Running Insight 5.1.2020

Page 1

Continuing COVID-19 Coverage


MAY 1, 2020


NATURAL CAUSES A sustainability message has become a staple in the run community.


The Running Spirit Lives On No pandemic is going to stop run specialty retailers from doing what they do best. Our list of the 10 Best efforts.


Cover Photo: Adidas

tore closures, cancelled group runs, disrupted shipments and layoffs have not stopped run retailers from working extremely hard at maintaining their community in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past month since the impact of the coronavirus has really hit home for run specialty retailers, Running Insight has been reporting on the creative ways our readers have been serving their customers in a challenging environment. (Thanks to RI contributor Daniel. P. Smith for his reporting on many of these endeavors.) While their stories can be read in entirety on, we have chosen what we feel are the 10 Best initiatives unveiled by run specialty retailers in response to the current retail climate. The spirit of run specialty certainly lives on. So in no particular order of importance, our 10 Best ... 1. Run Solo 2020 5K Series Run Solo 2020 was created with the sole purpose of giving runners something to look forward to while raising much-needed funding for running stores, clubs and school teams. The Run Solo Project is a collection of three different virtual challenges. The first is a four-week virtual 5K race series that started April 27 and ends on May 24. “Alongside our event management company, we also own two specialty running stores in Southern California,” the organizers point out. “After the idea of the Run Solo Project was created, we thought we should unite and support other owners across the nation.” 2. Lincoln Runnning’s Bike Delivery Longtime manager and biking enthusiast

Lincoln Running Company switched from foot power to pedal power to deliver to shut-in customers.

Ann Ringlein at Nebraska’s Lincoln Running Company has been making product deliveries on her bike to customers up to of 40 miles away. It’s a move that saves the store on shipping costs, keeps the ever-energized Ringlein moving and demonstrates the store’s can-do spirit. She even has tossed in a special treat on Monday deliveries: tubs of cookie dough from the Cookie Co., a fellow small business in downtown Lincoln. 3. Palmetto Running’s Earth Day Plog Palmetto Running Company had a number of significant events planned throughout April and May in conjunction with its Eco Initiative. But when they were cancelled they decided to combine them all into a virtual Earth Day Plog. So on April 22 runners were asked to run/walk/skip while also picking

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up litter around town. Participants then posted photos using hashtag #prcecoplog. 4. Fleet Feet Fort Wayne’s Virtual Pub Runs Every Wednesday for the past month Fleet Feet Fort Wayne has been using Zoom Meetings to conduct its own free Virtual Pub Runs. The runs start at 6 p.m. and each participant runs on their own from home for approximately three miles. After the run the participants then settle in and join fellow runners for the Fleet Feet Virtual Pub on Zoom Meetings. Those who participate are entered into a live drawing for free giveaways and one participant with the craziest drinking costume receives an exclusive limited-edition Fleet Feet Victory Beer Bomber. Another participant with the best on-screen Pub Background also wins.

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5. Shoes and Brews’ “Run Together, Separate” “Run Together, Separate” is the theme of Shoes and Brews, based in Longmont, CO, inaugural event last month. The store owners asked, “How can we motivate our community to come together, while not being together? How can we keep S&B going strong? The answer was the Shoes & Brews Run Together, Separate, which consisted of a 5K, 10K or half marathon run over the three days on local trails, roads or around the house. The $25 registration included a $25 Gift Card to Shoes & Brews, mailed directly to the runner and a limited-edition sticker — 1st Edition Run Together, Separate run. Runners just needed to send in a picture or video of them getting those miles in and they will receive a free sticker from its partners at StickerGiant. 6. Dick Pond’s Chalk the Walk Dick Pond Athletics Carol Stream location unrged its runners to literally hit sthe streets – and sidewalks and driveways – for its “Chalk Your Walk” campaign, urging people to share encouraging notes and images around town during a late March weekend. From pictures of rainbows and wide-grinned suns to optimistic messages and inspirational quotes, runners and walkers in suburban Chicago received a dose of positivity. While Dick Pond customers continue posting photos of the gleeful creations they crafted themselves or discovered on their own runs and walks, the retailer is hoping the earnest effort continues to gain momentum. 3

7. Sayville Running and Smithtown Running Run Around the World Two run specialty shops – Sayville Running Company and Smithtown Running Company on Long Island, NY – have hosted a Run Around the World: A (Social) Distance Project. Beginning in early April, the $30 virtual event challenged participants to accumulate miles over the month of April together. The more miles the group completes, the more everyone wins. If the group collectively ran the length of the U.S. (2802 miles), all participants, regardless if they’ve logged a one-mile walk or 100 miles on local streets, receive a $20 gift card. If the group traversed the entire circumference of the globe (24,901 miles), participants earn a $30 gift card. If the group successful looped the world twice, the running stores will award $40 gift cards. The brainchild of Smithtown Running Company manager Mike Petrina, Run Around the World builds off the stores’ popular February Challenge, a now-annual event that tasks participants to run every day in February. 8. Medved Running Charges Into E-commerce After planning for months to launch on online store, Medved Running & Walking Outfitters in Rochester, NY, motivated the family-owned run specialty shop to speed up the timetable and get it done as its brick-andmortar store remains closed to the public. “The online store’s been going well,” reports Dan

Sayville Running and Smithtown Running have taken their customers around the world as part of what it calls a (Social) Distance Project last month.

Medved, second-generation owner of the 36-year-old retail outlet that bears his surname. “We had been working on flipping the switch [with e-commerce], and COVID-19 put a charge into that.” On March 19, Medved’s online store went live with thousands of products ranging from topof-the-line performance running footwear to reflective vests and energy gels. “In the short-term, e-commerce is the most efficient way to make sales and service customers,” Medved says. “An online store doesn’t replace the sit and fit, but, in both the short term and moving forward, it’s another way for us to engage customers,” Medved says. 9. Movin’ Shoes Packages Some Running Gifts For the running partners who can’t be together in the age of social distancing, Madison, WI-based Movin’ Shoes crafted a clever solution: the Buddy Box. The $39.95 gift box, a price that includes shipping or delivery, includes goodr sunglasses, a

pair of Balega Hidden Comfort socks, one 0.35-ounce Body Glide and three nutritional items, such as energy gels, sport beans or bars, that customers can share with the favorite runners in their lives. Mov i n’ Sho es m a nager Thomas Breitbach says the Buddy Box – a name that pays homage to running partners everywhere as well as longtime employee Tim Gold, aka Buddy – is the result of some creative problem solving and an earnest desire to connect runners amid unprecedented times in American life. To order a Buddy Box, customers contact the shop, where staff then help customers select the sunglasses and socks for their running pal before packing the items, penning a personal note and getting the Buddy Box out the door. In its first week, Movin’ Shoes sold 20 Buddy Boxes, personally delivering boxes to local residents while also shipping the gift boxes to individuals in distant locales like New York and Colorado. The popularity of © 2020 Diversified Communications

The Running Spirit (continued) the offering even pushed Movin’ Shoes to re-order goodr sunglasses and Body Glide.

Philadelphia Runner asked its customers to run solo — and chalk the occasion.

AND SOME VENDOR EFFORTS ... Feetures Partners With Fleet Feet Performance sock brand Feetures partnered with Fleet Feet to donate up to 20,000 pairs of socks to medical professionals in select regions throughout the United States. The Buy One, Gift One program went into effect early last month and will run until every pair has been donated. Through the Buy One, Gift One program, customers can place Feetures sock orders for curbside pickup at their local Fleet Feet store and Feetures will match their purchase with a donation to medical professionals in select regions, up to 20,000 pairs. On Athlete Runs 100 Miles David Kilgore, an employee at On and a New York City resident, ran 100 miles on March 27 when he went back to his hometown of Palm Bay, FL, to raise awareness and donations for the communities needing it most. Donations made to his effort contributed to Gift Cards that Kilgore purchased from struggling New York City run specialty stores, which were then donated to area hospitals to provide front line medical workers supportive footwear while they 4

10. Philadelphia Runner Keeps Philly Running Rather than just choosing to put up with the temporary reality of no races or fun r uns, Philadelphia Runner embraced the forced transition with its PR Solo Challenge and an unwavering mission to #KeepPhillyRunning. Launched in mid-March, the campaign invited runners to share their miles and favorite local running routes, while store staff

are working long days keeping my city healthy.

have ma rked cou rses a nd hosted pop-up challenges with prizes. “With everything going on, we can all do our part to practice social distancing while staying socially connected,” Philadelphia Runner said upon announcing the PR Solo Challenge on Facebook, Instagram and email. Within one week of announcing the effort, the store boasted more than 1000 members in the group. On the PR Solo Facebook group, runners have celebrated personal bests and near bests as well as the positive jolt of energy a hard-charging run provided. n

Leslie Jordan Race Wraps Transition

Upper Quadrant Run Specialty Toolkit Upper Quadrant put together a collaborative space called the Run Specialty Toolkit, composed of resources, tips and recommendations that retailers can apply to their business (e.g.images, process maps, email templates, etc.) to navigate this dynamic environment. The aim of the toolkit is to help run specialty retailers launch into the virtual world and continue business within the boundaries of stay-at-home and social-distancing rules. Detailed tools in the toolkit can be found at run-specialty-toolkit. Superfeet Expands PPE Production With an original mission to help its local community hospitals and healthcare workers, Superfeet and its sister company Flowbuilt Manufacturing successfully produced and delivered 42,000 PAPR hoods to hospitals in the northwestern region of United States during the month of April. Keeping the momentum going, the company then made an additional 30,000 units for May to help meet continued demand.

