Running Insight 3.1.22

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WHAT DO RETAILERS WEAR ON THEIR RUNS?: PAGE 14

THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM

MARCH 16, 2020 MARCH 1, 2022

FASTER FASHION

Running apparel keeps moving forward with style, technology and more than a little bit of attitude.

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Running Fashion

DRESS 4 SUCCESS Six performance run fashion trends on the horizon to help retailers keep on-trend and in style in 2022. By Daniel P. Smith

O

nce upon a time, running footwear and apparel focused almost exclusively on utility. If product boasted a little design pizzazz, great, but the importance of performance characteristics far outpaced running gear’s aesthetic appeal. Many run shops, in fact, implored customers to resist purchasing their running shoes based on color. Those days, of course, evaporated long ago. Fashion and design now hold an important place in the run specialty world, fueled as much by consumer interest as manufacturers’ surging desire to release product that both reflects existing fashion sensibilities and stands out on Instagram — or at least on the shoe wall. Inspired by the runway, street fashion, luxury brands, travel, textile innovations and even seemingly distant industries such as automotive, many run specialty brands are interpreting fashion for the performance run market through colors, graphics, proportions and layering. At the same time, consumers are seemingly handing brands more creative license than ever before. “The running demographic has expanded

Cover Photo: Anita. Photo this page: Craft

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Dress 4 Success (continued)

Brooks (left photo) now designs for an expanded running demographic that has blurred the lines between fashion and performance. Meanwhile, Saucony has a focus on elevated, premium performance product featuring a more understated aesthetic and cleaner finishing as well as fewer parts and pieces.

and the lines between fashion and performance continue blurring,” says Noelle Webster, a member of the footwear design team at Brooks who helps craft the looks of the brand’s in-line footwear models as well as its limited-edition SMU releases. “People see fashion as an opportunity to show their personality and the wide interests they have, which has freed up running products to have more personality.” Much as some run shops might wish to evade this swelling reality and the inevitable 4

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purchasing and customer service conundrums it sometimes brings, an understanding of fashion trends can serve a run shop well. With the help of product leaders representing five different brands, Running Insight identifies six running footwear and apparel fashion trends expected to accelerate throughout 2022 and into 2023.

1. TRAIL LANDS ON THE ROADS

A surge in trail running and outdoor exploration amid the

pandemic will manifest itself in running fashion for the masses. “Trail inspiration and aspiration in the big city,” Under Armour director of run and basketball apparel Gaby Rodriguez calls it. Muted, earthy tones from greens and blues to even oranges and reds are the obvious development, but the trail-inspired gear transcends color. Expect to see the more durable, gritty fabrics common in trail apparel – think ripstop or water-repellent materials – weave into traditional running apparel as well. And while these trail-inspired

items might incorporate bright colors such as neons, the vibrant touches will often exist as callouts – using color to highlight a zipper or pocket, for instance – to signify sport performance and/or denote the purpose of a garment to the end user, Rodriguez says.

2. LESS IS MORE

Simplicity, albeit sophisticated and high quality, will become more and more apparent in performance run fashion, various insiders agree. Saucony VP–global product

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Dress 4 Success (continued) Brian Moore predicts a focus on elevated, premium performance product featuring a more understated aesthetic and cleaner finishing as well as fewer parts and pieces. “You don’t have to go all Power Rangers with it,” Moore says. And rather than the formf it t i ng a nd body-huggi ng apparel of recent years, Thommy Bäcklin, product manager of Run and XC at Craft, anticipates rising interest in fluid, airy fabrics. This will include performance-oriented apparel using fine, ultra-thin threads, micro holes, engineered ventilation and styling that allows air space between the body and garment to mimic the feeling of running naked.

for even more creative, perhaps even outlandish and quirky, footwear design. Brooks’ Webster foresees heightened interest in bolder print and pattern play on footwear for both genders, which includes tactile moments with new technology and weaving print and pattern play onto the midsole. “The creative canvas doesn’t end at the upper,” Webster reminds, noting that consumer sentiment from Brooks’ social media channels shows a hearty appetite for eye-catching and distinctive footwear designs.

6. TYING IN THE ENVIRONMENT

3. Y2K FASHION MAKES A RETURN

Given that fashion trends typically circle back every 25 years or so, elements of late ’90s and early 2000s styles are already weaving into mainstream fashion and it will almost certainly lead to reinterpretation for performance running apparel. Think pink, metallics, bedazzling and, especially, some looser fits like wider bottoms. “People want to get away from anything that feels suffocating or constraining,” says Meliha Avdic, senior color and concept designer at Brooks.

4. COLOR BLOCKING

Fully monochromatic shoes and big blockings of color on footwear are not a new trend in the performance run category, but it is a footwear trend many see accelerating in the coming seasons. In particular, there is likely to be added emphasis 6

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Muted, earthy tones from greens and blues are obvious in Under Armour’s technical apparel, much of it trail-inspired as runners go off the roads.

on uplifting, vibrant colors in the post-pandemic world, represented most notably in “faster” footwear product like the super shoes. “People are wearing these in races and on special occasions

and want to wear shoes that make a statement,” Saucony’s Moore says.

5. MORE PRINT AND PATTERN PLAY

Run retailers need to get ready

Inspired by colors and patterns found along the Pacific coastline, the rabbit design team expects to use saturated ea r th tones such as forest g r e en s a nd m a r i ne blues mixed with rich sunset colors. Embracing these grounded color s, r abbit co -fou nder Monica DeVreese says, feels optimistic and restorative. B e yo n d c o l o r s, Un d e r Armour’s Rodriguez expects to see more organic prints inspired by nature. “That doesn’t necessarily mean a cheetah or tiger print. It could be the visual you might see on a topographic map,” Rodriguez says. And, of course, a positive environmental story helps. Gear using recycled materials or constructed with reducing waste in mind adds another layer of connection to the product beyond its function and fashion elements. “We love that and our consumers love that, too,” Brooks’ Webster says. n © 2022 Diversified Communications


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Running Fashion

DRESSED TO SELL

Four tips for selling apparel at run specialty in a (hopefully) post-COVID world. / By Holly Wiese, 3 Dots Design

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e all know that apparel can be a challenging category to sell, even without COVID hanging in the shadows. With all of the extra precautions taken over the past months, it became even harder for this category to get the attention it deserves. With customers staying more focused during their shopping time and browsing less, how do you get this category to move out the door? Well there’s some good news that came along with COVID this year for retailers, specifically how it applies to the type of athletic, running and lifestyle apparel most stores are selling in our channel. There’s a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for feeling good, looking good and getting out in the world again that’s given retail a rebound in 2022 much quicker than expected. It seems as though many people have finally hit a breaking point on wearing the same thing every day for their Zoom calls and are ready to get some new comfy clothes both for those at- home meetings as well as to work out more as they continue to try and burn off their extra pounds that so many folks have gained. What better place to spiff up their closet than in your store? So now we’re starting to see some excited consumers anxious to come back and support their local retailers, but the big question remains: Are you ready for them? And what kinds of small (or large) changes can you make in your space to entice them to focus more on the apparel you’ve got to offer? There are many simple things that can act as silent salespeople for your clothing. Let’s take a look at a few.

Do you have them in your windows to catch customer’s eyes as they drive or walk up? Place them in the front entry way to greet them in the landing zone. Use torso forms on shelves throughout your store and don’t forget how well they can sell accessories, too. Every single full body or torso form should have shoes, socks, hats, hydration packs and hand-held water bottles

in addition to proper clothing layers for the season. Don’t forget about reflective vests and packs or waist belts as well. Legs forms often get overlooked, but they show fitted tights and capris better than anything. A floppy pair of tights dangling loosely on a hanger doesn’t get the customer excited, but seeing them on a fit pair of legs with a coordinating pair of socks and shoes

A leg up: A fine example of three women’s leg forms showing off tights and capris.

1. MANNEQUINS There is no single better investment to sell athletic apparel than mannequins. 8

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Dressed To Sell (continued)

Leg forms can be extremely effective in showing and selling men’s lifestyle shorts.

