Running Insight 3.5.2024

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Running’s Sarah Stafford hits the streets to showcase what retailers are wearing this season. The Running Fashion/Apparel Issue • Merchandising Apparel • Iowa Running Co. Bratenders • State of the Apparel Business • RUN APPAREL/SOCK SHOW


Running apparel can help retailers broaden their base to drive engagement and growth.

The challenge of selling apparel at run specialty is made even more difficult this year as mixed messages from the economy and retail continue to create confusion for the U.S. apparel industry. Inflation is easing, but consumers are still grappling with high prices. Travel is on the rise, but spending on discretionary purchases, especially apparel, continues to struggle.

Overall apparel dollar sales declined by four percent in 2023, versus the prior year, according to Circana’s consumer tracking data. The industry outlook remains tepid in 2024 as consumers continue to make careful spending choices.

Run Specialty A Bright Spot

Examining the industry outlook reveals a fuzzy picture overall, but certain channels project sharper growth.

For the apparel specialty market, yearover-year sales declined by three percent in

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Fast (and Slow) Fashion (continued)

2023, based on Circana’s retail point-of-sale data; however, run specialty was a bright spot. In 2023, the run specialty channel experienced a one percent drop in apparel dollar sales, but a one percent increase in units sold. Though not entirely in the black, this sector outperformed the market, surpassing all other channels in the sports specialty sector.

The channel remains relatively small, with run specialty representing just one percent of the total specialty market, but the untapped potential from this channel remains undeniable. The enthusiasm for fitness and innovation offers opportunities for loyalty, excitement and industry replenishment.

Performance Takes The Lead

In recent years, the sales increases in activewear leaned towards leisurewear styles, with sweatshirts and jerseys steering growth in the run specialty channel. However, this past year saw performance product take center stage. Runners dressed themselves from head-to-toe, as socks, active tees and hats fueled growth in run specialty, with technical features and brands rising to the top. A revived interest in running is cultivating an appetite for performance brands.

According to Strava’s 2023 Year in Sport Trend Report, 21 percent of runners on Strava ran at least one race in 2023 – that’s a 24 percent increase from 2022. While it feels like new records are constantly being broken, it appears that more runners that are new to racing are lacing up and getting out these days.

This behavior provides an

opportunity to reach a new, and eager, consumer, one that is especially looking for direction and product expertise. Run specialty stores can continue to lean into that product knowledge and brand partnerships, which is a huge advantage over impersonal e-commerce sites when selling apparel.

More than 40 percent of consumers report shopping from e-commerce platforms so they can research product reviews, according to the results from a recent Circana Omnibus survey. As a running brand or retailer, showcasing the benefits of your experts, and real time product testing, can be an advantage when reaching a new and impressionable runner.

Walking to More Apparel Sales

In addition to races, more consumers are on the move for a low-impact form of fitness. A Circana survey reveals that about two-thirds of consumers plan to walk for exercise in the next six months.

So how can running stores tap into the everyday walker?

Making this connection can be key to unlocking a massive consumer base and the opportunity is becoming more of a reality. Hot brands like On and Hoka are partly responsible for the latest hype around running technology. Innovations are gaining the attention of the masses and they are shelling out big bucks for sneakers and apparel — not just for a race, but for walks around the block.

This willingness to spend on higher-priced performance product unveils a consumer mindset that is often overshadowed by discussions of high debt and slow wage growth.

It’s not that consumers aren’t buying — they are just spending more selectively.

Consumers have the bandwidth to splurge on a pair of Ons or drop nearly $20 on a pair of socks. Why? Because innovation drives growth. Despite a pullback in discretionary spending, consumers are prioritizing premium innovation. This is good news for specialty retailers whose strength lies in performance, expertise and innovation.

The 2024 Apparel Challenge

The rest of 2024 may pose more challenges, but retailers should view it as more of a purification process. Brands diving into innovation and pushing boundaries will triumph, while those relying on stale trend narratives and promotions face an uphill battle.

For runners, whether they be established loyalists or fresh newcomers, brands and retailers must focus on education, innovation and product quality. A runner depends on the quality of their gear.

As opposed to team sports, where players rely on one another, a runner stands alone. A sock that bunches or a running short that sags is equivalent to a teammate fumbling the ball. The relationship between runners and their gear and apparel is strong, so focus on supporting your runners’ every need and the ability to test product in stores.

Don’t forget about your casual walker, as well. Where active brands win is in the loyalty and fervent movement, whether it is race training or a leisure walk, that can spark this connection. n

In addition to races, more consumers are on the move for a low-impactform of fitness. A Circana survey reveals that about two-thirds of consumers plan to walk for exercise in the next six months. about the author

Kristen Classi-Zummo is an industry analyst specializing in fashion and active apparel at Circana (formerly IRI and The NPD Group). In this role, she collaborates with premier brands and retailers to uncover strategic business opportunities within the apparel sector.