Apparel supplier Leslie Jordan began promoting its Race Wraps as “more than just face shields and headbands.” In fact, they can be easily transformed into face masks. In a related move, Leslie Jordan also added cloth face masks to its product line. With a 100 percent cotton inner layer for breathability and comfort, and a printable poly outer layer, these masks are designed for non-medical use by the general public.

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PureRun FreeForm™ Hydration System

A REVOLUTION IN RUNNING HYDRATION Introducing the PureRun FreeForm™ Hydration Vest with integrated FreeForm™ Handhelds

Engineered and constructed to maximize run efficiency with effortless hydrate-to-hands-free™ performance Available February 2020 - Contact your sales rep or email 1-800-806-1288



Sustaining Momentum


ustainable products, despite a lack of focus in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are still good business for run specialty. A generally eco-conscious clientele has made sustainability a key factor in product development over the past few years. That’s because run specialty consumers have become more proactive in seeking out information regarding how – and where – their products are made, particularly as related to sustainability. In fact, demand 6

for eco-friendly offerings continues to grow across a wide spectrum of consumer categories, led by the outdoor market and certainly extending into run specialty. Key issues for the global athletic market include chemicals management, animal welfare, microfiber shedding in oceans and waterways, and carbon reduction strategies. Product design and the development and use of sustainable materials also figure prominently in the equation, with suppliers and brands prioritizing their efforts

accordingly. But while sustainability was at the fore in 2019 and was on track to accelerate its momentum this year, the global coronavirus pandemic could bring some of the progress to a temporary standstill, according to some industry experts. They contend that investments in sustainability programs by vendors and retailers will slow because the issue is not of primary concern right now. Long-term sustainability efforts can be expensive and many companies will

© 2020 Diversified Communications

Photo: Brooks Running

Sustainability efforts, from materials to product design, are making strides in the running market. / By Judy Leand


Sustaining Momentum (continued)

Still on Consumers’ Radar Coronavirus issues aside, “Consumers are demanding sustainable products, but it is somewhat dependent on the end-use market and the age of the consumer,” explains Hyosung global marketing 8

director-textiles Mike Simko. “Gen Z is taking a lead in pushing companies to fight climate change. Millennials are not far behind and older generations are becoming more sensitized to sustainability as well. “The outdoor and activewear markets have traditionally taken the lead in driving sustainable products,” he adds, “and trail runners’ passion for the outdoors is putting [those markets] at the head of that list.” While consumers were at one time reluctant to pay extra for sustainable products, a growing number of brands are now removing choice from the decision-making process by offering only eco-friendly options, many of which do not carry a price premium. “While it is possible that consumers are willing to pay more at retail, we’ve never asked that of them,” says Jeff Dean,

VP –operations at Nuun. “We made the choice six years ago to go completely non-GMO and absorbed those costs so that the price of our product remained unaffected.” At Cotopaxi, where sustainability has long been at the forefront, demand for sustainable goods is strong. “We are absolutely seeing a demand and expectation for sustainably sourced and manufactured products in both apparel and gear and we are thankfully able to offer such impact-driven items at no significant added cost to consumers,” says a company spokesperson. M i c h a el K a d o u s, h e a d of Adidas Outdoor, North America, has a similar outlook. “Sustainability plays a huge role for our trail run consumers,” he says. “We see and know the importance of supporting this action and therefore in our

More Run Retail Demand W.L. Gore & Associates also reports a rising interest in sustainability on the part of retailers, with a company spokesperson pointing out that at The Running Event last December, sustainability was a key topic among many runningfocused brands for the first time. “We believe retailers are looking for areas where they can do good from the perspective of sustainability,” the spokesperson says. “Areas where they can promote sustainability through products and community action definitely represents an opportunity.” © 2020 Diversified Communications

Photo: The North Face

be financially unstable as they emerge from this crisis after a significant period of low or no sales. Due to extensive closures of “non-essential” stores as well as some e-commerce websites, there is also a problem of unsold inventory — a particularly thorny issue when it comes to seasonal goods that may be difficult to sell at a later date. On a brighter note, this painful and destructive global health crisis isn’t permanent and the expectation is that sustainability will gradually regain importance once the spread of COVID-19 is brought to heel.

future seasons our trail runspecific products will become more sustainable.” Kadous believes that consumers should not be asked to pay more, although he has seen a trend where people are willing to pay a bit extra for the sustainable aspect of [a product]. He also notes that running specialty retailers are seeking out and requesting sustainable goods. To that point, “Sustainability is an important issue for our whole industry,” says David Kemp, sen ior ma nager of corporate responsibility at Brooks Running, who points to large retailers such as REI, M EC, Zappos a nd Dick’s Sporting Goods making sustainability performance of wholesale brands a factor in their purchasing. The brand is currently working on transitioning to recycled materials and bluesign approved fabrics, improving material efficiency and using only waterbased chemicals in footwear assembly.

As both an outdoors and running brand The North Face has long been pursuing the creation of sustainable product, emphasizes national specialty sales manager Pat Duca. “In many cases the consumer expects outdoor brands such as The North Face to be leading in sustainability and offering sustainable attributes in most or all of our products, which is why we have made driving sustainability a key initiative,” Duca says, with one caveat. “Rega rdless of sust a i nable content, consumers still remain price-sensitive and per for mance-m inded with their product choices. Keeping these factors in mind, we are constantly trying to offer the consumer a premium price-value while delivering more sustainable content in the line.” Suppliers such as Allied Feather & Down are also seeing a consumer trend toward sustainable options. “Consumers don’t have to pay more for sustainability and don’t have to sacrifice fashion or design either. It’s now easier for consumers to err on the side of sustainability,” says Matthew Betcher, Allied’s creative and marketing director. “For running brands, performance isn’t sacrificed for sustainability — sustainability is a given and a requirement, not just a marketing story. I don’t know how you could build a brand now without a strong sustainability platform, whether you talk about it or not.” Development and Initiatives For many brands in the running market, developing and incorporating sustainable materials into products has become 9

a focus. • ASICS has made advances in midsole foam innovation, with some footwear styles – most notably the recently launched Gel-Nimbus Lite – now incorporating a cellulose nanofiber (CNF) that’s a product of the sugarcane refining process. This nanofiber, which would typically end up in a landfill as waste, helps increase the durability and decrease the weight of the foam, aiding the runner as well as the environment. Additionally, the Gel-Nimbus Lite’s polyester upper, tongue, laces, heel counter and lining are all constructed using content from recycled plastic bottles, and the shoe is comprised of approximately 70 percent recycled material. ASICS has aggressive goals regarding recycled material use and cutting of emissions, is focused on using recycled polyesters across as many styles as it can source and is shifting towards recycled packaging. On the apparel front, the brand is using design practices such as seamless construction that produces less waste, and solution dye to use less water. In its Spring 2020 apparel line, 36 percent of global running styles are made from recycled fabric, with 50 percent of recycled polyester thread across all styles. ASICS is also using recycled trims and biodegradable poly bags, and is using 100 percent biodegradable yarns within all its seamless pieces. • Likewise, Brooks aims to use only recycled polyester by 2023 and 100 percent of its leather is sourced from Leather Working Group Gold-certified tanneries. Regarding product

design, “We track the pattern efficiency for each part of our footwear styles’ uppers and feed this back to our design team throughout the development process so they can make adjustments before we mass produce a shoe,” says Kemp. “Our goal is to empower designers to make smarter decisions that will reduce our products’ footprint.” • Over at Salomon, two connected initiatives – a brand effort called the Play Minded Program and the productfocused Circular Economy Principle – are intended to reduce environmental impact and enhance sustainable business practices. Play Minded concentrates on social and environmental responsibility and addresses the four topics of Players (consumers), the Playmakers (employees), the Playground (the planet) and the Play Toys (products). The Circular Economy is intended to reduce Salomon products’ impact by addressing product lifecycle, resource efficiency, durability and repair, business models and end-of-use. Specific to the running category, Salomon introduced its recyclable Concept Shoe late last year and is now developing more footwear to fulfill this strategy in 2021. (The Concept Shoe is made completely of TPU that can be ground down at the end of its life, then combined with original TPU and used to construct an alpine ski boot shell.) “The next step will be cascading this product principle on other footwear categories,” says Olivier Mouzin, project manager for Salomon’s Play Minded Program. “In parallel, we are incorporating more and more

“Regardless of sustainable content, consumers still remain price-sensitive and performance-minded with their product choices.” PAT DUCA THE NORTH FACE

recycled and bio-based materials into products that don’t fit in this strategy to reduce their environmental impact.” Salomon is not using much bio-sourced or bio-based materials in its footwear product, mainly because of the performance challenges. It is currently using pre-consumer recycled EVA for midsoles and rubber for outsoles. Olivier adds that Salomon is incorporating more recycled materials such as polyamide and polyester into fabrics for shoe uppers, is working on incorporating some bio-sourced content into midsoles for SS21 and FW21 and is looking to include bio-sourced materials in uppers. However, he reports that biosourced materials have usage and durability constraints, more so for footwear than apparel. • For Nikwax, sustainability is a priority and the company uses clean chemistry in its products, has energy-efficient operations and minimizes its carbon impact. “We have never used harmful, persistent PFCs or aerosols,” explains VP– marketing Heidi Dale Allen, pointing out that Nikwax products encourage consumers to not buy new, but to maintain the © 2020 Diversified Communications