Simple signage can call out some important features on a run bra.

will catch their eye and bring that product to life. Whenever possible, displaying mannequins or leg and torso forms in multiples of two or three creates an even larger impact than one.

store is so small, it’s pretty hard to get lost in it!” But keep in mind, it’s not about getting lost, it’s just as much about planting silent seeds in your customer’s heads as they glance around the space or explore a little. Although the bigger categories such as footwear and socks may be more obvious, it’s very possible many customers have never even noticed all of the compression socks and tights you may have or the assortment of hydration packs because they’ve never bothered to check out the backside of a rack. By placing a few key signs throughout the retail f loor space, it catches the attention of your shoppers and leads them around to impulse items they

2. CROSS MERCHANDISE Although the bulk of your apparel should be well mercha nd ise d toget her i n a n impossible-to-miss location, don’t be afraid to cross merchandise and double merchandise product whenever possible. For example, you might have a great new trail running display featured in your front entryway on full body mannequins for a teaser of what is on full display in your apparel section. But then 10

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don’t forget to bring a hint of that same collection over in or near footwear where the trail shows are displayed. If space allows, the more you can spread out your apparel throughout the space, the better. Make it impossible for your customers to miss the hot new clothing wherever they are in the store. Many of our store designs incorporate apparel displays integrated in to the footwear area for this very reason. Socks and other soft goods accessories should absolutely be displayed in two or three areas throughout your spaces. 3. SIGNAGE Many store owners scoff at signage, saying things like, “My

may not even be aware that you carried. I love the quick hit feature signs that can really call out key technical or comfort points on apparel, especially outwear or sports bras, that may otherwise go unnoticed. Take some time to have a professional graphic designer create a cohesive collection of product feature signs to place near more technical or higher end collections. Adding QR codes to tech signage is a great way to pull your customers over to your website for more technical information and also keeps COVID-sensitive customers feeling more comfortable if they want to step away from people to do some more research while shopping. © 2022 Diversified Communications


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Dressed To Sell (continued)

A front entry display featuring full body mannequins and a nesting table with easy-to-grab pieces helps spread the apparel presentation.

A great example of key feature signage that also includes a QR code for more product info and customer engagement.

Fashion on display: Two women’s leg forms successfully and silently selling tights and capris at Gold Country Run + Sport.

4. QUICK OUTFIT MERCHANDISING Nobody ever complains of having too much time on their hands — it just doesn’t happen. So do your customers a favor and take the work out of building outfits with your apparel. Besides creating unexpected outfits on your mannequins to inspire your shoppers, you can also do this on nesting tables, magnetic wall displays or by creating feature displays in the front of your apparel section that are loaded with only pre-set outfits from head to toe. If you’re really maintaining your online presence well, take the time to feature a new outfit on the home page that correlates with the presentation your customers see as soon as they enter your store. They’ll start to make these connections and after browsing late night online,

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they may be ready to the pull the trigger on that outfit when they come in for shoes the following week and are greeted by the same cute outfit that caught their eye on your website. One more thing: Stock less apparel on the floor, as sifting through all that stock is no longer what shoppers are up for. Put less on display and refill more frequently. Customers want it quick, easy and spoon fed to them, so start offering what they’re after and watch your apparel start selling itself more than ever. n Holly Wiese has more than 30 years experience in visual merchandising and retail design. She founded 3 Dots Design in 2009 and works primarily in the specialty run, bike and outdoor channels. She can be reached at holly@3dotsdesign.com © 2022 Diversified Communications


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Running Fashion

LOOKING

GOOD

What running retailers are wearing on the run

W

hat better way to find out what’s resonating in the run specialty marketplace than going directly to those who peddle, test and use the products themselves. Running Insight senior writer Danny Smith connected with four running store leaders from across the U.S. and asked a single, straightforward question: When you head out for your favorite run these days on the road or trail, what clothes are you wearing and what gear are you grabbing before heading out the door?

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Steve Moore, Owner, Run Moore, Westminster, MD “Of the six runs I’ll do in a week, four are on a trail. Hashawa [Environmental Center] is a local county park and one of my regular runs. I go there in the mornings after dropping my kids off at school. We do store group runs there, too.”

Junk Winter Neck Gaiter “This has eliminated hats for me in the winter. I tuck it into the back of my baselayer so no cold air gets in and I’m good to go.”

goodr Iced by Yetis sunglasses “I always wear shades. In the winter, they keep my eyes from watering from the cold. Even on overcast days, I wear them for a little wind protection.” Under Armour Mock Turtleneck “This top is at least 10 years old and still the best in the game.”

Brooks Fusion Hybrid Jacket “Thumbholes. So simple yet so valuable.”

FlipBelt Zipper “I’m dealing with a back issue and this is an in-case-of-emergency item that allows me to carry my phone.” Nathan Neutron Fire RX Runners’ Headlamp “I get visibility by turning the headlamp into a ‘waistlamp.’”

Injinji Men’s Liner + Runner Mini-Crew Socks “I have runner feet after all these years, but I swear I can be a foot model now with these Injinji socks protecting each toe.”

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Craft Hybrid Weather Glove “This is a glove/mitten combo. On the coldest days, I’ll wear a light pair of gloves under these and then put a hand warmer packet in between the gloves.” Brooks Spartan Pant “We had some brutal days this past winter that brought an end to my 25-year streak of running in shorts. I’m spoiling myself with pants now and my whole world has turned upside down.”

Altra Lone Peak 6 “I like Altras on the trail for balance and whether I’m doing four miles or 16 miles, the Lone Peaks work.”

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Dom Chevalier, Co-manager, Healdsburg Running Company, Healdsburg, CA Chevalier, who has worked at the Healdsburg Running Company since 2017, is currently training for her first 100-mile run (Santa Monica Mountains 100). As much as possible, she takes advantage of the great running trails surrounding Healdsburg, including Shiloh Regional Park.

Boco Gear Technical Trucker Hat “We get a lot of hot days here and this hat is great for keeping cool.”

Buff Neckwear “A must throughout the year. In the winter, I’ll use a Merino one for warmth. On hot days, I’ll use a CoolNet UV one and put ice in the back of it to stay cool.”

Vuori Energy Tank “It’s the softest material I’ve ever come across, while being cute and trendy, too.”

Oiselle Roga Short “Oiselle is a brand made by women for women and you can tell that’s the case with these great-fitting shorts.”

Garmin fenix 6 Pro Solar “100 miles is a long way, so I need a watch to last out there.”

Sunski Sunglasses “These are eco-friendly glasses made from recycled plastics. They’re also made for outdoor sports, so they don’t fog up, either.”

Camelbak Hydration Vest “The ideal pack for my long runs when I have to carry hydration and nutrition on the trail.” Feetures Elite Max Cushion No Show Tab Socks “I like the light compression in the arch, but more than anything I like that I’ve never blistered once wearing Feetures.”

The North Face Flight VECTIV “From the trails to the road, I can do everything in this shoe.”

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Ian Gonzalez, Owner, Last Lap Cornerstore, Chicago, IL Gonzalez, owner of the Last Lap Cornerstore in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, is also the co-founder of the 7onSundays Run Crew. As the name suggests, the group meets every Sunday at 7:00 a.m., even when Mother Nature’s wrath descends upon the Windy City.

Nike Therma-Fit ADV Long-Sleeve Running Hoodie “Running in Chicago during the winter, you have to keep your face warm.”

7onSundays Run Crew Beanie “7onSundays has grown into a beautiful micro-community and I gotta rep the crew when I’m out on a run.”

Nike Aeroloft Vest “I wanted this piece for years, but couldn’t even afford it when I was working at the Nike store. Turns out, I just had to open my own store to get my hands on one and it’s been worth it.”

Last Lap Running Gloves “Dropped these in the store last year and they’re awesome. Block the wind and I can still touch my smartphone.”

Whoop “This is with me every day, so I can monitor the strain I’m putting on my body.”

Nike Therma-FIT ADV Run Division Tights “I’ve fallen in love with tights and the soft inside material against my skin in these tights is perfect.” Nike Trail Running Crew Socks “This sock is a bit funky looking with the heel tab, but it hugs my foot and ankle perfectly.” Nike Pegasus Trail 3 Gore-Tex “I know it’s built for the trail and I’m on the roads, but it’s the perfect option for the snow and slush winter brings to Chicago.”

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© 2022 Diversified Communications


Karen Roberts, Owner, Get Fit, Amarillo, TX Roberts opened Get Fit in 2009. A dedicated ultra runner, Roberts regularly trains on the rolling country roads near her West Texas home.