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Holly Do’s and Don’ts

Advice for running stores on how to – and how not to – merchandise apparel.

Running store owners and managers are very, very good about buying, selling and merchandising footwear. No argument there. But when it comes to doing the same with what can be a profitable apparel selection — not so much. So here are a collection of Apparel Merchandising Do’s and Don’ts based on years of experience with running stores of all sizes in all parts of the country.



There is no better way to see a boost in apparel sales than to display outfits on clean, modern, athletic-cut mannequins. There’s a reason that Lululemon, Anthropology, Athleta and endless other successful apparel retailers have their stores filled with them … because they work. Remember, your customer very rarely enters your store intending to buy apparel. Instead, they’re coming in for shoes, socks or some other specific accessory they’re needing.

The main way your apparel sells is by your customers seeing something that excites them and creates an emotional reaction.

A beautiful new outfit with fun colors inspires them to update their running wardrobe and hop out on a trail. Believe me, integrating an assortment of modern mannequins into your apparel displays is paramount to selling more apparel and will quickly justify your investment.

Incorporate full-body mannequins, along with torso forms, leg forms and head or feet forms for selling more accessories.



Don’t tell yourself that junky old mismatched mannequins are fine to keep using.

In response to my mannequin suggestion from retailers, I often hear that they just don’t want to spend the money on new mannequins or forms and that they prefer to keep using the old ones they’ve gotten decades ago from various vendors.

Using broken, dated mannequins to display beautiful new (often expensive) apparel is doing yourself and your customers a disservice.

Creepy old mannequins look unprofessional and uninspiring and they fall flat in the experience you’re wanting to create for your loyal customers. Remember, your customers drive to your store to support you instead of shopping online and the reward you need to give them is to

have cutting-edge, inspiring products and displays.

Every piece of the puzzle is important in creating this experience ... and mannequins is a big one.



Retailers are often very uncomfortable bringing in the brighter, edgier colors or prints when ordering for fear of being stuck with them at the end of the season or because they personally wouldn’t wear them. Certainly you don’t want to have to mark down your entire apparel collection at the end of the season, but keep in mind that bringing these edgier selections in is important because they often round out the

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Two full-body mannequins integrate complete outfits into the footwear wall at Run Terra Loco, Rochester, MN.

entire presentation and really add some splash to the wall.

Often, the value of catching the attention of a customer’s eye with a bright color story across the store is well worth bringing it in, even if they end up leaving with more conservative colors in the end.

These collections create excitement and buzz and that’s the key to selling more apparel. So push yourself a bit out of your comfort zone and allow yourself to make some fun displays that stir things up from the normal “core colors” you can find anywhere.



We all know that “safer” colors can tend to sell better in apparel. However, if your whole wall of apparel is basic neutrals, it doesn’t do much to grab anybody’s attention and draw them over.

The customer tends to glance quickly at apparel and if they see the same old colors, they’ll think, “nothing new, I’m short on time” and keep on moving.



For some reason, many run retail employees have no problem at all asking customers about their current footwear or what kind of socks they wear, but when it comes to apparel they’re often afraid to mention it. Sometimes the price tag on a piece of technical apparel can seem intimidating to a staff member who may be used to

getting a deal on running clothing, so they make the mistaken assumption that their customer won’t pay that much for it and decide not to ask. Don’t make this mistake.

I have learned over many years of working with specialty run customers that very often not only do they not mind paying for some cool new clothing, often they didn’t even know it existed and they really appreciate the staff member pointing it out to them.

There is absolutely no harm in a quick question during a shoe consultation where you simply ask, “So what kind of clothing do you usually run in?” or something similar to get the conversation started. Often, your customers are excited about buying something new to wear ... but it never occurred to them to even wander over to the apparel area to look.



We all know that apparel can be a challenging category to sell in running stores, so make it impossible for your customers to miss by double or even triple merchandising it throughout the store.

Ideally, you should be featuring a great new outfit or two on full-body mannequins in the front entry or on torso forms on a table to greet everybody as they walk in. Then place those same outfits together on your apparel wall and tell an even broader story with additional coordinating pieces and accessories.

Integrate some apparel pieces in other areas of your store if

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To sell more apparel, Athleta fills its stores with mannequins. Shoppers can see 14 forms in this small shop, in a variety of shapes and poses. Playmakers in Okemos, MI does a great job of breaking up its large footwear walls with apparel displays and mannequins.

possible, such as near accessories, the cash wrap area (on mannequins) or ideally, in your footwear department.

By expanding your shoe wall and making room for apparel there, your customers are sure to be exposed to what’s new. Don’t give them any excuses to miss your apparel.

By strategically peppering it around the store, the idea

of buying something new for their next workout will become more exciting as they continue to browse. The idea is that they keep thinking about it and every time they’re exposed to another great outfit, they get more and more excited about bringing something home with them.