Sustaining Momentum (continued)


natural materials and renewable resources — a new casual lifestyle creation from the brand’s iconic Originals line. “The goal is for the shoe to be crafted without plastics, bioplastics, or plastic derivatives,” says Shawn Hoy, Saucony’s VP–global product, explaining that the process of making the shoe will be different from current footwear manufacturing practices utilizing fewer steps and less electricity. By not using petroleum-based glues and threads, the Saucony biodegradable shoe is intended to be built using a similar stitching process from when the brand began making shoes in the late 1800s. Manufacturing and Production Experts believe that innovations in production will continue to gain traction worldwide in concert with consumer

For insole specialist OrthoLite, a vertically integrated supplier, investment in both R&D and the technology for the development of more sustainable solutions supports a two-prong approach, explains global director of marketing Dan Legor. “The ‘blue bucket’ approach is where we are utilizing recycled post-consumer waste such as recycled water bottles and sea plastic that can then be recycled again at the end of a product’s lifecycle,” he says. “The second aspect is the ‘green bucket’ approach, where we are developing 100 percent biobased solutions that will break down and be 100 percent compostable. We expect to see the introduction of several of these new innovations later in 2020.” Materials Take the Lead The use of sustainable and recycled materials is becoming more of a priority for both brands and suppliers, although concerns remain about how to reduce waste in supply chains and at the factory and how to use materials that are sustainable such as recycled and non-plastics. This involves operation transformation along with factories making adjustments in production and seeking ways to reuse or sell waste rather than dispose of it. For example, explains Jay Hertwig, SVP–global sales and marketing at Unifi, “yarn is a highly critical use case for recycled PET, as it goes into products including shoes, automobile seats, and apparel. This requires a product that is free of contamination and made to the highest recycled standards.” © 2020 Diversified Communications

Photo: Hyosung

gear they have to ensure it lasts longer. This year all of its product bottles are made from 100 percent recycled plastic, while also being fully recyclable. • Saucony has developed a sustainable performance running apparel line made from natural, organic and recycled materials, with nearly 100 percent of its garments including sustainable materials. The initiative also includes new recyclable hangtags free of previous UV coating. “Social responsibility and sustainability concerns have become a major platform for innovation and fueling change in the industry,” says Saucony president Anne Cavassa. “Our desire is to build the best performance running gear while also treading lightly on this earth.” On the footwear side, Saucony is developing its first biodegradable shoe made completely from

awareness. For example, shoe knitting technology is becoming more widespread, as several manufacturers, including Nike and Adidas, are utilizing the process because it results in less waste and reduced labor costs and lends itself to customization and speed to market. The ongoing digitization of the creation process, such as the use of more advanced CAD programs, is also gaining momentum. Digitization allows for access to better materials and is also an efficient way to create sample shoes. Digital resolutions are now extremely high, making it easy to see complex design details, and the use of 3D printing means that a brand can print a single shoe in multiple colorways, saving time and money in the selection process. At down supplier Allied, sustainability is ingrained across all areas. For example, on the processing side, which involves 14 to 17 steps, the company has lowered its use of detergent, uses waterless washing and has removed all palm oil – which is typically used in detergents and has a heavy environmental impact – from the manufacturing process. “Of tenti mes, ‘no -na me’ down, even if it’s certified, isn’t processed like that,” explains Betcher. “The use of heavy detergents, bleaches and harsh chemicals makes the material break down faster, so the end product may only last one season. Cheaply produced and processed material isn’t durable — it’s very brittle and loses technical performance. Brands may think they’re saving money on this material, but actually they’re not.”

Unifi and Repreve are committed to providing first-quality recycled materials. “Because we are buying bailed PET from MRFs [materials recovery facilities], we have additional steps – sorting, washing, chopping and filtering – in our process to make Repreve that are not necessary when using virgin PET resin,” he explains. Unifi has built the infrastructure to take curbside waste and turn it back into performance fibers. As demand grows for rPET, so does the need for recycling. Hartwig sees the Repreve brand as one way to raise awareness and excitement about the importance of recycling and increase PET bottle recovery rates.

As for natural materials, down – a byproduct of the food industry with a very low ecoimpact – has long been among the most sustainable in the market. “Running brands are demanding sustainable materials — it’s almost like a duty to be as sustainable as possible,” points out Allied’s Betcher. “If they are not sustainable or conservation-minded, it’s game over, particularly in communities where participants are active and engaged such as running and outdoor.” Consumers understand the origin of plastics, but it’s what happens to plastics afterwards that is of grave concern, he adds, while a return to all-natural

materials has opened up more possibilities while decreasing environmental impact. Wool, too, is a renowned natural and renewable performance material and is included in all of SmartWool’s products. “SmartWool often incorporates synthetic and man-made fibers to enhance product performance and durability. If and when that is done, it is in the most sustainable way possible,” says Ann Wiper, SmartWool’s VP and GMM. SmartWool recycles all of the cutting scrap from its Merino 250 product and use it as the insulation in its Smartloft products. Similar to its socks, the SmartWool Intraknit baselayer, launched

in 2019, is a zero-waste garment. Beyond that, as a brand it is using Science Based Targets to measure and reduce its carbon footprint. The Ultimate Challenges Of cou rse, t he move to sustainability isn’t without obstacles, as reported in FDRA’s Shoe Sustainability Survey, conducted in June-July 2019, that includes data from 120 footwear professionals across the industry working on materials, development and sourcing. The first of three main hurdles is the knowledge and ability to execute, second is that sustainability isn’t a priority for leadership and third is cost. The


(Discount applied to all orders when processed)

During this challenging time, we at Pro-Tec Athletics would like to do what we can to help support you. We realize many of you are forced to close doors but for those who are able to stay open or sell online we are offering FREE SHIPPING (some restrictions apply) now through the end of May on any size order. Even with social distancing in place, it is so important we continue to encourage people to remain active. Running is one of the best ways to stay healthy as it strengthens our immune system and relieves stress. Please let us know how else we can help. The run market is and will always remain our top priority. Sincerely, Pro-Tec Athletics


© 2020 Diversified Communications

Sustaining Momentum (continued)


adopt and evolve. For example, what impact will the product have on a large scale? Will the crops used cause deforestation? Transparency in the supply chain is critical — not everything can be recycled.” Hyosung’s Simko is on the same page. “While most people want what is best for the environment and the planet, there is not complete agreement as to what is the best method in terms of fiber/fabric production.” A good example is with biodegradable plastics. These materials can help resolve landfill issues and ocean plastics, but they return carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, so it may not be the best solution for those most concerned about global warming, he explains. Furthermore, says Simko, cost remains a challenge. New raw materials are typically more expensive than those they replace and initial volumes small.

offer a head-to-toe sustainable outfit, with the key piece being the Two Ultra Parley shoe that has an upper made of ocean recycled plastic (about 11 bottles are used in each pair). Sustainable Creation S a u c o ny’s H oy i d e n t i fies three key difficulties in the design and production of sustainable products: “For performance footwear, creating a truly elite running experience requires compounds that do not currently exist. Sustainable creation changes how we make a product, so we need to alter a supply chain and manufacturing process that has been developed over decades. And finally, consumer perception is that sustainable products look worse, cost more and perform worse than their traditional counterparts.” He is adamant that Saucony and other brands need to prove to run specialty retailers that “we can create products that are good for the earth, are better performing and better looking at the same price. And we will.” As most in the r unning market will agree, “the less impact a consumer, retailer or manufacturer can put on nature and the less stress we can all put into the grid, the longer we will be able to enjoy outdoor activities, such as trail running,” says Thomas Dixon, Ecco USA’s national sales/product manager, Outdoor. And looking ahead, maintains Saucony’s Hoy, “The U.S. is the biggest running market in the world. We need to deliver sustainable products that are going to disrupt and revolutionize this marketplace.” n © 2020 Diversified Communications

Photo: W.L. Gore

study also revealed that seven out of 10 companies have serious discussions on sustainability, yet only one in three has a sustainability program in place. Interestingly, 82 percent of respondents indicated that brands are responsible for sustainability, while 18 percent put the onus on suppliers and factories. The upshot is that two-thirds of the industry think sustainability is a priority — but cost, speed and quality remain more important. Greg Diharce, chief product officer at Matmarket, a global specialist in technology and materials development and sourcing, believes that the supply is limited for sustainable materials. “Companies should really vet these emerging materials and compounds because if they’re not scalable, they won’t be much help,” he says. “The key is to find technology that mass markets can

He points out that making fiber is an automated, continuous process that becomes optimized and efficient over time. When significant changes are made there can be initial upfront investment, extra processing steps and higher cost due to lower scale (volume). In addition, with all sustainable fiber there is also the cost of compliance — all fibers must have additional testing, certifications and outside audits. When it comes to obtaining sustainable materials and using eco-friendly manufacturing practices, extra costs typically occur in every step of the supply chain. But there are also ways to save money by making sustainable products, according to Bill Johnston, co-founder and president of Recover Brands. “For example, a product going back and forth from Asia and back again creates ridiculously long lead times and inefficiencies,” he explains. “Making products close to home allows you to be more nimble, and in turn make up some of those costs. “It’s important to note that sustainability is a really complex word; it’s not just one thing, it’s many things that all work together,” he adds. At Adidas Outdoor, material durability remains a challenge. “Certain sustainable materials are just not as durable, protective and performance-oriented,” says Kadous. “We have high performance standards that our products need to reach to deliver what we stand for — therefore, we choose our materials wisely.” He reports that SS20 is the first season that the brand will


The Greening of Run Specialty Sustainability initiatives from brands and suppliers are having an impact on the running market. / By Judy Leand

ADIDAS: Major sustainability initiatives are in the works for 2020 and beyond. Currently, and for the first time ever, the company is using more than 50 percent recycled polyester from plastic waste in its products, and from 2024 onwards is committed to using only recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists. This year, Adidas plans to produce a record 15 to 20 million pairs of shoes with plastic waste collected from beaches and coastal regions — in 2019, the brand produced approximately 11 million pairs of such shoes. The company’s first fully recyclable running shoe, Futurecraft Loop, has been in the test phase since 2019 and the market launch is slated for 2021. Additionally, Adidas is now working on the development of bio-fabricated materials for sports apparel. (Reebok already uses renewable sources such as cotton, corn, algae and natural rubber to produce the Reebok Cotton + Corn and Reebok Forever Floatride Grow shoes.) ALLIED FEATHER & DOWN: The company’s new Optix iMirror retail experiential tool has the ability to read and verify down insulation inside garments. The innovation, powered by Nobal Technologies, features an embedded scanner that can read an organic taggant signature impregnated on the down insulation inside each Allied-filled


Allied Feather’s Optix iMirror can read and verify down insulation inside garments.