Brooks Tempo Hat “Adjustable, breathable and I’ve got the Get Fit logo on it.” Tifosi Swank Sunglasses “Though an aviator frame, the Swank is lightweight and cuts down on glare.” rabbit EZ tee perf ICE Long-Sleeve Top “Lightweight and breathable while still giving me coverage on cooler days.” New Balance Run Free Sports Bra “I love that this has modesty pads, doesn’t chafe and holds up wash after wash without losing its shape.” On Weather Jacket “Wind can be fierce in West Texas. I put this on and I’m good to go.” TURTLe-FLIP Mittens “I found these at The Running Event in 2021 and we brought them into the store. My hands don’t tolerate the cold and they keep my hands comfy and cozy.” Lululemon Speed Up High-Rise Lined Short 4” “The wide waistband is comfy and doesn’t ride up while the 4-inch inseam offers just the right amount of coverage.” Coros Vertix 2 GPS Adventure Watch “I’m a bit egotistical and want to show I ran 100 miles, so I need the long battery life.”

Balega Blister Resist No Show Socks “The comfort level: amazing!” New Balance Beacon v3 “It’s crazy because it’s a neutral shoe, but the Beacon, combined with a Tread and Butter insole, really helps with my plantar. From speedwork to a long run, this shoe can handle anything I throw at it.”

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© 2022 Diversified Communications


Running Fashion

Apparel’s Next Level Demographic and work trends have spurred growth in more casual running apparel. / By Dirk Sorenson, The NPD Group

T

he running industry has experienced dramatic changes each year since the pandemic began — and those changes bode well for increased interest in running apparel for the more casual consumer. In 2021, revenue from performance running footwear sales in the U.S. was 19 percent greater than 2019, according to Retail Tracking Service data from The NPD Group. While some of this growth can be attributed to upward price pressure, unit sales have shown a positive trend in the past year,

increasing by 10 percent year-over-year, and reversing a softening of unit sales that occurred within certain retail channels in 2020, when the pandemic significantly reduced brick-and-mortar store traffic. A combination of behavioral factors indicates that the consumer desire to engage in running as an activity has steadily grown since the onset of the pandemic. Consumers have been purchasing running shoes and apparel to enable healthy, outdoor activity that supports their revamped lifestyles. Three overarching factors are the driving

forces behind why the running industry has landed where it is today. • Since the onset of the pandemic, consumers have sought safe and socially distant activities that nevertheless provide some level of interaction with others. • Second, the pandemic has changed the nature of work to be more home-based and, as a result, fashion and function are now intersecting in the footwear and apparel being sold to the runner. • Finally, consumers are investing in a more holistic, healthy lifestyle that not

Retailers need to realize that apparel preferences have shifted to more casual, “run-ready,” available-for-use-anytime styles and fabrications. Photo by Ev on Unsplash

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Apparel’s Next Level (continued) has dramatic implications on wardrobe. In effect, 20 percent of consumers who previously worked in an office setting have a different context with which to view their wardrobe choices.

Chances are that the runners of 2022 are newer to the activity and have changed their health and wellness goals to support a better overall lifestyle.

only includes exercise, but also better-quality rest and a worklife balance. Understanding each of these influences provides opportunities to reach running consumers in impactful ways. Everyone Is More Active Since March 2020, the popularity of sport activities that are socially distant, yet provide some degree of connection to others, has spurred unprecedented revenue growth in equipment sales for golf, which is up 67 percent in 2021 versus 2019, followed by racquet sports (up 59 percent) and cycling (up 45 percent). More over, much of t he sales gains for these categories stemmed from products designed and merchandised for newer entrants. This trend also translates to the running market, which likely experienced its level of growth because of newer entrants joining the activity. 22

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NPD’s consumer data indicates that the composition of the performance running shoe market is still roughly the same as it was before the pandemic, with men making up 52 percent of the wearers; however, there has been a demographic shift to an older wearer. Consumers between the ages of 45 and 54 have shown the highest marketshare gains, growing two points in 2021, versus 2019. On the other hand, consumers ages 18 to 34 lost four points of share during the same period. We now know that today’s emerging running shoe buyer is older, likely newer to purchasing performance running shoes and is considering purchasing through the lens of a new workplace reality. Using a range of census data and other resources that track credit card use, NPD estimates that anywhere between 12 and 28 million U.S. workers are now working from home. This shift

The Impact on Apparel Sales The work-from-home shift is accelerating the trend of having apparel that is more comfortable, “run- ready” and available for any time use. According to an NPD survey fielded in January 2022, 43 percent of consumers do not miss getting dressed up for work or special occasions — a 10-point increase since the same question was asked in September 2020. This indicates that wardrobes moving to a more casual style could be a permanent shift. “Sweatshirt” is an activewear category that has greatly benefitted from the consumer’s need for a versatile piece of apparel. This category has demonstrated a solid sales improvement throughout the pandemic and is poised to continue growing. Contrast this trend with the technical outerwear segment, which has struggled throughout the pandemic and is currently challenged to regain share because consumers are buying fewer technical pieces designed only for the outdoors, in favor of apparel that can be worn in both indoor and outdoor environments. The growth in sweatshirt sales, at the expense of technical outerwear, underscores the market switch to products that deliver on utility and comfort. A Quest for Wellness As a final layer, consumer sentiment towards a holistic view of health and fitness will create openings for running, as a

healthy physical activity, as well as opportunities for the industry to improve its merchandising and assortments. Based on a December 2021 survey NPD fielded in conjunction with CivicScience on health and wellness desires, there is a clear and ongoing interest in pursuing health and fitness activities — but at the same time, consumers are diversifying their wellness goals to include improving sleep and work/life balance. While diet and exercise still topped the list of planned health and wellness priorities for 2022, this more balanced approach to health and wellness to include more areas relevant to both mental and physical health is of value to the running industry. Instead of advertisements that feature an athlete running though the rain in breathable technical apparel, the industry might consider featuring that same athlete down for some R&R in a piece of branded apparel. The value of comfort is a critical messaging and design feature for today’s running consumer. Chances are good that the runner of 2022 is newer to the activity, has a different work- and home-life structure compared to two years ago that has transformed daily routines from dressing to exercising and has changed health and wellness goals to support an overall better quality of life. For the running industry, these shifts lend themselves to pockets of growth and opportunity, which is all the more reason for brands and retailers to take consumer engagement and merchandising to the next level. n © 2022 Diversified Communications


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Running Fashion

Owning The Look A three-store New Jersey run specialty retailer sets its own niche apparel agenda with its Racefaster brand.

A

idan and Lindsay Walsh had a novel idea back in 2014 to make and sell running apparel. After all, Aidan was an accomplished runner involved in coaching at the collegiate level along with race directing, while Lindsay had a family background in manufacturing and importing, an eye for fashion and an innate knowledge for what the running customer wanted — what could go be so difficult? So, they began designing and manufacturing their own apparel line and proceeded to solicit run specialty stores to carry it. Cliche as it sounds, Aidan recalls, nobody wanted to give them a chance – too unknown and new – and they were turned down by retailer after retailer. Left with very few options, but with what they felt was outstanding product, the two opened their own pop-up store to sell apparel they believed in. Literally returning to the drawing board to expand the collection enough to fill out a store, they opened a pop-up running apparel store in the basement of a bookstore in Ridgewood, NJ. “In hindsight it was a long shot, but as I like to say, if we could make it there, in the basement of a bookstore, we could make it anywhere,” Aidan recalls. Thus a running specialty retailer called Racefaster was born and it has since relocated its Ridgewood store to a street-level location on the upscale town’s main avenue and eventually opened locations at the Garden State Plaza Mall (Paramus, NJ) and the Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, NJ. And it all started with apparel. The pair believed there was a niche within the northern New Jersey running market for products that are, as Aidan puts it, “uncompromising in quality and 24

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Lindsay and Aidan Walsh (above) and the Racefaster team focus on creating apparel and footwear that is “uncompromising in quality” specifically for running.

functionally designed” specifically for running. “I realized that if we designed with a very runner-focused

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approach, they would appreciate it,” he recalls, pointing to runspecific design elements such as the placement of pockets,

zippers, reflectivity, materials, cuts and performance fabrics. With a traditional background in finance and business, Lindsay nevertheless proved to have a natural talent for fashion and design, allowing her to look at styles and colors from an outside, consumer perspective versus a designers’ eye. “We think from scratch, so more often our products are very different from our competitors — in a good way,” she says. Sold under the Racefaster label, the target market tends to be the mid- to higher-end consumer, befitting its affluent northern New Jersey locations. Its focus is on running function first; for example, they will often place a reflective zipper on the back of a tight, which is great for running, but would not be so for a gym workout. Racefaster doesn’t necessarily follow a seasonal approach in the traditional sense, although it will introduce seasonal items ahead of winter it we will continue to introduce shorts, tees

and tanks throughout the year because many of its customers run indoors during the colder months. The Racefaster Lineup The impressive line in early 2022 consists of shorts, indoor and outdoor tights, capris, half tights, sports bras, tank tops, singlets, T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, half-zip and full-zip jackets, vests, winter r unning jackets, waterproof rain jackets, joggers and pants. Complementing the apparel is an accessories collection that includes socks, beanies, running hats, gloves, mittens, gaiters, headbands and orthotics. For the winter months, a fleece line has proved popular as well. Racefaster is most certainly a niche label and proud of it, calling itself “a throwback to the days of uncompromising fabrics that last forever, yet ahead of the curve on style.” “It’s not uncommon to see styles uncharacteristically similar to ours being introduced by other brands a season or two after we’ve released it in our stores,” Aidan says, adding that the three-store chain has only ever sold its own apparel. (As a sidenote, Racefaster introduced its own brand of sneakers three years ago and today the shoe line is also the only brand it sells in its stores.) Undeterred by their initial experiences, the Walshes still set their sights on getting their apparel into other run specialty stores and earlier this year took the leap into wholesaling both their sneakers and apparel. “It’s the next step for us as a brand,” Aidan says, “We want to work with retail partners towards a mutual benefit.” n © 2022 Diversified Communications


RUNNING

RUNWAY Fashion trends race to the front in 2022.