Give this a try, you’ll be surprised at what a difference some cross-merchandising can make. n

Need To Know More: Go Online With Holly Wiese

Run specialty retailers looking for help with their store design and visual merchandising can soon get it online as 3 Dots Design, the well-known retail and merchandising consulting firm that specializes in the specialty run and bike channels, is launching a collection of online training courses starting on March 15 on their website (

Holly Wiese, founder of 3 Dots Design, says that she has been asked by retailers for training support frequently over the years and has been trying to develop a very affordable, quick and easy training program that is more accessible for retailers who don’t want to hire her company to come visit their store and provide more comprehensive in-person training. This online option will be a significantly more cost effective way to receive educational training for themselves and their staff.

The course offering will continue to grow, but the initial launch will include several course options such as one devoted to footwear presentations, merchandising difficult product categories and general best practices for visual merchandising and store design. Other training courses being developed for a later launch include topics such as merchandising apparel, merchandising to women and others still in development.

Most courses are 30-60 minutes with a quiz at the end to summarize the key training points. The pricing will range approximately from $99-$250, depending on length and complexity of the course. All of the details of the courses will be launching on their website on March 15, so be sure to check in soon for details. Any questions for more information:

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Fleet Feet Montclair integrates athletic leg forms into its apparel wall to catch customers’ eyes and better show off features of bottoms and compression socks. Fleet Feet Youngstown greets shoppers at the door with this torso from on nesting tables that feature branded apparel and accessories.
Helping Runners RECOVER BETTER™ Serving Run Specialty Since 1991


What running retailers are wearing on the run in 2024

Running Insight’s now annual “What Retailers Are Wearing” feature curated by senior writer Danny Smith queries run specialty store leaders about the gear they’re grabbing when they head out for a run these days. Highlighting run shop leaders from four diverse regions of the U.S., these pages showcase the selection of energizing product from vendors of all sizes and the vibrancy of solutions available from head to toe.

The feature also underscores just how varied personal tastes can be. None of the four spotlighted retailers in this year’s edition, for instance, selected the same footwear brand or the same sock brand – and a total of 23 different vendors are represented across the feature.

So, from Alaska to SoCal, Arkansas to Brooklyn, take a look at what four run specialty veterans are sporting when they hit the road or the trail.

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anti chafing anti blister ™ FOR BODIES THAT MOVE © 202 4 B o d y G lid e bo d y glide . c o m endurance insuranc e ® since 1996

Sarah Stafford is the director of marketing at the Brooklyn Running Company, which boasts two locations in Brooklyn, NY.

Bandit SoftSpeed Headband

“Soft, moisture-wicking and keeps my ears warm during New York winter runs.”

Goodr A Ginger’s Soul sunglasses

“They’re fun, fashionable and they don’t slip. I love that Goodr has an amazing Instagram presence, too.”

Tracksmith Inverno Gloves

“My hands are always cold. It’s a curse. But these gloves, while lightweight, keep me warm.”

RUN BKLYN Originals rabbit Low Light Zip

“This is our store-branded apparel line, which allows me to represent our borough and our store.”

Ciele Athletics GoCap

“It’s a high quality, moisture-wicking hat. This specific one was custom made for my track team here (shoutout Friendship Track Club!), which makes it extra special.”

Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer

“It’s warm and lightweight – everything you’d want in a base layer – while also being cute enough to wear outside of the run.”

rabbit Strappy Pocket Bra

“The pocket in back is big enough for my phone and doesn’t bounce.”

Coros Apex 2

“This GPS watch gives me all the data I need and more, which helps me understand where I’m at with my training. I can pre-program workouts on the watch and the battery lasts for days.”

Bandit SoftSpeed Cold Weather Run Tight

“I’m 5’7” and have trouble finding tights long enough for my legs. These are just right, though, with high-quality fabric and a lot of pockets.”

Bandit BKLYN MILE Socks

“Bandit is one of our partners for the BKLYN MILE and the custom sock they’ve designed for the event is comfortable and iconic on the streets of Brooklyn.”

Brooks Hyperion Max

“The Hyperion Max has a lot of cushioning, yet still feels fast and snappy, which is why it’s my go-to shoe for tempo runs and track work.”

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“I have prescription Trail Torch lenses in these sunglasses and they’re awesome. Whether I’m running in and out of trees or at dusk, I can always see.”

Ciele Athletics GoCap

“It’s just a comfy running hat that fits well, breathes well and comes in cool colors.”

“A shirt that has a super soft material and feels great against the skin.”

“I have a few different Coros models, but the Pace 3 is the one I wear for road running. It’s super easy to use, accurate and so light you barely notice it’s there.”

“The materials are nice, the pockets are many and the side splits are great for range of motion. One caveat: I cut out the liners on these and virtually all running shorts because I prefer my own boxer briefs.”

