Unlike ordinary clothes, people expect their athletic wear to be particularly durable and high quality. As such, a store selling running shoes or sports clothes must have personnel that can prove themselves to be experts about how well something will work and how long a product will last. For example, if someone with flat feet comes into the store, then a worker there must be able to provide answers about adequate running shoes for such a person.
This is the main challenge of selling athletic wear, but the other difficulty is how to present the products in a way consistent with the experienced professionals who work for the store selling items based upon their knowhow. A business can't get away with the same layout and mannequin design for elegant ballroom gowns as it can for rugged sporting jackets. Instead of regular displays, consider buying athletic mannequins. These will show the gear in motion and give people a sense of how well the product responds to being in the flexed pose of someone running or hiking. Additionally, put shoes on appropriately designed displays – such as acrylic shoe risers – that will look outdoorsy while still fully demonstrating the appearance of the product. Slat walls are an excellent way for displaying shoes because one shoe can be shown on the wall while the other shoe is kept in the backroom. People will then be forced into asking someone for help when they want to try on a pair of shoes, and this gives sales personnel the opportunity to talk to customers and ask about what they want in a certain product.
Using props works for hiking equipment. For example, when designing a proper display window, scattering sand and rocks to simulate rugged terrain could give people an idea of how the shoes or the jackets would fare in such a climate. In the winter, particularly, people should create picture windows that are "cold looking" with plenty of fake snow and stormy backdrops. The jackets being sold should in contrast appear extremely warm and comfortable, so choose heavily padded materials. In other words, when making displays, go for the items that look the best, rather than the ones that are the best. If someone asks, then tell them the difference, but most people will pass the windows without knowing any better.