© 2020 Diversified Communications


stay safe



Greening of Run Specialty (continued) process, in development for more than five years, saves approximately 20 liters of water per hide, amounting to annual savings of about 25 million liters of water. DriTan is now being rolled out to all of the company’s tanneries across the globe, and the plan is for all Ecco Outdoor products – including the Biom C Trail shoe – to use DriTan leather by Spring/Summer 2021.

Nike’s Space Hippie is made with the brand’s own “space junk” waste material taken from its factory floors.

garment. Basically, each cluster of down is treated with a reflective coating that can be read through the shells of the products with a dedicated reader. This allows consumers to have their garment read in real time in front of the Optix iMirror and learn where the down was sourced – tracing it to the region and sometimes the exact farm – as well as its performance characteristics and after-care. The Optix iMirror can also be tied into a store’s or brand’s inventory and offer further product suggestions and colorways and even allow on-screen purchases through the iMirror itself. As an added advantage, the device can offer authentication and make material impossible to counterfeit. 16

CHECKERSPOT: This Berkeley, CA-based developer of plantbased composites is on a mission to improve sustainability in the materials industry. It is using biotechnology to harness the power of nature, fermenting algae to produce novel biobased oils, and then taking those fatty acid building blocks to produce high-performance materials that can be fabricated into products such as surfboard foam, ski cores and textile finishes. This technology platform has the potential to enable the design—at the molecular level— of new materials. In November 2019, the company announced a collaboration with W. L. Gore & Associates’ Gore Innovation Center that joins Checkerspot’s expertise in bio-based polymers and biotechnology with Gore’s

extensive experience in highperformance apparel. The goal is to deliver high-performance textile coatings with improved environmental profiles. This partnership will also include input from Beyond Surface Technologies (BST), a Swiss company and Checkerspot partner whose goal is to create textile finishes with the lowest environmental impact possible without compromising on performance. BST is currently developing renewable plantbased finishes as alternatives to conventional perfluorinated compounds (PFC). ECCO : The brand’s biggest initiative at present is DriTan Technology, positioned to change the status quo in the leather tanning industry. The

H YO S U NG : T h is solut ions supplier to the textile industry approaches sustainability with many options, including recycled fibers, biodegradable polymers and bio-based solutions. Hyosung has offered its 100 percent recycled Mipan regen nylon and polyester for years and is now combining its recycled yarns with its performance technologies to provide a new generation of recycled multi-function fibers. Highlights include Creora regen spandex (made from 100 percent reclaimed waste), regen askin polyester cooling and UV protective fiber, and regen aerocool polyester sweat-absorbing and quick-drying fiber. Another recent development is Mipan regen robic, the first recycled high-tenacity yarn made from 100 percent reclaimed waste. NIKE: The Swoosh has multiple sustainability targets involving products, materials and manufacturing. It recently achieved 100 percent renewable energy across North America in its owned or operated facilities and is increasing the use of more sustainable materials across its products. Since 2010, Nike has transformed 7.5 billion plastic bottles © 2020 Diversified Communications

diverted from waterways and landfills into recycled polyester footwear and apparel. The brand also notes that 99.9 percent of footwear manufacturing waste was recycled or converted into energy in 2019; 76 percent of Nike footwear and apparel includes some recycled materials; and 30 million shoes have been recycled since the launch of the Reuse-A-Shoe program 26 years ago. E a rl ier t h is yea r, Ni ke introduced Space Hippie, an exploratory footwear collection made with the brand’s own “space junk” waste material taken from factory floors. Each of the four models features a 90 percent recycled upper, recycled ZoomX foam cushioning made from Vaporfly 4% factory scraps, and a Crater Foam midsole made with a blend of standard Nike foams and 15 percent Nike Grind Rubber. NUUN: All of this hydration specialist’s products (tabs and powders) are sustainable in that they’re non-GMO verified and vegan. The packaging materials used in product caddies are being upgraded to be made of post-consumer recycled materials and the company is also exploring ways in which it can reduce the use of virgin petroleum-based plastics and begin using either recycled or bio-based plastics in its product tubes. The brand has worked with the Oakland Running Company to make events free of single-use cups by providing each runner with a reusable hydration cup created by HydraPak. In 2019, Nuun made a transition to compostable race event 17

cups for events that are still using single-use cups. Nuun has also partnered with the Council for Responsible Sport to create an event reference guide for race directors interested in organizing best-in-class sustainable running events. ORTHOLITE: The footbed maker was the first to add 5 percent recycled rubber – consisting of rubber re-grind that comes from shoe factories – to all of its formulations, which keeps more than 300 metric tons out of landfills each year. The brand has also developed a range of products that utilize castor oil, which reduces the need for petroleum in the products and requires fewer natural resources to produce. As a vertically integrated supplier, OrthoLite owns its own factories and controls the entire value chain, allowing it to better manage the pre- and post-production waste created in the factories. Other initiatives include a dedicated recycling center to capture and repurpose all waste material, which has resulted in the creation of the OrthoLite Recycled and OrthoLite Hybrid product lines. The company notes that based on an individual brand partner’s sustainability goals, the percentage of eco or recycled content can be customized from 5 percent to 98 percent. SCHOELLER: As the founding developer of the bluesign system in 2001, the first activewear and leisurewear manufacturer to receive Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification and one of the first companies to sign the United

Nation’s Paris Agreement for climate change, Schoeller continues to be on the cutting edge of sustainable practices, most recently bringing one of the first collections of biodegradable synthetic fabrics to the market. Its most recent development is ProEarth, a textile collection comprised of bluesign approved fabrics with biodegradable polyester. The yarn has been optimized for biodegradability by making the fibers more attractive to anaerobic microbes. UNIFI: This innovator in recycled and synthetic yarns recently introduced Repreve CationicDyeable Polyester as well as an expanded Repreve Our Ocean collection. The Repreve Cationic-Dyeable Polyester provides deeper and brighter colors as well as improved colorfastness and can be used in a variety of constructions and across all market segments, from woven to knit to warp knit. Repreve Our Ocean, introduced in June 2019, is made with plastics collected within 50km of waterways or coastal areas in developing countries or regions. The company, which has an integrated recycled PET supply (bottles to flake to chip to yarn) in North Carolina, is on track to reach its goal of recycling 20 billion bottles this year and 30 billion by 2022. U n i f i’s C h a m p i o n s o f Sustainability initiative, now in its third year, recognizes companies that are driving sustainability and this year boasts 79 companies that have achieved key milestones through their use of Repreve recycled performance fiber. Together, the group has recycled more than

OrthoLite was the first to add 5 percent recycled rubber to all of its formulations, which keeps more than 300 metric tons out of landfills every year.

19 billion bottles, resulting in energy generation, water savings and improved air quality. W.L. GORE: By the end of 2020, Gore Fabrics will eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from its consumer laminate shipments, corresponding to approximately 85 percent of product units in the market. This includes jackets, shoes, gloves and accessories. Between 2021 and 2023, Gore Fabrics will remove PFCs of Environmental Concern from the remaining consumer fabrics laminate shipments while continuing to deliver products that meet the performance specifications relevant for the end use. Gore is also incorporating the use of more recycled textiles; dying methods that have fewer environmental impacts via less water, chemicals or energy; and simplification in the manufacturing process to integrate Gore-Tex into the shoe to reduce water, energy and waste. The company employs the bluesign, HIGG Index, Oeko-Tex certifications on the social and environmental fronts, and these independent, credible, third-party standards help ensure transparency and product integrity. n © 2020 Diversified Communications


The Adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley trail running shoe has a Primeblue knit upper that features Parley Ocean Plastic that’s made from recycled waste that’s intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before it reaches the ocean (SRP $180).

Allied Feather & Down uses state-of-the-art facilities and employs 14 to 17 steps in processing its RDS down, encompassing sourcing, cleaning and delivery.

Nearly the entire upper of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite is made with recycled material, and the FLYTEFOAM midsole technology incorporates Cellulose Nanofiber, a sustainable material that also increases the durability of the foam (SRP $150).

The Brooks Glycerin 18 includes an engineered mesh upper with added stretch for improved fit, and a reconfigured midsole with more DNA LOFT cushioning (SRP $150).

Cotopaxi’s Mariposa Leggings are made with a supportive blend of recycled polyester and Spandex, and have Polygiene odor-control technology embedded in the fabric (SRP $90).

The Ecco Biom C Trail’s upper has adjustable speed laces and is made from ECCO YAK leather combined with sporty textile for breathability. By SS21, all of the brand’s trail product will be made using DriTan leather technology that saves 20 liters of water per hide, and 20 million liters of water per year (SRP $220).


© 2020 Diversified Communications


Hoka One One’s Stinson ATR 6 ($160) is the latest evolution of one of its original max-cushion models. The late stage Meta-Rocker offers added stability, and the new engineered mesh upper made in part with recycled polyester fibers and TPU-reinforced toe-cap provide a comfortable, protective, durable fit.