Injinji Sport

Original Weight Mini-Crew

“We don’t currently carry Injinji in our store, but hopefully will someday. The cushioning is spot-on and the individual toe sleeves eliminate any chance of blisters between my toes.”

“The new version of the

is definitely more stable, so it’s a comfortable and supportive ride I can use for a wide range of workouts, from a long run to a tempo run.”

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Scott LaRuffa is the general manager at the Mission Viejo location of A Snail’s Pace, a well-known chain of independent running stores in southern California. rabbit EZ Tee Coros Pace 3 rabbit FKT 7” shorts ASICS Novablast 4 Novablast Oakley Flak 2.0 Sunglasses

Melissa Vitale is the owner – er, make that the Chief Running Officer – at True Grit Running Company in Fort Smith, AR.

True Grit Running Visor by Boco Gear

“I’m definitely a visor girl and this is my go-to visor. It’s light and has a stretchy back band. Better yet, it totally represents True Grit.”

Oiselle Flyout Long Sleeve Top

“I like the lightness of the material, the breathability and the watch windows and thumbholes on both sleeves. It’s also a very flattering top.”

Brooks Drive Convertible Run Bra 2.0

“I got a sample of this run bra at The Running Event a few months back and was blown away. It’s coming out this summer and I can’t wait to get it in other colors.”

Balega Hidden Comfort Socks

“I fell in love with Balega socks before I even opened True Grit back in 2016. I won a pair at a running store and then bought a ton at a race expo later. Day after day, these socks withstand anything I throw at them.”

Garmin fenix 5S Plus

“I got this watch when it first came out, probably five years ago, and it’s still going strong. I previously had a Forerunner 15 and moving from that to this fenix was like going from a toy watch to controlling a space shuttle. It’s wild how much it does.”

Oiselle Long Pocket Jogger Shorts

“These Oiselle shorts stay put and have all the pockets I need – five in all – so I can carry gels and my phone.”

Mizuno Wave Rider 27

“The Rider 27 has Goldilocks-level cushioning: not too much, not too little. Having had a knee replacement, I don’t want to feel like I’m tripping over my feet, so the sleekness of the Wave Rider is ideal.”

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“Walo” Orozco, a native Californian who works at Skinny Raven in Anchorage, confesses he’s still getting accustomed to winter running in Alaska, even after more than five years of living in The Last Frontier.

Skida Beanie and Alpine Neckwarmer

“Skida is a brand popular among skiers, but the company’s beanie and neckwarmer work great for me on the run. The fabric is super technical and the designs are fashionable.”

Craft Hybrid Weather Glove

“These gloves are reflective, windproof and really warm for being so light. If my hands get too warm, I can always tuck away the covering.”

On Weather Jacket

“It’s windproof and water resistant, which is perfect for winter running out here and also packable if I get warm.”

Janji Repeat Merino Long Sleeve

“This top is soft and thermoregulating, which makes it great for a base layer. And Merino is awesome. It doesn’t hold odor, so I can get a couple wears without it being stinky.”

Nike Men’s Dri-FIT Element 1/2 Zip Long Sleeve

“This is ideal as a second layer. Even if I take off my shell, this top is still keeping me warm.”

Craft ADV Essence Warm Tights

“I’m normally a split short or half tights guy, but that doesn’t fly in the winter up here. These tights keep me warm and have a brushed interior fabric that’s super comfy.”

Darn Tough Close Encounters Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock

“Over long miles in the cold winter, these socks fit nice and snug to my feet so I don’t have to double up on socks. They are a wool synthetic blend and, again, we love the thermoregulation.”

Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX Spike

“It’s a studded shoe, so it helps keep me on my feet. And I like the cushioning and the fact the shoe still feels natural, even when I’m on the streets.”

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Step Up To the Bra Bar!

The Iowa Running Company converts a lonely hallway into a lively space for personalized bra fittings. / By

Though a sports bra is a necessary component of a female runner’s fitness wardrobe, many running stores struggle to sell the undergarment at a pace reflecting that essential need. One Iowa-based running shop is working to make sure that’s not the case under its roof.

Last August, the Iowa Running Company (IRC) debuted The Bra Bar at its Cedar Rapids storefront.

A space fronted by saloon-style doors and called out by a vintage neon sign hanging overhead that reads “The Bra Bar,” the roughly 100-square-foot space features a hefty assortment of sports bra styles and sizes from five different manufacturers alongside personalized service from the aptly named Bratenders.

“The Bra Bar is a designated space for women to feel comfortable and confident when shopping for the perfect sports bra,” IRC’s Instagram account blared on Aug. 10, 2022, to celebrate The Bra Bar’s opening. “Let’s face it, sports bra shopping might be one of the most frustrating experiences for women and our goal is to help make it slightly less terrible.”

Creating a Unique Space

The Bra Bar idea originated with IRC’s female staff members, who understand the importance of a sports bra to female runners yet felt the category languishing at IRC.