FEELING GROOVY

Who doesn’t recall fondly the days of tie-dye and psychedelic prints? Junk Brands’ Duo-Dye Chartreuse design takes runners back to those times by breaking the athletic neutral color rules and using electrifying bursts to bring a high-energy look. MSRP: $16.99

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MULTI-FUNCTION Runners do it all these days and need apparel to fit their active lifestyles. Brooks’ Run Within Collection is built for the run while also meeting the demands of a broader exercise regimen. The line features streamlined designs with minimal seaming, lightweight materials and optimal breathability. MSRP: Crop Tank $50; 7-inch linerless short, $48

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TECH TIME

When is a pant more than just a pant? When it is CEP’s new Training Support Tight, which uses an internal functional print system based on kinesiology taping to give runners the same consistent support every step. The print targets all the key muscles for running – calf, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and the outer thighs – providing extra pressure and support to increase power and performance while limiting the stress on the body. MSRP: $109.95

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COLOR OUR WORLD It’s all about fun color up top in Sprints’ running hats. The brand recently launched a unique five-panel style hat with streamlined vents and, of course, wicked cool patterns — camo jaguars, Sunset Safari and Sasquatch. MSRP: $32

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BACK TO BASICS It’s not always all about color — some runners want a basic look for a natural high. Fox & Robin Olive Green Shorts with optional Heather Gray liner provides just that, along with two traditional, deep pockets, a vertical zipper pocket near the right hip and a soft, thin, sweat-wicking liner. MSRP: $48 (with liner); $45 (without liner)

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HOT UP TOP

Runners don’t like to be weighed down, but when it is heating up they need some protection. Enter the Streaker from rrnr, a go-to hat when it is too hot to wear anything extra. With full mesh top and side panels, the heat vents right out and the sweatband gets sweat off the face. One more thing: The “shorty brim” keeps things minimal but keeps the sun out. MSPR: $34

SHOP LOCAL

Just as runners are urged to visit their hometown stores, domestic manufacturing complemented by materials from around the world is here to stay. Miler Running knows that with its Base Running SS tee and Base Running Arm Sleeves, both designed and made in New York City. The sleeves are composed of a soft Italian knit with a matte finish, while the Tee uses lightweight performance mesh from Switzerland. MSRP: SS Tee $100; Sleeves $35 31

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UN-STRUCTURED

Runners rarely fit into a mold and the Lone Fir Long Haul Cap is Territory Run Co.’s best-selling running cap. It keeps them unique with a new ripstop nylon front panel and brim and unstructured nylon front panel with deep fit.

JUST BREATHE

Soft feel and breathability are a must in running apparel in 2022 and Podiumwear’s lightweight singlet is crafted from San Remo Silver, a 100 percent polyester lightweight knit with a soft feel that’s breathable and moisture wicking through push/pull capillary action. MSRP: $49

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merino HAS LANDED Hardly a line goes by without including something featuring Merino, including this Ibex Wool Aire Hoodie, an ultralight puffy filled with proprietary Merino insulation that keeps body temperature regulated for peak performance. The Bluesign certified face fabric is wind- and water-resistant for protection against the elements. MSRP: $285

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AIR IT OUT

Technology meets fashion in the Hypervent collection from Craft, including the PRO Hypervent Singlet ($54.99) and PRO Hypervent Split Shorts ($54.99) on him and the PRO Hypervent Cropped Top ($39.99) and PRO Hypervent Split Shorts ($54.99) on her.

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KEEPING COOL

Runners have to look cool and be cool. Buff’s CoolNet UV Ellipse Headband is made from 95 percent Repreve fabric with comfort bonding technology, keeping runners comfortable. MSRP: $15

ALL DAY RUN FUN

Style meets performance meets l-i-v-i-n for runners who do more than run. The Alter Ego Running Coaster Fit is built for a morning run, an afternoon hangout and weekend nights. It is equipped with AERSplash water repellent technology, lightweight breathable TechTwill fabric and enhanced sweat disbursement. MSRP: $45

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SUSTAINABLE PACE

Virtually every run brand in 2022 has a sustainability story and Saucony’s new Stopwatch collection adds in a performance message to its eco-efforts — the re-imagined line utilizes plastic bottles to save the environment one run at a time.

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MAP IT OUT

Ventilation is a must in running apparel, but brands are taking it to the next level with body mapping to place technology in the proper location. ASICS’ Men’s Ventilate 2.0 SS Top and Women’s Ventilate 2.0 Tank both feature body mapped ventilation, quickdry fabric, side slits, flat seams and front and back reflective. MSRP: Men’s $60; Women’s $55


THUMBS UP

It’s the little things that make a difference and nothing is littler or makes more of a difference than –– thumb holes! Nathan’s Rise Long Sleeve Tee is light and breathable, with a ventilated chimney panel in the back and those all-important thumb holes that keeps wrists warm. One more llittle thing: A watch slit allows runners to keep tabs on their pace. MSRP: $55

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TOP TECH

It’s not just the clothes that make the man — and woman. Technical hats that can be worn from the trails to the coffee shop are in and Boco’s Tempo hat wears like a “dad hat” but with technical construction. Or the Running Trucker keeps the style points in a lid that wicks sweat while putting in the work. MSRP: Tempo Hat $29.99; Running Trucker $35.99

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SPECIAL EVENT

And finally, there’s nothing like a special occasion or holiday to spice up an apparel presentation. One of the favorites is the Run Lucky Collection from Brooks Running, back this year with a limited-edition line that features the extra-green shamrockcovered Ghost 14 (MSRP: $130) and Distance Tank (MSRP: $32).

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Nominations Now Open!

The 2022 Best Running Stores will be honored at The Running Event, taking place November 29 to December 1 in Austin, Texas.

2022 Best Running Stores Our annual awards program recognizes the run specialty retailers who have proven their dedication to customer service and community.

Have a favorite running store? Tell us why they should be selected as a 2022 Best Running Store. Nominations close Friday, April 1!

Submit a nomination online:

https://bit.ly/3oCvWwp


Running Fashion

BRA-VO

Major sports and run bra vendors to run specialty have made sure retailers have the girls covered. / By Debbi Page

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elling apparel has always been a challenge for run specialty retailers more well versed in their core footwear business — and merchandising and selling a specialty category such as sport bras has proven to be even more intimidating. Yet this apparel niche has proven to be a strong contributor the bottom lines of those retailers who make the effort and partner with key vendors that have targeted the female runner. T he Running Event in Austin in December was an ideal opportunity to take a closer look at four of those brands that focus on this often-neglected category. Each offers its own unique style and identity for run specialty and here we take readers on a virtual tour of the sport bra category at TRE. ANITA: PROVOCATIVE AND UNAPOLOGETIC Based in Germany, Anita, a fourth generation company, rocks a cutting-edge brand that attracts attention with its sleek, modern styling that is about as sexy-meets-functional as it comes. Can a sports bra made of alluring fabric really be offered in sizes ranging from A-KK and still provide support? The answer is yes, with Anita laying claim as a true support system for women of all shapes and sizes. Styling, comfort, breathability, fit and function are the key to its allure. A leader in maximum support, most of the bras in Anita’s collection feature encapsulated cups for added support along with compression for stability. Its air control DeltaPad sports bra shows how well Anita designs for the woman who is well-endowed and looking for support and comfort. The unique use of ultralight breathable mesh along with cut outs at the bottom and sides 42

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Sexy-meets-function in Anita’s sports bras for all sizes and shapes of runners.