Part of Injinji’s Everyday Upcycled Collection, the Everyday Lightweight Crew (SRP $13) and Hidden (SRP $11) Upcycled Cotton socks feature a fiber blend called ReCover Blue, constructed of upcycled cotton fibers and recycled polyester that is sourced from post-consumer rPET bottles. The rPET is obtained by melting down post-consumer plastic bottles and re-spinning it into new polyester fiber.

Lowa’s Maddox GTX LO is 100% vegan, waterproof/breathable, and is ideal for long-distance trail running. It offers one-pull speed lacing, a dual density DynaPU midsole and PU MONOWRAP layer on the upper, and an Enduro Evo outsole (SRP $195).

Nikwax uses clean chemistry in its products, all of which are water-based and biodegradable.

The NiteIze Radiant 300 Rechargeable Headlamp can be recharged in about two hours via an included micro USB cable. It provides dual-color beams, five modes, is impact and water resistant, and the body tilts 90 degrees for easy beam adjustability (SRP $49.99).

Nuun Sport is non-GMO verified and vegan. The brand is working on making all of its caddies from post-consumer recycled materials, and is aiming to reduce the use of virgin petroleum-based plastics in its tubes (SRP $7 per tube of 10 tabs).


© 2020 Diversified Communications


The OrthoLite EcoLT insole combines 6% plantbased bio-oil content derived from castor beans (a non-food source that doesn’t compete with food crops and uses very little water to grow), and 5% recycled rubber content.

Reebok’s Forever Floatride Grow is the brand’s first-ever plant-based performance running shoe. It’s made with castor beans, algae, eucalyptus trees and natural rubber.

Part of Salomon’s Play Minded Program, the recyclable Concept Shoe is made completely of TPU which can be ground down at the end of its life, then combined with original TPU and used to construct an alpine ski boot shell.

The Saucony Women’s Challenge Quarter Zip top is made of 90% recycled polyester/10% Spandex (SRP $90).

SmartWool’s women’s Marino Sport Ultra Light Hoodie features body-mapped panels of Merino Sport 150 for breathability and temperature regulation, and a recycled nylon outer shell with DWR coating for added protection (SRP $130). The sustainable women’s Merino Sport Lined Short utilizes a Marino Sport 150 mesh liner to enhance thermoregulation (SRP $60).

The North Face Flight Futurelight Jacket is waterproof, breathable, packable and quiet and is made from 88% recycled nylon. It weighs in at only 236G (SRP $280).


© 2020 Diversified Communications

Add The Running Event to your 2020 plans! Contact Christina Henderson to reserve a booth.



Three Steps To Sustainability Brooks, Saucony and Altra explain the challenges and opportunities of their eco-initiatives. / By Cregg Weinmann


environmental performance at all final assembly factories and strategic material supplier factories. • Product: Our Product Sustainability program is focused on reducing the environmental impact of our products through a focus on materials, waste and chemicals. We have a goal to work with 100 percent recycled polyester by 2023. In the meantime, we can also significantly reduce material waste through the decisions we make during product design. The shape of the different parts of our shoe uppers is a key driver in the amount of waste created during manu1. What efforts are you making to ensure facturing. We track the pattern efficiency sustainability in your supply chain, product for each part of our core footwear styles’ development/manufacturuppers and feed this ing and distribution? back to our design team Anne Cavassa, throughout the developPresident, Saucony: Our ment process, so they desire is to build the best can make adjustments performance running shoes before we mass produce while also treading lightly a shoe. Our goal is to on this earth. After all, it’s empower designers to the playground that we runmake smar ter deciners love and must protect sions that will reduce for future generations of our products’ footprint. runners. • Climate Change: Advancing our commitBrooks is constantly Saucony’s goal is to build the best performance running shoes while treading lightly on the earth. ment to advocate for and pr ior itizing ocea n shipment over air shipprotect our planet, we ments. We recognize actively seek out responsibly sourced materials and environmentally climate change is real and acknowledge our ronmental and social impact across our sustainable business practices in an effort role as both a contributor and a part of the own business, product and supply chain. to reduce waste and minimize our impact. solution. Our focus in the last two years Key highlights of these pillars include: We also require manufacturing processes • Supply Chain: Responsible sourcing is has been understanding the total picture to minimize the adverse effects on the coma priority. We have responsible sourcing of our carbon footprint and we are now in munity, environment, and natural resources. standards and require all suppliers to adhere the process of setting our reduction targets Because we believe that what we do is to our code of conduct, as well as municipal and developing a roadmap to achieve them. more important than what we say, we are law and international labor standards. We Todd Dalhausser, President, Altra: developing our first biodegradable shoe, have a Supplier Code of Conduct that sets VF (Altra’s parent company) recently reinforcing our commitment to sustainannounced a list of bold science-based our standards for environmental and key ability. The process of making this shoe sustainability targets for 2030. Altra will human rights issues like health and safety, will be considerably different from other collaborate with the broader VF supply working hours, gender equality, and freechain to reduce our collective CO2 emismodern footwear manufacturing. The prodom of association. We’ve also adopted duction line will have fewer steps and use the Higg Facilities Environmental Module sions by 30 percent by 2030. Additionally, less electricity. In a way, we are turning the (Higg FEM) to evaluate and improve our target of incorporating sustainability he goal of sustainability has become a standard practice for manufacturing running products in the 21st century. Influenced by consumers, regulators and social conscience, manufacturers walk a fine line of responsible compliance — from materials to methods of production. Here, as part of this special Focus on Sustainability, three of running specialty’s leading running shoe brands share with Running Insight their priorities, practices and policies regarding sustainability.


clock back on industry norms. Without the use of petroleum-based glues and threads, this shoe will be built by the same stitching processes used when we began making shoes in the late 1800s. The Saucony biodegradable shoe in development builds on commitments to sustainability and doing good already established by the brand. These include the Jazz Original vegan shoe collection and the brand’s apparel line, which beginning Spring 2020, nearly 100 percent of the garments will include sustainable materials. Dan Sheridan, Senior VP, Brooks Running: Our Corporate Responsibility program is focused on reducing our envi-

© 2020 Diversified Communications

The Corporate Responsibility program at Brooks Running focuses on reducing its environmental and social impact across its entire product chain.

into our highest volume material purchases is transforming the way we think about the materials we use in our products. At the brand level, we have already started implementing innovative changes to our process and in our material selections to reduce our impact on the environment and start to make measurable progress towards these bold goals. In the coming seasons you will notice that our products will contain more organic natural, renewable and recycled materials. We also have plans to announce an Altra-specific bold goal to hold ourselves accountable to our 23

customers in promoting sustainability and to start to move the needle in helping to reduce our impact on the planet. 2. How do your midsole foams stack up from an environmental standpoint? Cavassa: Our cur rent EVA-based midsoles, such as PWRRUN, are all manufactured using methods to reduce waste and resource usage (water/energy/human). Any and all rejected parts are sourced for post-industrial recycling. Our TPU-based midsole, PWRRUN+, is fully recyclable

and closed loop, resulting in the reduction of virgin materials needed to produce. We continue to push all recycled content levels upward. Our focus moving forward is incorporating increased bio-content into all midsole compounds while ensuring that their performance is uncompromised. Biodegradability in footwear materials continues to be a topic we are expanding upon. Sheridan: Our EVA midsoles include a natural additive that accelerates biodegradation 50 percent faster than traditional EVA. Dalhausser: In years past, using more sustainable materials would come at a cost of performance and reduced durability. However, with more material suppliers investing in sustainable solutions, we are now starting to see the performance side of these sustainable foams catch up, and sometimes even surpass the traditional foams. We think this part of the foam development is really exciting and we can’t wait to start implementing these into our lineup. 3. What goes into the conversation for materials in your apparel and footwear lines? Dalhausser: Altra is first and foremost a performance running brand. We pride ourselves on providing a more natural solution for running and we are constantly looking for new ways to incorporate more responsible, natural materials into our product lines to complement that performance. Some of the materials we’re looking into have a great dual benefit in that they are sustainable, but

also complement the shoes in other ways, such as adding softer hand feel and more breathability. From a design and engineering perspective, when we can find materials that have multiple benefits like this, we view it as a win/win opportunity to provide value to our customers. Sheridan: As a brand, we’re focused on reducing the impact of raw materials, with our current focus on increasing the recycled content in our textiles. We demand that all of our materials comply with our Restricted Substances List that includes a minimum, all chemicals that are regulated by the most stringent global legal regulations. In addition, we’ve aligned with the Bluesign standard and have a goal to source 100 percent of our nominated apparel fabrics through these guidelines. Lastly, another key area that we’re focusing in on is ensuring we reduce the impact of waste created in our manufacturing process. Cavassa: Social responsibility and sustainability concerns have become a major platform for innovation and fueling change in the industry. With that said, we made the decision in our Spring 2020 apparel line that it was to be a completely sustainable line. We always begin with the runner and the material properties needed to support the runner. We look for high-performing materials with characteristics that might include wicking, drying, insulated value and breathability. We then work with our mills to develop the fabric with recycled and/or organic content all without compromising performance and comfort. n © 2020 Diversified Communications


It’s All Green at Palmetto Running South Carolina retailer’s Eco Initiative sets the standard for the run specialty business.