“We wanted to create a welcoming space for women, one where they could ask questions, be supported by staff and buy a bra that worked for them,” explains Anna Herber-Downey, a sales associate and Bratender at the seven-year-old running store. “Many women don’t realize just how important the bra is – at least not until they get one that fits right – and that’s exactly what we wanted to change.”

To create the novel store-within-a-store

concept, IRC leadership transformed a 12-foot-long hallway leading to a side exit into a dedicated bra emporium. The Bra Bar opened with 14 styles and more than 30 sizes.

“It’s a small space, but it does the trick,” Herber-Downey says. “It still a clear part of the store, yet private when it needs to be.”

The physical space and inventory,

however, were only one part of the equation.

As many women are far more comfortable talking about sports bras and being fitted by another woman, the store pulled in a Brooks rep for training of its female staffers. Store leadership then tries to have a Bratender on duty at all times.

In a process that mimics a footwear fitting, a Bratender asks a customer what she’s

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The bratenders at Iowa Running Company are trained in fitting and are committed to providing the personal, individualized attention women want when purchasing a running bra.

looking for in a bra, using cases and past experiences before providing personalized guidance on sizing and having her try on multiple options.

“The whole idea is to give individualized attention to the sports bra,” says HerberDowney, adding that many of the shop’s female customers have never been fitted for a sports bra before and appreciate the help of an empathetic, in-theknow staff member. “We see the value one-on-one attention creates in footwear and we’re bringing that same energy and focus to bras.”

An Evolving Effort

Herber-Downey calls customer feedback to The Bra Bar “outstanding.” Women, she says, are so excited to find a bra that works for them and many have returned to purchase additional bras. Yet more, the unique service distinguishes IRC from its commercial rivals, shining a spotlight on the store’s customer-centric approach and commitment to customer success.

“It’s proof we want to have one-on-one care with our clients and that we want to create a supportive environment for our female customers that addresses their needs and helps them reach their goals,” Herber-Downey says.

Over the last 18 months, IRC leadership and the Bratenders have consistently evaluated ways to promote The Bra Bar and elevate its experience. Many of the store’s female staff regularly tout The Bra Bar on their own social media channels and the store introduced an online scheduling system last summer allowing customers

to book appointments with Bratenders.

IRC also co-hosted a Bras and Brunch event with a local Pilates studio, the type of offsite event Herber-Downey and her fellow Bratenders believe

they can replicate more often.

“We’re definitely capable of taking The Bra Bar on the road,” Herber-Downey says.

Moving forward, IRC looks to expand its inventory and share an even more diverse collection

of solutions with its customers. Store leadership also plans to heighten The Bra Bar’s presence on social media.

“We want to show people we’re here to support them,” Herber-Downey says. n

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Iowa Running’s Bra Bar is a roughly 100-square-foot space stocked with dozens of bra styles and sizes. The store-within-astore concept provides the shop’s female customers a private, comfortable area for one-on-one fittings.



Junk’s new spring designs are made to be ready to pair with all the newest running gear.

MSRP: $16.99

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Run apparel trends race ahead in 2024.


From the Olympic podium to the design room, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone embraces versatility as both an athlete and entrepreneur and now New Balance is celebrating her as a fashion icon of sport and culture with her personally designed Signature Collection. The Collection features unisex performance and lifestyle products with exclusive footwear and apparel and includes a hand selected neutral color palette and personal touches. Highlighting the collection is an exclusive, limited-edition colorway of the new FuelCell Rebel v4. MSRP: $140.

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Runur’s three-inch split shorts feature a nylon liner that is reverse stitched for an irritation-free experience, along with two pockets to help runners carry cell phones and other essentials.

MSRP: $68

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Mod Stage Apparel’s Endure Bungee High Neck Bra features a lace-up back bungee detail and removable cups for adjustable coverage. MSRP: $60

Pynyrs’ Sydney Performance Running Hoodie has a fitted upper and a relaxed lower body fit, with zippered side panels for adjustable lower body fit and hidden thumbholes. MSRP: $150

Rather than using a traditional wind shell fabric, the Shadow Wind Hoodie from Outdoor Research uses a light, bluesign-approved stretch-woven fabric that’s stretchy and comfortable for all kinds of active uses. That’s paired with a stowable, adjustable hood, a single chest and two hand pockets and a simple silhouette. MSRP: $129

Territory Run’s latest Long Haul Cap is The Psychedelic. It is lightweight, breathable and moisture wicking and offers a crushable brim and laser cut venting. MSRP: $39

Le Bent’s Blueys Five Panel Run Cap is for running, hiking or backcountry touring with a moisturewicking sweatband and laser cut perforations on the side panels that offer breathability. Made with UPF 50+ rated recycled polyester for sun protection and an adjustable shock cord and toggle to help create a secure fit. MSRP: $59.99

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The ChicknLegs eight-inch half-tights feature a black mesh liner to keep everything in place and prevent chafing, two side phone pockets, an inside key pocket and an elastic waistband. MSRP: $35