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The all-new Cloudsurfer. Run on clouds.


BRA–VO (continued) of the cups keep the skin super cool and dry during active workouts or runs. • DynamiX Star. This colorful and playful racer back sports bra offers style with maximum support. The padded straps are ergonomically shaped and designed to prevent neck contact. It also features a seamless cup lined with absorbent moisture management fabric, while the breathable mesh back completes the fun, stylish look. From high-impact aerobics to running a 5K, the DynamiX Star bra is there for full support. • Extreme Control. High function pique fabric makes this attractive sports bra come to life, with features such as three-section outer cups tailored on the outside and seamless on the inside to prevent chafing. Ergonomically designed wide cushioned adjustable straps add even more comfort to this shining star. Author’s Insight: If the multitude of sports bras Anita has to offer isn’t enough, for the fashionista in you most bras come with coordinating leggings that include massaging features. Let’s just say Anita sports bras and leggings lend themselves to an instant mood boost.

A colorful and hip vibe defines Vuori sports bras and tights for active women.

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VUORI: NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S SPORTS BRA The next stop is the Vuori booth — its colorful and hip vibe set the stage for understanding what this athletic brand is all about. To no surprise it is a Carlsbad, CA-based company whose clothing inspires a sense of well-being, happiness and sunshine. Its unique selling point is a product so versatile it can be

worn anytime anywhere — from workout to after-work socializing, Vuori has carved out a niche in the running and athleisure world. Super soft and comfortable, a combination of functionality and minimalist design sets this bra line apart. The 2022 collection offers a range of bras focusing on low-to-medium impact sports, each with sustainable fabrics that incorporate sports-inspired materials such as Lycra spandex and other synthetic fibers. Many of the bras include cross wicking. • Yosemite Bra. A light-support comfort bra with a very stylish back. While the front comes with soft removable inserts and offers extra coverage for small to medium busted woman, the strappy back styling is super cute. This style is great for running, hiking, spin, yoga and low-impact sports. • Daily Bra. The easy core styling of this lined bra features Vuori’s peachy performance fabric, offering comfort while giving medium support when needed. The removable cups are a bonus, while its fourway stretch, quick-drying and moisture-wicking qualities target low-to-medium impact activities. • Mindset Bra. The newest in the line offers light support and a fashionable splash of pizazz with a crossed strappy back. The fit is designed for comfort while it stays in place during activities, making it suitable for layering and low-intensity to medium-impact sports. Author’s Insight: Vuori’s hybrid style of bras are as comfortable as they are chic, a great option for women who do not © 2022 Diversified Communications


BRA–VO (continued) want or need encapsulation or extra support. What really impresses is how Vuori focuses on lifestyle and sustainability. Its bras are so versatile that women can confidently wear them in just about any setting — from running to yoga, climbing or paddling. BROOKS IN THE RUN BRA SPOTLIGHT From rising star to Queen of the run bras, Brooks shines so brightly in the spotlight that it makes it hard to see any flaws in its impeccably thought-out and well-designed collection. Brooks has placed an emphasis like no other company – footwear or apparel – on its run bra and its reputation has risen with such velocity in a market so few companies knew where to even begin. While gaining a strong reputation with its expertise on seamless support, Brooks continues to impress. • Dr ive Conver tible. Versatility is the name of the game here as this back closure run bra stands out with its comfortable, supportive design. Made of quick-drying polyester blend fabric, the bonded seams and wide bottom band are some of the little details that make a big difference and ensure comfort on any run. The adjustable straps provide personal support and can be hooked to make way for an optional sporty racerback styling or classic scoop back. • Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra. This sleek pull-over number really has a hold on things. With three pockets cleverly positioned, runners have plenty of secure places to stash their on-the-run essentials. The center back bonded phone pocket 45

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provides easy access while the two side mesh pockets comfortably hold even more gear. The Drive 3 features envelope pockets to keep the removable cups securely in place. • Dare Crossback 2.0. A pull-over bra designed specifically for running, the focus is on the lightweight and breathable molded cups that provide lift and comfort along with security while tremendously reducing bounce. The lengthened bottom band provides even more support and the strategically placed per forations keep r unners cool. This stylish streamlined crossback design comes in fun, vibrant colors that are sure to provide an energizing lift. Author’s Insight: For a shoe company Brooks certainly makes excellent run bras — and don’t dare call them sports bras around Brooks people. There is no end in sight as to how far the brand will go as its reputation in run bras matches its stature on shoe walls at run specialty. HANDFUL’S CUP RUNNETH OVER A truly impressive womanowned company that recognizes the desire for women to support each other while living life to the fullest, Handful’s spirited ladies run a fabulous show. They know first-hand what women want and how to successfully give it to them. • Y-Back Bra. With its stylish Y-back and ruched front detail, this little number doubles as a layer under a tank or a standalone while out for a run. Made of eco-friendly recycled polyester, it is known for its secure support during high-impact activity and boasts zero chafing.

Brooks shines brightly in the run bra category, matching its reputation in apparel and footwear at run specialty.

With minimal bounce, it is sure to stay in place and the removable padded cups appeal to small and large busted women alike. • The Gametime Bra. The Gametime flatters, not flattens. Runners won’t have to worry about holding the girls in place or being subject to harsh fabric rubbing the wrong way. The Gametime bra offers adjustable shoulder straps that allow for a custom fit, while the wide,

buttery soft band prevents chafing. Thanks to the front ruching, Uni-boob can go home with Unibrow because there is no place for her here. • The Closer. Easy-on, easyoff is what makes this fun strappy sports bra a favorite. No more peeling off a sweaty bra after a run. Along with this front closure bra’s breathable and supportive stretch mesh panels and soft moisture-wicking Coolmax © 2022 Diversified Communications


BRA–VO (continued) lining, the adjustable length straps offer personalized support while the pad and stash pockets are an added plus. Bonus: An inside security clip keeps the front closed and makes the Closer bra a girl’s BFF. Author’s Insight: The spirited ladies at Handful design sports bra to cater to every woman’s lifestyle and their designs run the gamut from playful and relaxed to supportive and secure. And their commitment to women goes beyond righton product — not only do they donate a percentage of sales to the Young Survival Coalition, which helps young women diagnosed with breast cancer, they also give lifetime discounts to breast cancer survivors as part of their Breast Friend Forever program. n Handful’s mantra is to support women on their runs and in their causes with a combination of playful and secure product.

Adidas Goes Naked To Promote Its Bras Well, this really gets to the heart of the matter when selling sports bras. In a controversial but apparently effective effort to draw attention to a new sports bra line, Adidas doesn’t show its bras at all — rather, it tweeted a photo grid of 25 pairs of bare breasts. Obviously since it could not run such an ad on regular TV or in a magazine (including Running Insight), the brand posted the ad to its Twitter page here. The link does eventually connect to the bra collection with the tagline “#SupportisEverything.” “We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort,” Adidas says in the campaign. “Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.” In a statement to CNN Business, Adidas said, “A sports bra is the single most impor tant piece of workout 46

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apparel for those with breasts.” “The confidence and support it gives can have a significant impact on someone’s performance and ability to stick with sport.

“The gallery was designed to show just how diverse breasts are, featuring different shapes and sizes that highlight why tailored support is paramount,” the statement concluded.

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MYFOOTBALANCE® 3D FOOT SCANNING SERVICE

Elevate the customer experience and supercharge your sales with our all-in-one footwear fitting service.

Scan the QR code to see the MyFootBalance® UI

The MyFootBalance® 3D foot scanner is available without charge, with an opening order of 150 pairs of FootBalance custom insoles. Find out more by contacting us at sales.us@footbalance.com


BRA–VO (continued)

ANITA

Its best-selling Active Performance Sports Bra will be introduced this summer in the classic Black/Anthracite colorway. This sports bra, available in cup sizes A–G, guarantees comfort with its wide underbust band, breathable mesh back and ergonomically shaped, partially padded straps. The straps are available in two widths depending on the bra size. MSRP: $59

BROOKS

The key update on the Dare Crossback 2.0 from the Spring 2022 collection is the lengthening of the bottom band and reinforced materials in select areas, including the straps and band, for an improved high-impact design. MSRP: $60

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BRA–VO (continued)

HANDFUL

The GameTime Bra provides an extra wide support band that prevents chafing and adjustable straps that are the perfect width to support any level of sportiness. The center front ruching prevents uni-boob and removable pads offer optional shaping. $62

VUORI

The easy core styling of the Daily Bra features Vuori’s peachy performance fabric and boasts comfort while giving medium support when needed. The removable cups are an added bonus, along with four-way stretch, quick drying and moisture wicking. MSRP: $48

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Running Fashion

Selling Bras101

Chelsea Kipp at Mill City Running brings bra fitting education to ALL staff members with her ‘Bras for Bros’ manual.