or Palmetto Running Company, it all started with a club. When Rob Fyfe moved from New York to Bluffton, SC, in 2010 he noticed something was missing — a running community. So he began connecting area runners and walkers and started the PRC Run Club. After realizing the demand for a specialty running store in the Lowcountry area, Rob decided to take the next step and open up Palmetto Running Company in Bluffton in 2011. A year later, Christian Fyfe (Rob’s son) joined him in ownership and helped grow the company to where it is today, including opening a second store location on Hilton Head Island in 2014 and being named one of the Best Running Stores in America. Today Palmetto Running is one of the most ecology-conscious run specialty retailers in the country, perhaps because of its location in the eco-sensitive Lowcountry of South Carolina. As a result, it has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at linking its operations – and the products of its key vendors – to an ecologically sustainable message. (It also won the inaugural Big Pitch contest at The Running Event in Austin, TX, last year for its Eco Initiative.) Here co-owner Christian Fyfe and his sister, Keri Straughn, who handles the stores’ social media and marketing, talk about their sustainability efforts and what they mean to Palmetto Running Company and the run specialty industry as a whole. Running Insight: We saw your Big Pitch presentation at The Running Event and were impressed. So what’s your Eco Initiative is all about? Christian Fyfe: It is our collective goal to purchase and sell more sustainable, recycled and eco-friendly products as well as find new ways to improve the sustainability of our planet and, more directly, our local environment. As a first step in our Eco Initiative, this past October we partnered with Proudly, a locally owned credit card processor that 24

Part of the Green Team at Palmetto Running Company (left to right): Melissa Matus (manager, Hilton Head Island), Christian Fyfe (co-owner), Rob Fyfe (co-owner) and Bret Freed (manager, Bluffton).

helps give a percentage of every transaction made in our stores to a charity of our choice — the Coastal Conservation League, which works in our community to reduce harmful plastic pollution and implement policy changes designed to protect our local environment, waterways and quality of life. Among many other examples, the CCL played a large part in our local county’s decision to pass the “no single use plastic bag ordinance” back in January of 2018. What other aspects go into the Initiative? Keri Straughn: In order to help educate our customer on which products are ecofriendly we created hang tags for apparel and pins/buttons for shoes each with our Eco Initiative logo. What about specific eco-efforts? Fyfe: First, there is our Cork Collection, where we partnered up with our friends ReCork, North America’s largest natural wine cork recycling program, after hearing about them at the Best Running Stores 2019 event. We ask our customers and local restaurants to bring in their old corks to either of our locations and drop them in our ReCork Cork Recycling Bin. We ship all the

corks to @recorkofficial to be turned into eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum-based foams and plastics. ReCork is owned by an incredible company called Sole, which creates sandals and everyday shoes from the recycled corks. S t ra ugh n: A nd t here’s ou r Sho e Collection. With the help of our friends at Sneakers for Funds we are always accepting old sneakers and running shoes to be recycled or shipped to developing countries, where they are cleaned, fixed and used to support small businesses and their families. Through this program we are given a few cents for each shoe recycled. At the end of every year PRC matches that amount in order to fund The PRC Student Athlete Scholarship, a scholarship for graduating seniors of Beaufort County. What are you hoping to accomplish with the Eco Initiative? Is it measurable? Fyfe: Long before our official launch of the initiative we had been choosing to purchase items with sustainable elements to them and in speaking with our customers we saw a huge response to that. While there may not be a completely measurable result, we are able to consider this an investment

© 2020 Diversified Communications

and, like investing in any brand, we are able to look at our return on investment of sustainable items. But our main goal is that through holding events and partnering with collection programs and promoting our expansion in eco-friendly products, we raise awareness about the importance of sustainability within our industry in hopes of both bringing together our community and getting our name out there to more eco-conscious consumers. But why such a strong focus on sustainability? Straughn: In just one calendar year, the apparel and footwear industries account for an estimated 8 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In the face of various environmental, social and governmental challenges, the run specialty industry, and its respective retailers, must adopt new strategies in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and extend the life of our planet. Myself and my brother, both being Millennials, have always been passionate about the preservation of our planet, not only for ourselves but for our children. And we see that if there is any way for our business to help in that effort it would not only mean so much to us, but also to our customers. On the practical side, how does this help your retail business? Fyfe: It seems that everyone in our industry is always looking for ways to gain a younger customer. Millennials make up around 30 percent of the world’s population and are arguably the most concerned generation when 25

it c o m e s t o environmental sustainability. Being the first generation to h ave g r ow n up in a world where climate change is part of ou r d a i ly dialogue, Millennials have been forced to face the realities of extreme weather patterns, sea level rises, rapidly increasing GMO agriculture and species extinction. This reality has created a generation of people who desire sustainability in mainstream culture. Straughn: A recent study showed that 87 percent of Millennials believe that companies should address urgent social and environmental issues. Not afraid of demanding what they want, many Millennials often make the choice to spend their money on – and visit retailers that carry – sustainable and eco-friendly products. On your website it says PRC wants to put the industry “on notice.” What does that mean? Straughn: We do feel a sense of responsibility in pushing our industry towards sustainable business practices and products. At last year’s TRE we felt like one of the few retailers with any concern regarding how our day-to-day operations and products that we carry impact our planet. However, after our Big Pitch and speaking with many other retailers and vendors, we received a tremendous amount of positive feedback and feel confident in helping to take the lead in this movement within the run specialty industry.

How has the vendor involvement been? Fyfe: We have had a great react ion f rom the industry. Our biggest support coming from Veja and Vuori, who we had carried before the launch of our initiative and always had a strong connection to their story. But what was the most exciting was what we learned from a lot of shoe vendors, especially after our pitch at TRE. Any specific run brands that stepped up? Fyfe: Brooks, for example. They seek a minimum 20 percent recycled polyester on all shoes and all midsoles use BioMoGo DNA that includes an organic, non-toxic additive that biodegrades the midsole 50 times faster than traditional EVA. Also, we were so excited when ASICS launched its GelNimbus Lite with an upper made almost entirely of recycled material. And did you see that Super Bowl ad from Saucony? What it seems is that all these brands have been taking these steps towards sustainability, but hadn’t been talking about it. Going beyond just this year’s efforts, how does sustainability play into your everyday business operations? Straughn: Any retailer can tell you that the amount of cardboard we accumulate on a weekly basis is insane. And while our county has put in the efforts to eliminate single

use plastic bags, they have not done anything to assist with recycling, especially for local businesses. We have recently teamed up with Public Works – with the help of our friends at the Coastal Conservation League – and our local government to start a movement in which local businesses are all given the opportunity to properly recycle cardboard. Anything else? Straughn: We are always offering a shoe recycling program, a cork recycling program, an in-store recycling bin, shoe box collection for recycling at cashwrap, performance nutrition packaging recycling with teracycle, compostable mailers, recycled bag, energy efficient in-store lighting and emailed receipts When this 2020 Eco Initiative is done, what comes next? Fyfe: We don’t see an end for this initiative. This is something we hope to hold throughout the life of our business. So what are your plans to make sustainability sustainable? Straughn: We see unlimited potential for partnering with businesses and charities, future events and from what we’ve seen from brands so far, it seems that this is the direction that run specialty is going. While we may know that we will never get to a point where we are only carrying 100 percent sustainable products, we are confident that the amount of items available in the next few years will increase dramatically. And when it does we will be there to welcome it with open arms. n © 2020 Diversified Communications


Lapping the Field Fourlaps making a sustainable move with men’s line into the running space.

The 7-inch Bolt Short


lready making an impact at retail with what it describes as “a welldesigned athletic apparel brand made for the urban professional,” Fourlaps has unveiled its first-ever sustainable initiative, called Re-up, for Spring 2020. The season’s collection is made with materials that are 21-91 percent recycled, depending on the style, and the company’s goal is to be using 100 percent recycled materials by 2024. 26

Launched in New York in 2016, Fourlaps prides itself on creating thoughtfully designed apparel for guys who don’t compromise on performance or style, according to founder Daniel Shapiro, an entrepreneur with a passion for athletic apparel who also happens to have more than 15 years of experience at major fashion brands. Although he liked the training gear that was available, Shapiro says he was disappointed with the industry’s lackluster offerings for men. He soon realized that to get what he wanted, he’d have to create it himself and the result is the fashionforward Fourlaps line that he describes as his vision in action — the union of bold and functional athletic design with expert craftsmanship. The company made significant strides in 2019, aligning with aspirational partners such as Peloton and Barry’s Bootcamp. The traditionally direct-to-consumer brand is also now sold at top retailers including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Urban Outfitters, J.Crew and Paragon. Run specialty is the next move. Today, the collection has evolved from a concise selection of primarily bright, colorblocked workout gear to a more diverse offering of stylish staple pieces that wear equally well both in and out of the gym. By introducing new fabrics and technologies into their designs such as 37.5, Fourlaps has grown into a seasoned lifestyle brand with a sustainability message as well. Among the new products for Spring 2020: • The 7-inch Bolt Short is designed to be a hybrid between running and training wear. • The Advance Short, described as the heart and soul of the line, features four-way stretch fabric, a quick dry finish, breathable mesh side panels, an in-pocket phone sleeve and a moisture-wicking liner. • The Flex Jogger, created with recycled nylon and spandex, is an all-around training pant for the track to the gym.