Made from soft S.Café recycled polyester mesh, Royal Robbins’ ReadyDry underwear dries three times faster than cotton, breathes to keep runners cool and permanently resist odors. MSRP: $30

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Beyond Yoga designs activewear and lifestyle items for every size, shape, moment and movement. Created from performance fabrics, and designed with gentle, non-restrictive support. Styles pictured: Spacedye Motivate Cropped Tank in Pink Bloom Heather, MSRP: $72; Spacedye Keep Pace Biker Short in Pink Bloom Heather, MSRP: $68

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Alwrld’s Spring 2024 World Collection blends style and quality with a sustainable DNA. Pictured: ALRN Vent Back Tee, MSRP $88; Mesh 5” N.B.P Short, MSRP $88; ALRN Crop Bra, MSRP $58; ALSPRT Core Tight, MSRP $88

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The Pressio Elite 3” Short features EcoTech Mesh, for enhanced ventilation with new-generation recycled yarns. Combining high filament PET and PTT fibers in a helix formation, stretchiness is achieved without the need for elastane, providing moisture management and staying lighter while reducing the risk of abrasion. The upcycled fabric uses recycled PET water bottles. MSRP: $50

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The Orange Jacket from Houdini is a light and packable waterproof shell jacket that takes up no more space than a small orange. This garment was nicknamed The Orange because the brief to the design team was to create a fully waterproof, stowable shell jacket no bigger than an orange in its packed state. MSRP: $320


Wondery Outdoors’ Salton Packable Windbreaker is lightweight, quick-drying, breathable, tear-resistant, durable and has two-way stretch. It seals out the wind for warmth and wind burn-resistance and even packs down into a pillow. MSRP: $115

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The women’s Luxe Tank from Brooks features soft fabric plus a run-ready fit that follows every move — whether that’s to the track or to the couch. It follows the shape of the body, with some breathing room for unrestricted movement and the new GO2 fabric provides a buttery soft, smooth feel and breathability. MSRP: $45

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The Vital fabric collection from MPG features a High-Waisted Run Tight for running, training and medium to high-intensity workouts, combined with the Vital Medium Support Run Bra. The tights offer moisturewicking, quick-drying and compression properties with a soft feel, while the bra boasts moisture-wicking, quick-drying and compression properties with adjustable straps, removable cups and adjustable closure at the back for a comfortable, customizable fit.

MSRP: Leggings, $88; Bra, $64

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The Saucony Elite Tight offers lightweight support with wicking and drying and has a flat front and back waistband treatment. These tights zip at the hem to accommodate taking the tights on/off with shoes on. MSRP: $110

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La Sportiva’s Freccia Short is available in both men’s and women’s and is a lightweight and breathable trail running short designed with a technical waistband construction to provide comfort. The reflective detailing promotes visibility in low light conditions.

MSRP: $65 Men; $59 Women. Photo of Kelly Wolf ©Evan Ruderman — c/o La Sportiva N.A.

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Saxx’s Hightail 2N1 Run Short is equipped with Kinetic Light-Compression Mesh Liner and the BallPark Pouch Pro, providing men with performance-level support and stability. MSRP: $68

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Hoka’s All Gender Race Day Tank is a race-ready tank designed for all genders and runners – road and trail alike – and is made from an ultralight stretch woven material and punctuated with a perforated chest logo. It is constructed with a durable water-repellency treatment. MSRP: $78


The RC short by New Balance is tailored for comfort, with a built-in brief and moisture-wicking four-way stretch fabric that blends well with the brand’s running shoes. MSRP: $65

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The Race Short by On Running is 96 percent polyester and 14 percent elastane with a bonded side seam with side slit, competition approved storage solution and adjustable waist Integrated inner boxer. MSRP: $120

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The Women’s Prism Training Shorts from Sugoi provide close-to-the-body support with a plush-feeling fabric that repels moisture quickly, in addition to Active Plush circular knit fabric that provides moisture wicking and breathability. MSRP: $84.99

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The Mathis Core Tee from Roark delivers the performance required for a trail run or workout, while maintaining the styling of a favorite tee. Constructed from a lightweight DriRelease Jersey Knit, the shirt regulates skin temperature and dries four times faster than a typical cotton tee. MSRP: $49. The runner on left is wearing five-inch Alta Shorts made from a lightweight four-way stretch nylon with a water-resistant finish. MSRP: $85. Runner on right is wearing five-inch Baja Shorts constructed from a polyester spandex blend, making it quick drying and mobile. MSRP: $66

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Anita’s 5544 Air Control DeltaPad provides support and constant air circulation with breathable, triangular DeltaPad foam cups. Additional comfort and support details include extra-flat seams, a perforated underbust seam, a breathable mesh section lined with power tulle in the back and ergonomically shaped, fully padded straps available in two widths depending on the bra size. MSRP: $89

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Paradis Sport’s seamless bikini features a soft elastic at the leg openings to prevent bunching and a reinforced waistband stitching for durability. It is designed to stay in place to prevent wedgies and chafing and wicks moistures and dries fast.