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he is known in her local circles as the Bra Whisperer — and for good reason. Chelsea Kipp, store manager at Mill City Running and Saint City Running in Minnesota, is passionate about bras and bra fitting at the two stores owned by Jeff and Bekah Metzdorff and has not only developed the Bra Shop concept, but has also created the “Bras for Bros” teaching manual for, as the name suggests, those runners who don’t wear run bras. “The project that sits closest to my heart has been bringing the Bra Shop to life with the support of Brooks,” she told Running Insight+ in a feature article in the January 11 issue, explaining that the Bra Shop demonstrates their commitment to inclusivity to a new community of runners — a space where there are no barriers to running. “I was given the exciting task of helping bring this vision to life and have spent the year continuing to dream up ways to connect bra-wearing customers with the support they need, figuratively and in the form of a great run bra,” she explains. When she first developed the Bra Shop concept for Saint City Running, part of that commitment was the goal to have all of the female staff members become certified Fit Experts by Brooks. “In most other retailers, there are one or two individuals that function as ambassadors for the Brooks run bras and are given a bit of extra training from the Brooks team virtually,” Kipp explains, adding that once she had all of their Fit Experts trained she then wanted to create a reference sheet that the men on the staff could use to guide them if they found themselves working with a potential run bra wearer. Thus, “Bras for Bros” was born — described as an at-a-glance refresher for 50

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Chelsea Kipp, aka the Bra Whisperer, believes anyone can sell run bras if trained properly.

the 90-minute training session the Fit Experts went through. All Mill City and Saint City staff are encouraged to use it whenever they have a question or need a reminder on the specifics of the Brooks run bras they carry. “Though it’s a fairly rare occurrence, if there isn’t a Fit Expert on the sales floor then men of our staff can put it to use to walk a prospective customer through a fitting themselves,” she explains. Bras for Bros contains talking points about each of the run bra styles in the stores as well as an overview on how to actually measure and fit someone — the measurements needed to calculate sizing and recommended questions to ask to narrow down and recommend specific styles. “I wrote it in such a way that our staff can have it out at the Bra Shop table and there’s nothing that I wouldn’t share with a customer,” Kipp says. “I think it adds another layer of confidence, especially for our male staff members as well as the

customer to know that they’re referencing this material to make educated recommendations to them.” Kipp recognizes that the primary run bra consumer is most comfortable being fit by one of the women on the staff, but says there have been some nice stories of men successfully putting the Bras for Bros info to use. “We’ve got high school boys on our team that I’ve heard confidently let customers know about our run bra fittings and even had one of our men take someone through a whole run bra fitting — measurements and everything,” she reports. Kipp is currently working on the 2.0 version of Bras for Bros and developing her run bra staff training for the year. They are training every staff member in run bra fittings this time around. “Just as I can successfully sell a shoe I haven’t run in, I believe that even folks that don’t wear run bras can be taught how to sell them with confidence,” she says. n

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SOCK EXCHANGE Want to know how to sell more socks? Just ask the experts. By Carly Russo BALEGA The Balega Support sock (photo above) features a non-restrictive cradling fit with targeted compression. The medium-density cushioning and ankle protection provide comfort without wearing a full compression sock. MSRP: $18 Advice for retailers from Matt Hubbell, Product Line Manager. “Introduce socks early in the fit process, explain the importance of using your running sock to get a proper fit. Explain the golden rule: Cotton is rotten. Cotton absorbs moisture, which causes friction blisters. Going with a performance sock you remove moisture from the skin surface and create a secure fit, preventing blisters. Ask the customer about their preferences. Make sure that they understand the socks are the buffer between the foot and the shoe, providing a comfort layer and cushioning.” 52

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SOCKS 2022

CEP The Run 4.0. is CEP’s latest hero collection combining new technology with a redefined compression profile to elevate performance and decrease recovery time. This enhanced compression profile is more precise and effective to efficiently activate the nutrient supply to runners’ muscles. The mesh-like structure on the calves, along with air channels in the foot, provide additional breathability and comfort. MSRP: Tall $59.95; Mid Cut $18.95 Advice for retailers from Daniel Eismann, General Manager. “Let your customer feel why high-end running shoes need high-end run socks to create the ultimate running experience. By integrating a CEP shorter sock length into every shoe fit, sliding into the first pair of shoes gives the feeling of excitement. The perfect fit and comfort needs to be felt! Then, if you find the time to mention, CEP’s breathable yarn structure, the compression ankle stabilization and long durability, then you get an extra sock sale and a happier runner. And the best thing is: Let’s elevate the running experience for everyone.”

DARN TOUGH Darn Tough’s streamlined No Show Tab features a silky, chafe-eliminating cuff, highperformance flex zones and a supportive fit. Built with lightweight, wicking Merino for all-day, marathon-mileage bids. New for Spring ’22, this style will be offered in space-dye, a digitally printed yarn. MSRP: $17 Advice for retailers from Tressa Kreis, National Sales Manager. “Focus on quality and Merino education. Runners want socks that will last and also that will work with their shoes to provide the best environment for their feet throughout a marathon or a jog around the neighborhood. Even with the best running shoes, if the socks aren’t quality the whole race or run could be ruined. Putting a pair of quality socks on consumers’ feet during a shoe fitting is the best way to seal that deal. Once they feel the support of the sock and the performance fit within the shoe, they won’t go back.”

DRYMAX Drymax’s Running Lite-Mesh socks are a versatile running sock model balanced between thin and thick running socks. The proprietary Drymax Dual-Layer Sweat Removal system keeps feet drier and blister-free, while Mesh Stripe Vents over the foot and under the arch provide breathability. MSRP:$13.50 Advice for retailers from Martin Hernandez, Specialty Sales Manager. “In a period when things have gotten so crazy and complicated, nothing is more practical as a great all-around functional sock. Sell a solid core of the product and offer exceptional customer service and value that will differentiate you from very crowded brands and retailers.”

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SOCKS 2022

EXPERIA The latest additions to the Experia Green collection allow runners to fashionably wear their comfort in a different color every day. And as always, the entire Experia Green collection is made using Repreve fibers made from recycled water bottles. MSRP: $13.99 Advice for retailers from Ani Basmacioglu, Director, Brand and Merchandising. “I would recommend they buy and partner with brands that are making strides towards sustainability, not only in the products they bring to market but how they bring them. Consumers care about this now more than ever, not just in the running community but across the globe. Sustainability efforts from supply chain to manufacturing and to giving back to the community are all global efforts that everyone is aware of and sensitive to. Selling will be easier if the products are more purposeful because responsibility now falls on all of us, manufacturers and consumers alike.”

FALKE The Falke Energizing Sock is a compression sock made of polyamide and polypropylene for fast moisture transport to prevent swelling and heavy legs for runners. Comes in sizes for both men (in photo) and women. MSRP: $50.95 Advice for retailers from Desiree Larson, Vice President, USA. “In a day and age when people are going to the internet and looking for instant gratification, we need to partner together to be there for them in store. If a customer walks into your store, they need to be able to get what they want, when they want it and most often they do not know what they want. They need someone to guide them into what is right for them. Offer coordinated solutions for every runner — long runs, short runs, trail running, endurance runs, competition runs, recovery and injury.”

INJINJI The Women’s Ultra Run Mini-Crew is designed to maintain the necessary comfort and structure needed when putting in 50 or 70-plus miles on a weekly basis. It has added cushioning throughout the foot to help manage impact when striking and running on various terrain. The sock comes in colors ranging from an Onyx grey to a vibrant green, but will be featuring a new colorway this spring called Jam. MSRP: $18 Advice for retailers from Claire Kooperman, Director, Ecommerce & Operations:. ‘The key is to never assume your customer understands all the technical aspects of a performance running sock. Make sure your staff understands and can communicate the importance of a good performance run sock (cool feet, blister free, perfect fit). It is also important to let your staff pick favorites each month and display/explain why. A personal connection makes all the difference when providing the best products for clients as they reach their goals. Next, have fun and create a sock wall with good info/signage — highlight a sock of the month. And lastly, always have a monthly, rotating and meaningful promo running with a sock brand.”