The Dash Tank 2.0

• Created with the runner in mind, the compression Command Short is made with post-consumer recycled polyester and spandex. The 7-inch short features a 7.5-inch compression liner, zipper pockets, quick dry and UV protection. • The Dash Tank 2.0 is made of a performance mesh fabric to wick sweat for moisture control and an antimicrobial treatment that fights odors. n

© 2020 Diversified Communications


On A Green Track Tracksmith’s 2020 line combines an eco-angle with performance and style.


ith a Spring 2020 collection focused on performance pieces inspired by the journey from early season training to a goal race, apparel brand and specialty retailer Tracksmith is also touting a sustainability story that will resonate with eco-conscious runners. Tested by a cohort of Tracksmith amateur runners in Flagstaff, AZ, and New York City, the full line includes all the essentials a runner needs to weather the season, from temperature-regulating Merino tees and tanks to new compressive training shorts and post-workout sweats. Tracksmith’s first retail store, The Tracksmith Trackhouse, is located at 285 Newbury Street in Boston. Along with its online collection, the brand also sells in select specialty running stores in the U.S., including Pacers, The Loop Austin, Runologie Raleigh, Fleet Feet Chicago, Ad Astra Big and Peach Running … with more to come in 2020. The Tracksmith sustainability angle comes into play through the use of Merino wool in many pieces along with the utilization of recycled poly and nylon in many others. For Tracksmith, Merino in its Harrier collection provides a natural, surprisingly soft fiber that stays warm even when drenched with sweat, while also resisting odor without washing. Tracksmith uses Merino wool in products across the training spectrum — from seamless base layers worn under a singlet to breathable mid-layers for long runs. Then on a slightly different sustainability note, Tracksmith is increasingly using recycled poly and recycled nylon in a variety of ways, often combining them with natural cotton. Its New England Overshirt is a running overshirt made from a recycled wool, cotton and nylon blend. On the performance side, the NE Half-Zip uses an Italian blend 27

Women’s Session Shorts

The Van Cortland Long Sleeve

of recycled nylon and elastane. Then there is the NDO Jacket, which incorporates recycled nylon in the lining. Among the other entries into the Spring 2020 line: • The Van Cortlandt four-inch Short ($62) is new for men and will be available for women soon: A four-inch mesh training short with contrast trim, inspired by the pair Oxford Rhode Scholar George Dole wore to line up against Roger Bannister at Iffley Road. Tracksmith reimagined the not-too-long, not-too-short silhouette for modern runners using its signature performance 2:09 Mesh. • The Van Cortlandt Long Sleeve (women and men, $75) is a classically inspired longsleeve that does double duty as a training layer in early spring or a warm-up on race day. Crafted from Tracksmith’s signature performance 2:09 Mesh and featuring its signature sash, inspired by classic racing jerseys. • The Session Shorts for women ($68)

maintain the fast-feeling of the original brief for while stripping down the design elements to make the silhouette as light and minimal as possible. Coming in at a not-toolong, not-too-short 3.25-inch inseam, the exposed elasticated waistband sits snugly at the waist, while the inner liner features a raw hem for a barely there feel. • The Session Shorts in 5-inch and 7-inch for men are designed to be the go-to workhorse shorts. They feature Veloce, a soft, light and high-stretch fabric. • The 7-inch Session Shorts ($68) offer the same mobility and stretch as the originals, but with a little extra coverage. • The Allston Long Shorts for women ($72) are Tracksmith’s response to customer demand for a longer inseam short, designed for fast, high intensity runs in compressive and soft Allston fabric. • A Twilight Crop Tank for women ($58) is made from the brand’s lightweight micro-mesh Bravio Blend in an understated silhouette with dialed-back trims. • Lined Reggie Half Tights for men ($72) are an update on the best-selling Reggie Half Tights and feature a lightweight liner. n

© 2020 Diversified Communications


Veja Due Fashion footwear brand ready to reap the rewards of bringing its eco-message to run retail. / By Daniel P. Smith


couring mainstream headlines last fall, it wasn’t hard to come across the name Veja. The niche Parisian footwear brand, one that had rapidly curried favor with fashionable hipsters, Instagram models and A-list celebrities, landed attention in Fortune and Forbes, Glamour and Elle, the Wall Street Journal and Wired. With its latest footwear release, the Condor, Veja had entered the running marketplace with a bang, not to mention a shoe billed as the world’s first post-petroleum running shoe. But Veja isn’t only chasing buzz. No, it’s chasing something that can be much more elusive: a stable spot on running store shoe walls. From Veja’s start in 2005, the company’s founders, Sebastien Kopp and

François-Ghislain Morillion, envisioned bringing a fair-trade sensibility to sneakers, seeing creative sourcing and fabrication as tools to a more sustainable product — and a more sustainable world. Veja’s original run of 5000 pairs of casual sneakers quickly sold out as the upstart French brand found an immediate foothold among the fashion-forward crowd. Veja is now distributed in more than 40 countries – it entered the U.S. market five years ago at high-end doors such as Nordstrom and Barneys as well as independent fashion houses – and has sold more than four million pairs of its casual sneakers to date. (Ironically, fashion, not necessarily Veja’s thoughtful environmental pursuits, has driven much of that success, company leaders readily acknowledge.)

Sebastien Kopp (left) and Francois-Ghislain Morillion founded Veja in 2005 intent on bringing a fair-trade mission to sneakers.

Internally, though, Veja leadership – and some of its loyal consumers – hungered for more. The Condor is that hearty dish. A four-year project that included a team of specialty engineers and 80 testers, the Condor blossomed from Veja’s maturation, its escalating R&D capabilities and earnest interest in bringing a more sustainable edge to the performance run marketplace. “There was an opportunity to fulfill something we wanted for some time,” Veja running project manager Arnaud Dabir says, adding that the success of niche brands like Ciele and Tracksmith in the performance run market demonstrated interest in “boutiquey” brand’s with a unique story. Admittedly, it has been a tough, complicated climb. Dabir, whose resume includes sales and marketing roles at Nike and Saucony, says Veja “had everything to learn on every step,” especially since the brand claimed limited sports background and wanted to shun the traditional materials – namely, climate-damaging plastic – that characterized traditional running shoes. “Working with natural materials is a different and difficult approach,” Dabir says. In time, Veja found its formula for both performance and sustainability. The $150 Condor’s upper is crafted from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles; its midsole combines EVA with banana oil, sugar cane and rice waste; and its outsole blends wild rubber from the Amazonian forest with rice waste. Veja promises a shoe with eco cred as well as the functional chops necessary to deliver a positive on-the-road experience for the recreational runner. Dipping Into Run Specialty Veja leadership has called the Condor a first step in its prolonged march into the performance run world. While Veja allocated small volumes of the Condor to


© 2020 Diversified Communications

high-end lifestyle stores where the brand already has a foothold, it also strategically developed distribution in the run specialty channel, specifically favoring partners possessing a strong digital presence, merchandising skills and curated assortments. “We sought out partners with the proper approach on sales and presentation, partners who are like-minded,” Dabir says. Palmetto Running Company, a two-unit operation in South Carolina, was one of those select partners. The nine-year-old company with a slick digital presence and its own sustainability principles jumped at the chance to carry the Condor given its fashion following and eco-friendly traits. “Veja’s story separates them from anyone else and people are connecting to story nowadays,” Palmetto Running Company co-owner and general manager Christian Fyfe says, noting that his customers are largely using the Condor as a lifestyle shoe or light running shoe. W h i le Dabi r says Veja

“absolutely” wants to be in run specialty with operations that are “knowledgeable, close to the customer and offer highcaliber service,” the brand is not interested in hustling into as many doors as possible. Rather, Veja plans to mimic the steady, consistent approach it had on the lifestyle side, where it earned credibility by producing on orders and giving supportive service to retailers. “We don’t want to push risk onto retailers, rely on discounts or put pressure on stocks. We want to focus on building longterm partnerships and growing together,” Dabir says, noting that Veja’s 2020 releases will be limited to new colorways of the Condor. Notably, Veja also eschews advertising, a decision that allows them to reach competitive price points despite more expensive materials and production. “ We brea k some co des because we’re not the traditional running shoe company,” Dabir says. Dabir and his colleagues

Veja entered the performance run market last September with the Condor. Billed as the world’s first post-petroleum running shoe, the Condor retails for $150.


The lining of the Condor features percent organic fair-trade cotton. Veja sources the cotton directly from Brazil to ensure traceability.

understand it will take time for Veja to prove itself in the running world with both consumers and specialty retailers. “There’s a lot of trust to be established,” he admits. “We’re beginning with the early adopters and working to deliver a positive experience, so they talk about us and stay with us.” While Veja’s early approach into run specialty might be methodical, leaders insist that’s all part of the plan, a calculated, long-term play to build a sports division every bit as strong as Veja’s already robust lifestyle arm. “This is not a one-shot deal for us,” Dabir assures. Veja remains intently focused on developing footwear that reflects the brand’s sustainability mission and is also technically sound. Dabir, in fact, promises perpetual improvements and new innovations aligned with

performance and how runners engage with the sport. “We want to be on par with the best shoes on the market,” Dabir says. “We want people to buy our shoes because they trust us and know it’s a quality product.” It’s something Veja’s early run specialty partners would like to see as well. “We’d love for them to be the next On or Hoka, the next brand that moves up and becomes a household name,” Palmetto’s Fyfe says. For Dabir and Veja, that’s the goal, one buoyed by run specialty’s swelling embrace of new brands, novel approaches to business and growing ties to outdoors and fashion. “We know we’re trying to push something different, but we really believe we’ll find people in a similar state of mind,” Dabir says. n © 2020 Diversified Communications


ASICS Goes Green Spring collection honors Tokyo’s longstanding commitment to sustainability.