MSRP: $30

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Free Fly Apparel’s Active Breeze Lined Short-Blue Dusk II is made with a light and airy fabric and soft boxer brief liner. The short features a wide-knit waistband for added, stay-put support while sewndown pockets keep phone and keys from bouncing around while running. MSRP: $84

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The Sunchaser 50 Hooded Long Sleeve by Janji is a breathable UPF 50 to provide all-day sun and wind protection. No reapplying necessary. MSRP: $128

Saysky’s Flow Collection offers runners a next-toskin feeling, ventilation and fast drying times. The collection is expanding with summer-ready styles.

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Craft’s Pro Hypervent Jacket is made with woven lightweight ripstop fabric and offers ventilation at the sides and back yoke, offering a multi-use jacket designed to keep runners cool and comfortable for high-intensity workouts. MSRP: $140

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Nathan’s HyperNight Stealth Jacket features a reflective camo half tone print, combined with subtle stretch super soft fabric, that allows runners, walkers and hikers to move in silence and safety any time of day or night. MSRP: $120

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Rabbit’s Sunset Splitz race shorts feature laser-cut and bonded construction, split leg design, breathable perfs across the back and ice cafe nylon in the liner. Two front liner pockets can fit keys or nutrition.

MSRP: $60

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The Kor Airshell Hoody from Mountain Hardwear is a do-it-all, ultra-light stretch shell made with breathable Pertex Quantum Air fabric. With a redesigned construction for improved fit, this durable yet breathable jacket rebuffs light moisture and alpine gusts thanks to the Pertex fabric and stows in its internal pocket. MSRP:$150

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Nominations Are Open! Best Running Stores of 2024 Nominations close Thursday, March 21!
Running Event’s annual awards program recognizes the run specialty retailers who have proven their dedication to customer service, community, and the industry. Have a favorite running store? Tell us why they should a 2024 Best Running Store. Learn more and submit a nomination today: The 2024 Best Running Stores will be honored at The Running Event, taking place November 19-21 in Austin, Texas. SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATIONS


Sockwell’s Women’s Pulse KneeHigh offers graduated compression, stabilizing muscles to absorb impact and reduce fatigue, while helping aid faster recovery by promoting circulation. Made in the USA of homegrown Merino wool and bamboo rayon that keeps feet dry, regulates temperature and is blisterresistant. MSRP: $29.99

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OS1st’s Wicked Comfort Performance Socks offer a 200-needle cushion for those who prefer a plush sock fit. Wicked is also the debut of its Dry1st technology to wick away moisture and the continuation of its Comformance yarns for durability. MSRP: $15.99

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CEP’s Ultralight Compression Socks are the brand’s lightest and thinnest socks, featuring a ventilation zone in the calf that continuously cycles in fresh air to keep runners cool, along with medical-grade compression in the ankle and calf help to minimize injuries. MSRP: $59.95 (Ultralight Tall)

Wrightsock’s Distance sock is made from 200 needle construction and recycled yarns and features a seamless toe, moisture management, ventilation mesh for breathability, an anatomical heel pocket and medium cushion foot padding. MSRP: $16

Darn Tough’s Women’s Element No Show Tab Lightweight has been updated with a new tech foot, with mesh venting to keep feet cool on hot runs. MSRP: $18

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Injinji’s Run Lightweight No-Show is made to fit securely and comfortably and is designed with moisturewicking CoolMax EcoMade fibers and arch support, integrated form-fitting fibers, breathability, a contoured fit that shapes and molds to the foot and a durable interior to reduce snags. MSRP: $14

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Jogology has expanded its collection of Low Cushion Socks to include more colors. Jogology socks are engineered for running comfort, resembling the construction of running shoes by securing the heel and midfoot while allowing flexible toe movement. MSRP: $16

SockGuy’s SGX socks are made from a thin, moisture-wicking yarn to keep feet cool and blister-free. They have a mesh upper for airflow and arch support so they stay put and a compression-style cuff to fight leg fatigue. MSRP: $15.95

When the makers of Darn Tough discovered that most people wear socks that are too tight, they formed the Wide Open brand of socks with durability and stretch to fit wide feet, ankles and calves. Merino Wool provides moisture wicking and antimicrobial properties, they also feature Comfort Stitch Cushioning. MSRP: $20

Last year Feetures introduced its Elite Ultra Light Invisible. This year the brand adds a light cushion weight that can offer more comfort and versatility. This sock features mesh ventilation, a higher heel tab with durable Heel Hugger 2.0 silicone tape and is made with a lightweight microfiber nylon. MSRP: $18