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SOCKS 2022

LE BENT Le Bent’s Light Micro run sock is blister resistant and the Definitive Fit System delivers a precise form fit while targeted light cushioning on the forefoot and heel provide shock absorption where you runners it most. MSRP: $20 Advice for retailers from Steve Walshe, Sales Director. “Le Bent has been very fortunate to collaborate with some of the best specialty run retailers and ultra athletes and they all have taught us that it is all about an individual’s needs. Everyone differs on their preferences with respect to features such as fabric weights, sock heights and cushioning. At the retail level, when assisting anyone to choose the best socks for them, we recommend a similar approach. Have a great conversation and discuss their preferences and needs, what they hope to achieve, and then match those details to the right product.”

NABOSO Naboso has brought its patent-pending texture onto the inside of its socks. The neurostimulating texture massages runners’ feet to enhance circulation, stimulating nerves and releasing muscles and fascia. Recommended to be worn for at least 60 minutes at the end of the day or after a hard workout. MSRP: $60 for ankle; $75 for knee Advice for retailers from Dr Emily Splichal, CEO. “Look for innovative products in the sock category that create consumer excitement around what a sock can offer their running performance and recovery.”

OS1ST Wellness Wide uses the same design as OS1st’s current Wellness Socks, featuring a design just for people with wide feet and calves. The sock has all the features and benefits of the brand’s other performance running socks and gives a retailer a way to create a more custom fit for their wide foot customer. MSRP: $14.99-16.99 Advice for retailers from Josh Higgins, President. “Selling socks has always been about incorporating it into the fit process. While measuring or scanning for foot type and shoe size, ask about injuries, look for bunions, wide feet, narrow heels. Fitting for socks should be the same as fitting for shoes. Offer a product that is more customized and chances are they will not only buy the sock, but also remember the experience.”

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SOCKS 2022

SMARTWOOL Smartwool’s Performance Run Zero Cushion Low Ankle socks provide comfort and durability without a cushion. The sock serves as a minimal layer between foot and shoe and features its Indestructawool technology with extended durability zones, 4 Degree elite fit system for a dialed-in performance-oriented fit, body-mapped mesh zones for added breathability and a Virtually Seamless toe. MSRP: $18 Advice for retailers from Maggie Meisinger, Manager, Strategic Communications. “We encourage retailers to lean into the momentum we are seeing in the run category. It is a rapidly growing activity and one of the most critical pieces of gear is a person’s sock.”

SOCK GUY SockGuy’s SGX features a blend of PolyPro, nylon and spandex, providing a seamless toe, a relaxed compression fit, enhanced performance ribbing and more moisture wicking ventilation. MSRP: $15.95 Advice for retailers from Michael Foley, President. “Stores should add more variety, colors and style to their hooks. Break out from the ordinary and add some fun performance socks with personality and style to your sock walls. Your customers that want to put some fun on their feet without giving up performance will love it.”

STEIGEN Steigen’s lightweight Pink Tutti Frutti Running Socks Zero Length features a forefoot pad for comfort and airflow top mesh for fast moisture transfer and breathability. Made with microfiber nylon (80 percent) and Lycra (20 percent) for form fit. MSRP: $15.95 Advice for retailers from Dominic Godfrey, Head of Sales and Distribution. “For a customer to walk in and want the full fitting experience, add-ons are essential. With each shoe purchase a customer should be looking for two or three new socks.”

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SOCKS 2022

SWIFTWICK Swiftwick’s Flite XT Trail features AnkleLock Technology that supports runners’ ankles during quick movements on uneven and varying terrains, while the GripDry fibers in the heel and forefoot keep feet from sliding. Made from blended natural Merino with a full olefin fiber footbed to move moisture away from the feet. MSRP: Quarter crew, $23.99; Crew $26.99 Advice for retailers from Jason Barlow, Account Representative. “Actively talk with your staff about how they are pulling try-ons for their guests. Encourage them to have their guests use your in-store try-on socks instead of what they brought in for every fit. Consider making this required part of the interview process before pulling shoes.”

WRIGHTSOCK Made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles while still maintaining a soft texture, Wrightsock’s Run Reflective socks utilize micro reflective glass beads embedded in the fibers to create 360 degrees of visibility around an extended length cuff that covers the potential gap between a runner’s tights and the top of a traditional running length sock. MSRP: $20 Advice for retailers from Russ Coillot, Director of Sales. “Use socks from the wall versus try-on socks. The feel of a new sock is as impactful as the step-in feel of a new shoe. You would never consider having a customer try on a 14-month-old, well-used shoe in the fit process, so why do we do just that with socks?”

ZENSAH Zensah’s Calming Sleep Sock is a fuzzy, ultra-soft, cozy sock designed to help runners get a more restful sleep. Made with ultra-fine Merino, these bed socks are thermoregulating to keep the wearer cool when it’s hot and warmer when it’s cooler. MSRP: $20 Advice for retailers from Sarah Humphries, Marketing Director. “When selling anything, socks included, we want to explain the story why we created this product, why it’s special and why it will be an asset to the customer’s goals. It’s in creating this narrative that the customer envisions themselves with the product and sees its value.”

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© 2022 Diversified Communications


running shorts Running USA Honors Industry Leaders at Annual Conference RUNNING USA, THE NON-PROFIT trade organization for running, presented its 2022 Industry Conference awards during its recently concluded annual meeting at the Coronado Springs Resort, which resumed after a one-year COVID hiatus with nearly 500 industry attendees. Named to the organization’s Hall of Champions as part of its 18th class were two longtime industry leaders, Virginia Brophy Achman and Rich Kenah. • Virginia Brophy Achman is executive director of Twin Cities in Motion, the organization that produces the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. She has served in her current roll at TCM since 2004. A member of the Running USA Board of Directors, she

served as president from 2009-2012. Virginia was previously awarded the Running USA’s Women’s Leadership Award. • Rich Kenah is CEO of the Atlanta Track Club and Race Director of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race. Kenah has led the growth of the Club’s membership from 21,000 to nearly 34,000 members. He also oversaw the Club’s acquisition of the Publix Atlanta Marathon and its growth to one of the top marathons in the southeast. For the first time, Running USA named an Award of Excellence recipient for significant, timely changemaking efforts in the sport. The inaugural recipient of this award was Alison Désir, the co-founder of

the Running Industry Diversity Coalition (RIDC) and an endurance athlete, activist and mental health advocate. She also serves as director of sports advocacy for Oiselle and the founder of Harlem Run, a NYC-based running movement. In the final presentation of the event, race director Jan Seeley of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon was awarded the Women’s Leadership Award. Seeley is a passionate race director who tirelessly promotes the sport regionally in Urbana-Champaign, and constantly encourages new runners while developing unique race opportunities for them to enjoy. The 2023 event will be held in Denver, CO, from Feb. 12-14.

Kullas has a background in finance and business development. He will be responsible for the development of the FootBalance business across the German-speaking markets.

FootBalance Expands Executive Team FootBalance, the Nordic health driven-brand, recently made a series of senior appointments to its commercial team. • Morten Israelsen joins the company in the newly created position of global business development director, responsible for the Nordic region and the expansion of FootBalance’s brand partnership program. Based in Denmark, Israelsen was previously chief sales officer at Marimekko and has held senior sales and management positions at Keen, Ecco Shoes

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and PWC. • Neil Venables joins the company as commercial director for the UK and Ireland. With a strong pedigree in the sporting goods sector, having been general manager at Intersport UK&I, as well as having a career in sales management at Adidas, Venables most recently worked in the technology sector. He will be responsible for sales and operations across the market area. • Martin Kullas joins FootBalance as commercial director for DACH. A native German based in Helsinki,

Naboso Adds Roberts as Director of Sales Naboso, the maker of sensory and recovery products, has added Brian Roberts as director of sales. He brings more than 25 years of experience in running specialty, retail ownership and sports sales and marketing, most recently as national sales manager at Altra Running where he oversaw sales strategy for footwear and apparel and helped grow the business from $5 million to more than $40 million. A graduate of the school of Health Science and Human Performance at Ithaca College, Roberts is an avid runner, cyclist and outdoor adventurer who also recently built and led the wholesale rep team for Excel Outdoors’ line of hydration products, Ultimate Direction.