SICS last month announced the launch of the “Edo Era Tribute Pack,” a line of running and SportStyle shoes that incorporate recycled polyester made from PET bottles in the shoe upper material. The collection rolled out beginning April 24. The Edo Era Tribute Pack will feature 10 classic ASICS shoe models. The performance running category will include GT-2000 8, Glideride, Roadblast, Novablast, Gel-Cumulus 22 and Gel-Pulse 12. The SportStyle category will feature Gel-Lyte XXX, Gel-Quantum 180 5, GelQuantum 90 and Lyte Classic. The latest collection highlights ASICS’ continued pledge to sustainability by paying homage to the eco-friendly practices of Edo (present day Tokyo) from the 17th to 19th centuries. It was during that period that


re-using and recycling was integral to life in Japan, where everything was viewed as a valuable resource, from old clothes and used paper, to worn-out pans and broken ceramic items, to candle wax drippings and more. The uppers of the collection’s six performance running shoe models and four SportStyle offerings employ recycled polyester fibers made from a total of around 300,000 PET bottles. These items are part of the first stage of ASICS’ push to switch to 100 percent recycled polyester fibers in all of its uppers by 2030 to help combat climate change. The graphics for the uppers incorporate a combination of two Edo Era lettering styles. One lettering style is yose moji, typically used for posters and flyers. The other is kakuji, which are thick, squared characters, often featured on scraps of paper

The latest ASICS collection highlights its continued pledge to sustainability by paying homage to the eco-friendly practices of Edo from the 17th to 19th centuries.

that congregants often posted on the gates of shrines and temples. ASICS will also be using 100 percent recycled paper for each shoe box, featuring 10 percent less material than standard designs, and will also transition from oilbased inks to water-based in order to cut ink usage by half. ASICS’ use of these sustainable shoe boxes will expand beginning in 2021, cutting ASICS’ annual CO2 emissions by approximately 1200 metric tons. n

© 2020 Diversified Communications

running shorts Ultra Running Company Unveils ‘Select’ Program

IN ONE OF THE MORE CREATIVE and aggressive marketing and sales efforts unveiled in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ultra Running Company, based in Charlotte, NC, is offering what it calls its “Runner’s Select” Program with the tagline “It’s time to imagine a new way to Learn To Love To Run.” “Imagine never buying a pair of shoes again,” the retailer says. ”Imagine working with the Ultra Running Company team to build a holistic program designed just for you. Imagine paying a simple monthly fee to experience the very best we have to offer in Training, Racing, Social Interaction and Shoe Choice.” Basically, members pay a set fee – there are four different levels – for a suite of benefits that vary by the level chosen by the participant. It is designed as a way to build

customer loyalty, lock in regular on-going sales and create a unique community in the Charlotte area. The biggest difference in the programs is the amount of new “free” shoes the members receives every year. There are four levels of programs. 1. URC Runner’s Select Program – Wellness ($59.99 a month), which offers a choice of two pairs of running shoes a year. 2. URC Runner’s Select Program – Race ($74.99 a month), which offers three pairs of running shoes a year. 3. URC Runner’s Select Program – Distance ($89.99 a month), which offers a choice of four pairs of running shoes a year. 4. URC Runner’s Select Program – Ultra ($114.99 a month), which offers a choice of six pairs of running shoes a year. In addition to the “free” shoes, (all allow

members to access to every running shoe in the URC lineup — regardless of price or brand), the Runner’s Select Program benefits for all levels include: • A results-driven, customized training program • Two race registrations a year • Facilitated, weekly Wednesday run group with URC Staff (Zoom meetings during COVID-19 period) • Member-exclusive URC Runners Select shirt by Recover Brands • Weekly E-communication engagement • Members-only discounts (15 percent off of everything) • Early access to sales and events • Monthly educational seminars/events • Zwift Runpod virtual reality running device • Strava / Facebook Group moderation

Leki Unveils Ungrounded Series Featuring Trailblazing Women Leki recently launched a digital series called UNGROUNDED, created and directed by Ben Clark and starring four Leki-sponsored women athletes all with unique paths to the outdoors. Ski mountaineer Caroline Gleich, ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin, ultra-runner Meredith Edwards and outdoor explorer Sunny Stroeer share their individual

stories of the ups and downs of living their passion and breaking ground in a previously male dominated culture. View the trailer here: “At Leki, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to work with powerful women who are pushing their sport every day,” says marketing manager Patrick Meehan. “These women all work tirelessly and often under the radar to

push their own limits and are paving the way for a new generation of mountain athletes. It’s our pleasure to help shine a spotlight on their accomplishments.”


The Caroline Gleich show debuted April 15 May 5: Mikaela Shiffrin May 19: Meredith Edwards June 2: Sunny Stroeer

© 2020 Diversified Communications

running shorts Best Running Stores To Be Announced May 18, Celebration Scheduled for The Running Event in December

AFTER MAKING THE DIFFICULT decision to postpone the Best Running Stores event, originally scheduled for May, due to the magnitude of the public health and safety issues posed by COVID-19, Diversified Communications, publisher of Running Insight and organizer of The Running Event and The Best Running Stores, sent an open letter to the run specialty business detailing the changes in the Best Running Stores event for 2020.

“We sincerely appreciate your patience as we worked toward the best solution possible and we are happy to announce that the celebration of the Best Running Stores will be taking place at The Running Event, which will be held December 1-3, 2020. We will provide additional details about this as we get closer to The Running Event. “We will announce the winning stores later this spring, on May 18 at 12 p.m. EST via video on and

New Balance Unveils Fuel Cell Prism Launching June 1, the New Balance FuelCell Prism, the latest in the company’s FuelCell platform, is engineered for speed with a high rebound lightweight midsole that provides more energy return than any previous New Balance foam. A responsive outsole helps in propulsion and a co-molded stability post provides medial security. A breathable upper and secure fit through the midfoot also allows flexibility in the forefoot. MSRP is $120. Skechers Animal Welfare Raises $5.5 Million Through sales of its Bobs from Skechers collection, Skechers has made a donation of more than $509,000 to the Petco Foundation, bringing the company’s total contribution to more than $5.45 million for animal welfare agencies. The donations have helped save and support more than one million dogs and cats and is aiding shelters and agencies closed due to the coronavirus crisis. 32

on our Best Running Stores social media channels. “As always, your health and safety continue to be our top priority and in the coming weeks and months we will be closely following CDC safety guidelines for gatherings and will act accordingly. Please look for important follow-up communications from Diversified with all the exciting details on how we will honor and integrate the Best Running Stores into The Running Event. “We send heartfelt thoughts to those who are affected by COVID-19. We cannot wait to get this resilient and supportive community back together again and will share updates as soon as we have them.” Sincerely, The Best Running Stores Team

“Many in the country are working from home or are under stay-at-home orders and are feeling isolated. Adopting an animal can make the difference,” says Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers. “Consumers love the comfortable styles and give-back message of Bobs from Skechers. We’re grateful that through their purchases, we’ve been able to donate $509,000 already in 2020, help thousands of animal welfare agencies during this challenging time and enable them to offer companionship to all of those people who are sheltering in place.” UltrAspire Receives Patent on Vest Harness UltrAspire has secured a patent for the Astral 3.0 HerFit Harness system. The Astral hydration vest series’ unique harness system features shoulder straps and adjustment system specifically designed to better fit women while accommodating a variety of body shapes.

© 2020 Diversified Communications

running shorts To close out this issue, here are some more examples of run retailers and vendors contributing to the effort. is to provide SportShield Chafing and Blister protection wipes to their local healthcare facilities for anyone developing irritation on the face due to mask use. Medi-Dyne is looking for other retail partners that are able to contribute similar support. To get involved:

Charm City Run and OS1st Partner For the Real Heroes Baltimore-based Charm City Run and OS1st have partnered to donate superhero-themed OS1st compression sleeves to the essential staff at John Hopkin’s Hospital, serving their community during the coronavirus pandemic. The donated OS1st compression sleeves feature medical grade compression designed to relieve aching legs and feet, which can be the result of standing for extended periods of time. Compression garments, like these sleeves, are often worn by medical professionals to help relieve pain in feet, legs, and joints during long shifts. “Community service is what we do at Charm City Run,” a spokesperson for Charm City Run said. “Especially now during the coronavirus pandemic, we want our hard-working healthcare professionals to know that they are appreciated for their bravery and self-sacrifice.” “We know that not all heroes wear capes,” OS1st president Joshua Higgins says. “In the fight against COVID-19 the 33

heroes are wearing scrubs and working long hours on their feet. In addition to this partnership with Charm City Run, OS1st launched a country-wide, buy-one-donate-one campaign where customers can buy themselves the OS1st gear and for every qualifying purchase the company donates a pair of these superhero calf sleeves to essential workers, including medical professionals in high-demand areas. The donation will be delivered by Charm City Run to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore following all relevant safety measures. For more information about the OS1st “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” campaign: not-all-heroes-wear-capes. Medi-Dyne Partnering With Fleet Feet Augusta Due to the increased usage of facemasks, many healthcare workers and first responders are facing an unexpected new adversary — face irritation. Recognizing this problem, Medi-Dyne and Fleet Feet Sports in Augusta, GA, partnered to offer a solution. Their idea

rabbit Launches Giveback Initiative California running apparel brand, rabbit has unveiled an initiative aimed at helping healthcare and other frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month rabbit launched its Operation Appreciation, Healthcare Love. In an effort to show support for healthcare workers in a tangible and meaningful way, rabbit has asked the public to nominate healthcare workers who are working on the front lines bat-

tling against COVID-19, who are also runners, and who are in need of a virtual hug and a little love, to be gifted a rabbit EZ tee, its running shirt available in short and long sleeve. “We are overflowing with appreciation for the healthcare workers on the front lines who are selflessly battling every day to keep all of us healthy. As a small company, we wanted to show our appreciation in a small, but real way, to as many of these amazing heroes as we can. We could never express the magnitude of our gratitude, but we hope this initiative can show a little symbol of our appreciation.” says rabbit cofounder Jill Deering.

© 2020 Diversified Communications

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