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The Falke RU Compression Stabilizing compression running sock is designed to stabilize the ankle and reduce the risk of injury. By compressing the ankle area, it activates sensors and enhances the muscles’ baseline tension, offering an additional layer of protection and support. MSRP: $30

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Produced by: Join us in 2024 Contact your dedicated account representative or email to get the conversation started. *Data from TRE 2023 post-event survey Exhibit at The Running Event 2024 NOV 19 – 21 / AUSTIN, TX Get in early! Reserve your booth at TRE 2024 today. TRE 2023 at a Glance [TRE is a] great resource for making connections and finding new products and resources. Wonderful conglomeration of brands and current vendors/reps to make it easy to meet.” – TRE 2023 Attendee 1,499+ specialty retailers and event management professionals 167 media professionals 9 in 10 exhibitors are projected to return to TRE 2024 More than 4 in 5 attendees plan to attend TRE 2024

One More Thing: Culture Sock

Every running shoe (sale) demands a running sock (sale). It starts at the top. / By Tom Griffen

Iknow a lot of shoe geeks, but I can’t say I’ve ever crossed paths with someone who’s similarly enthused by socks. And why would they be? Socks are up against some tough competition.

Socks, regardless of their intrinsic value, play a passive role in the footwear setup. And no matter how colorful their aesthetic or fanciful their fibers they take second billing to the sexier, tech-heavy and attention-commanding shoe. And really, this should come as no surprise since socks are, quite literally, hidden. All their good work is done in the dark. Their efficacy is distracted by their flashier external counterparts. Socks simply can’t win.

But what we mustn’t forget is that socks and shoes are symbiotic — one always works better with the other. Putting a low-quality sock in a highquality shoe is like driving around on a spare tire donut. It may get you to where you’re going, but don’t expect it to be a smooth or joyful ride.

But I’m preaching to the choir here, because run specialty as a whole knows that socks matter. Still, given the industry’s collective ratio of socks sold compared to shoes, it’s obvious that this belief in socks stops abruptly at the top. Socks have potential to be the heroes of your future business, and the harbingers of your customer’s running success.

Let’s look at a five ways to activate your belief in socks and bring them to life in your store:

1. TAP INTO SOCK LOGIC: The best fit is a complete fit. And a complete shoe fit builds the customer’s setup from the bare foot, outward. Since you know how important technical socks are to the ultimate fit, before anything else, the customer’s bare foot should get a sock.

Only then is it ready for a shoe. Your fitting process will benefit from insisting that every shoe tried on is done so with a top-notch sock. Frankly, it’s the most logical way to proceed.

2. STOP SELLING SOCKS: Stores that recognize the importance of teaching people about socks (or about anything, really), will sell more. One hundred percent of your shoe customers will benefit from a good sock, so take the time to teach them why socks matter. Glean relevant details from the customer’s story to make it easy to put the sock in their world, then do just that. “You told me you’re managing hot spots, so I’d like to show you some socks that can remedy that. Here’s how they work…” Get good at teaching and you’ll get great at selling.

3. TELL SOCK STORIES: When your team understands sock tech and has a grasp of the brand’s driving mission, they’re more likely to share these details with customers. And who doesn’t love a good story? Every sock brand has an origin tale that inevitably makes the sock more interesting. Why did they start making socks? Is there a charitable component to their sales? Where are they based? Why do they care so much about socks in the first place? A story told well will sell.

4. FEED THE TEAM SOCKS: Your staff may know how to talk about the socks on your wall, but do they have any personal context to deepen their knowledge? Give socks to your team like candy, then (and here’s the kicker) get your folks talking about their active experiences with them. What did they love? What makes it work? A smart sock vendor will make sure your

sales team never runs out of socks, so regularly leverage your brands for freebies. Your team is more likely to adore socks like shoes if they have an intimate relationship with each pair in your inventory.


Customers who still believe a department store pack of tube socks is the smart move will surely balk when you tell them one technical pair costs as much as their dozen. To get them in the sock game, you need to make their first technical experience an accessible one. And once they are in, they’ll in for life. Maybe the sock + shoe purchase has a heftier sock discount? Maybe you’re flat out giving that first sock away? Regardless, the sock moment is an investment in the future—both yours and the customer’s. It’s okay to take a hit today because they’ll surely be back for more.

Getting Excited About Socks!

You’re always going to have a team of people who are excited to talk about shoes. Your goal is to get them equally stoked about socks. If your sock culture insists on logical education, sock storytelling, customer relatability, and a solid initial deal, you’ll build a team of exuberant sock slingers who are keen to highlight that first layer of fit that makes every shoe perform better. Your sock excitement will become their sock excitement. Which undoubtedly will lead to a roster rich in sock geeks.

Imagine a future where every shoe customer leaves with (at least) one sock. Imagine how much extra business that will add to your bottom line. It can happen — and it’s up to you to set the stage to make it so. n

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The Running Apparel/Fashion Issue

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