already here helped us to decide on this location. Our businesses really complement each other.

“The success of the opening has encouraged us to have more events. We already have group runs that start from Areté on Mondays and the downtown store on Thursdays. Generally, the group runs attract about twenty-five to thirty runners. Eventually we will offer natural running-form clinics and possibly nutrition and weight-management sessions.”

Although Areté Athletic is heavily weighted toward women’s performance and lifestyle footwear, clothing, and accessories, they do carry some merchandise for men. Among the name brands the store stocks are Nike, Moving Comfort, Brooks, Adidas, Shakti, Zoot, Saucony, New Balance, and Newton. The store also carries exercise accessories such as yoga mats, safety lights and reflectors, GPS watches, earphones, belts to hold essentials while working out, and energy bars.

The main difference between Areté Athletic and the downtown store is that Areté focuses on women’s attire and minimal-running footwear. “The running shoe industry is moving toward a more natural fit for shoes—shoes that are made more the way you are and allow your foot to move freely,” explains Chorny. “We are also the only specialty running store within forty-five miles that offers gait analysis. We just supplied the Ball State [University] track team with shoes.”