© 2022 Diversified Communications


running shorts Brooks Running Surpasses $1 Billion For First Time, Names Sheridan President/COO BROOKS RUNNING ENDED 2021 WITH global revenue exceeding $1.11 billion, an increase of 31 precent percent year over year. This result marks the first time the running brand has reached $1 billion in annual revenue. “Brooks had a record year across every metric we track,” says Jim Weber, Brooks CEO. “Crossing the $1 billion threshold is especially gratifying as it reflects the outcome of a 20-year focus and commitment from our global team.” • In 2021, Brooks sold 25 percent more pairs of shoes globally compared to prior year and according to NPD data Brooks was again the leading brand in the running specialty channel, which Brooks views as an influential, community-centric channel. • In the athletic specialty and sporting goods channel, Brooks also earned the

New Product: Tifosi Swank XL Tifosi Optics has launched its newest lifestyle sunglass — the Swank XL, which provides the classic flair of the original Swank series but with a larger fit and new colorways to meet the needs of runners. A lightweight and durable Grilamid TR-90 frame maximizes all-day comfort. Incorporating a hydrophilic rubber nose piece, the Swank XL provides a no-slip grip to keep the sunglass secure for activities such as running, 59

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number one market share in adult running shoes, with 28 percent dollar share in 2021 — a year-over-year increase of four percentage points, again according to NPD. • Across all U.S. retail channels combined, Brooks was the number two ranked adult performance running footwear brand in 2021, with 19 percent dollar share, gaining two percentage points year over year. • Brooks produced the industry’s top two franchise styles for adult performance running footwear: the Ghost at number one and the Adrenaline GTS in the second spot. Following this record-breaking 2021, Brooks Running named Dan Sheridan as a new president and chief operating officer, partnering with CEO Weber to support continued growth of the brand. Sheridan will continue to play a role in guiding the business’ supply chain and operations,

while the 10 0 percent UVA/UVB protected polycarbonate lenses offer scratch resistance and protection for long-term use. Swank XL is available in six colors: Blackout, Satin Vapor, Frost Blue, Pink Tor toise, Blue Tor toise and a polarized Brown Fade. MSRP is $29.95, with a polarized option at $54.95. Aetrex Receives Two Honors The Albert 2 Pro 3D Foot Scanner from Aetrex recently received recognition from two major industry trade events. First was recognition as a 2022 CES Innovation of the Year Award Honoree, followed by being named an Outdoor Retailer 2022 Innovation Awards finalist. The Albert 2 Pro was on display

along with IT and digital products functions. Additionally, as president he will now oversee finance, strategic planning, legal and risk management for the brand. In addition to Sheridan’s promotion, Matt Dodge has also been promoted to VP and managing director of Brooks International, adding responsibility for the brand’s APLA and China businesses.

and available for in-person demos at both of these trade shows recently. The foot scanning system is engineered to help consumers find the proper fitting footwear and orthotics while also enhancing the in-store experience. It combines computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing and cloud analytics to deliver a state-of-the-art, easy-touse retail solution. The Albert 2 Pro integrates technologies from industry pioneers such as Intel RealSense and HARMAN in an all-in-one, compact, omnichannel device. The scanner also features Aetrex’s new FitGenius AI platform, which matches customers’ foot profiles with their ideal footwear styles and sizes to provide personalized recommendations that can be accessed across a retailer’s digital shopping platforms after leaving the store.

© 2022 Diversified Communications


running shorts

Nominations Now Open for the Best Running Stores of 2022

NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN THROUGH April 1 for Best Running Stores, the awards program that recognizes and celebrates the best run specialty stores in America. The reception will take place December 1 in Austin, TX, during The Running Event. “We’re thrilled to open nominations for

RunSignup Shows 21.6 Percent Growth RunSignup’s recently released Annual RaceTrends Report shows that participation in endurance events on its platform in 2020 and 2021 had an average growth rate of 21.6 percent; however, participation was down from the pre-pandemic year. Shifting event types, from in-person to virtual and back again, contributed to lower loyalty levels and fewer participants returning to the same event year after year. “Considering the challenges facing the industry over the last two years, it’s remarkable how much recovery we saw this year,” says CEO and founder Bob Bickel. “We expect to see some lingering impacts, but are encouraged by the enthusiastic return of in-person participants and the identifiable trend back towards normalcy.” Among other findings from the report: • 2021 participation levels improved throughout the year, with October 2021 participation just 11.9 percent below that of the same month in 2019 60

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the 2022 awards and to honor the stores that go above and beyond for their customers, employees, communities and more. We welcome the entire running community – from retailers and brands to runners and walkers across the country – to nominate their favorite run shop,” says Christina Henderson, executive director of Best Running Stores and The Running Event. “This year’s top stores will join a truly remarkable lineup of past winners,” she adds. “As we reflect on an impactful The Running Event 2021, we’re more excited than ever to bring America’s running industry leaders together again — both to celebrate

their accomplishments and to learn, connect, inspire and continue propelling the running industry forward.” All industry professionals, brands and retail customers are encouraged to nominate one store that shines for their customer service and community impact, Following a rigorous evaluation process, winners will be selected and notified by the end of July; the Store of the Year will be revealed live at the December 1 reception during The Running Event 2022 in Austin, TX. All winning stores will receive two free passes to The Running Event, including accommodations at the host hotel.

• 18 percent of 2019 events did not recur in 2020, including 10.7 percent that did not take place in 2020 or 2021 • In-person events bounced back, with 79.6 percent of participants opting for in-person events (compared to 59.8 percent in 2020), but remained significantly higher than in 2019 when one percent of participants were virtual. • Despite downward pricing pressure from virtual events, 5Ks in 2021 were down just 2.3 percent compared to 2019, coming in at an average of $27.40 Race day trends from the year include growth in the roster of services offered by race timers, rapid adoption of the RaceDay CheckIn App and an increase in spectator participation.

focusing on the LGBTQ+ community. This phase of the initiative has been developed with the expertise of the Equality Institute and was made possible by a grant from Brooks Running. The LGBTQ+ initiative has three goals: 1. Help the running and endurance industry become a more inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community. 2. Create awareness among members of Running USA of the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion at their events. 3. Provide practical tools for the members of Running USA in the form of webinars, white papers and inclusive policies. To make Phase 1 of the DEIA initiative impactful for all, Running USA is asking the industry to complete its LGBTQ+ Inclusion Self Evaluation and Survey here. This can help event producers understand a bit more about how to enhance LGBTQ+ inclusion at running events and at the same time help Running USA develop a framework and best practices for the running industry.

Running USA Launches DEIA Program With the goal of helping the running industry embrace the full diversity of its existing and potential runner communities and ensure the industry is provided with the tools and knowledge to be inclusive, accessible and welcoming, Running USA has begun the first phase of its DEIA program

© 2022 Diversified Communications


UQ DATAPOINTS

Customer Insights We took a look at 16,860 demographic profiles of consumers who made a retail or online purchase in January 2022.

Here’s what we found out:

55%

1% ASIAN

IDENTIFIED AS

ETHNIC GROUPS

Ethnicity was identified in 51% of data

WOMEN

3% AFRICAN AMERICAN

35%

49% UNKNOWN

IDENTIFIED AS

39% CAUCASIAN

MEN

10% DID NOT SELF-IDENTIFY

INCOME LEVELS 20%

LESS THAN 50K

20%

50K-75K

18%

75K-100K

CUSTOMER INTEREST SIGNALS Some customers were indentified with multiple interest signals

16%

100K-125K

21%

125K-150K

65% EXERCISE

2%

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upperquadrant.com/ria

runninginsight.com

27%

OF CUSTOMERS ARE IN THEIR 40S

150K +

42% WEIGHT LOSS

WANT TO DIG DEEPER?

61

3% HISPANIC

5% OTHER

Upper Quadrant supports diversity and inclusion. The use of only men and women pronouns is a limitation of data providers.

35% WALKING

24% RUNNING

24%

51-60

16%

31-40

16%

61-70

8%

71+

5%

21-30

17% AEROBICS

UQ CADENCE

BY UPPER QUADRANT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE RUNNING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

These insights were generated by appending demographics and interest signals to consumers who made a retail or online purchase in January 2022. The append match rate was 16%, yielding 16,860 demographic profiles. Ethnic data identified at 51% of records. DataPoints is produced by Upper Quadrant by aggregating data from approximately 200 doors. Upper Quadrant assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness, or timeliness.

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NOV 29 - DEC 1, 2022 Austin Convention Center | Austin, TX

EXHIBIT AT The Running Event 2022 THE PREMIER CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW FOR RUN SPECIALTY RETAILERS

#TRE21 Highlights 940 Retailers & Race Directors 44,250 sq. ft. of Exhibitors 85% of Attendees and 91% of Exhibitors stated they will return to #TRE22

Contact our sales team to secure your spot at #TRE22: info@therunningevent.com Produced by: