Running Insight 5.1.2024

Page 1

pages of new accessory products ...


How an educator’s mindset will help run retailers crush the

Before I broach the topic of how to sell more essentials, I want to first name the three most common reasons why so many of your floor staffers have such a hard time including accessories in the customer’s journey.

First off, and rather ironically, the fitter doesn’t even know these essentials exist. Or, they know they exist but don’t know enough about them to really believe in them. And finally, they think discussing any item beyond what the customer came in for will be seen as an upsell.

Surely there are many more excuses for not moving essentials, but these three, in my 20 years of experience, are the main culprits for essentials being more regularly dusted than rung up.

Boiling It Down

So, before run specialty retailers can ever sell more essentials, they will need to remedy these issues at their root. The solution, dare I say, is simple — it all boils down to education. Floor staff who don’t know about – or don’t believe – in a product are suffering from, above all else, a lack of training. That’s your fault. Your employees aren’t talking about, let alone selling, your amazing inventory because they haven’t been given the proper tools to do so.

2 © 2024 Diversified Communications RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2024 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published monthly, is edited for owners and top executives at running specialty stores and available only via email except for two print issues year. The opinions by authors and contributors to Running Insight are not necessarily those of the editors or publishers. Articles appearing in Running Insight may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher. Diversified Communications, 121 Free St, Portland, ME 04101; (207) 842-5500. SUBSCRIBE BACK ISSUES Advertise Editorial Christina Henderson Glenn Dulberg Daemon Filson Beth Gordon Mary Lou Cummings Mark Sullivan Michael Jacobsen
essentials/accessories category.
on the essential products in the store beyond just shoes and apparel.
Floor staff needs to


© 202 4 B o d y G lid e bo d y glide . c o m year
since 1996
after year

As for the third example — staffers who are worried about being perceived as used car salespeople simply need to be reminded about what they’ve been hired to do. Unless your store is the rare example of a sales-above-all retail environment, you likely hired your team members to serve your customers’ myriad needs, which, beyond product, includes emotional, social and informational needs, to name a few.

You also probably ask your staffers to treat every customer like they are the only customer of the day, then lean in and genuinely execute a few things, including: Engage curiosity, actively listen, problem solve, make relevant suggestions and create space to empower the customer to say no at any point along the way. This sort of ideal floor staffer spends the day connecting deeply with every customer, which inevitably

reveals more reasons to teach customers about all sorts of other things that are relevant to their story.

This sort of staffer teaches all day long. They have no problem letting the customer decide for themselves whether or not any extras end up in the bag. This sort of staffer doesn’t care about sales outcomes. And yet, their monthly numbers consistently outpace their sales-minded colleagues. Curious, isn’t it?

Staffers who have been thoroughly educated about everything in your store, and who also think of themselves as an expert educator are, without a doubt, your essentials dream team.

Having a foundation of education-minded floor employees is the crucial step one to anything else you may garner from the rest of this article. So, if that’s not yet a consistent reality in your store, go make that

4 © 2024 Diversified Communications
Essentials Dream Team (continued)
Sometimes it is just a matter of sitting down and talking about essentials with a customer to make the category a major profit center for any run specialty shop.
Helping Runners RECOVER BETTER™ Serving Run Specialty Since 1991

Essentials Dream Team (continued)

Before run retailers can ever sell more essentials, they will need to remedy these issues at their root. The solution, dare I say, is simple — it all boils down to education. Floor staff who don’t know about – or don’t believe in – a product are suffering from, above all else, a lack of training.

happen before building strategies around the next section.

The Next Steps

When you’ve got a team of expert teachers zipping around your store, ready and willing to sling knowledge and possibility at every person who walks in, you’re ready to make the leap to the next level. But take heed: It isn’t easy to balance this educational mindset with your business’s need to analyze numbers, so make sure you do it in a way that proves both customer care and metrics are integral elements of your healthy and thriving enterprise.

Okay, now I’d like you to brace yourself. Because what I am about to suggest is a purposeful disruption of run specialty hegemony.

Currently the majority of the many fit processes in our landscape are designed to address one main thing — the customer’s perceived needs. Someone

comes in for shoes — and you sell then shoes. It’s a win-win and everyone’s happy. The same process typically allows a moment to address unperceived needs, too. But it often comes as an afterthought, which decreases its efficacy because, you guessed it, it feels like an upsell.

It often looks like this: A customer comes in for shoes and chooses a pair to buy, but only afterwards is asked if they want to get some socks, too. Or try some insoles or a massage tool. Or they’re asked the dreaded question I encourage you to make illegal in your four walls: “Is there anything else I can get you?” Any of this look familiar?

This, my friends, is how so many specialty fitters do it.

Maybe it’s how they’ve always done it. Or perhaps it’s how they’ve evolved the process to make their lives easier. Or maybe it’s how many fitters respond to stress — a long line, antsy customers, a big ticket, etc. There are any number of excuses for not taking responsibility for a thorough outfitting experience with every single customer. And all of your fitters are guilty of, at least occasionally, compromising the customer’s experience.

In a rock solid and comprehensive fit, the customer is best served by you letting them know, far in advance of the last few minutes, that you’ll not only get them those shoes they came in for, but also make relevant suggestions based on their unique story. If they know

To make a sale feel less like an upsell and more like filling an unperceived need, it is vital to start the essentials conversation as part of the fit process.

you plan to talk about something they didn’t visit for, they are more likely to be engaged when that time comes. The importance of finessing the forecast cannot be understated.

I recommend you take a step back and fully rethink your age-old fit process. Does it, in its current iteration, lead to a wholly educated and outfitted customer base? Does it guarantee that every fit will introduce something besides the customer’s known needs? Does it lend to a healthier bottom line? If yes, right on! If no, you need to mess with your process. Allow me to get the wheels turning for you.

I suggest you include these four key components in every fit (without exception):

1. The Customer’s Perceived Needs

2. The Customer’s Unperceived Needs

3. The Customer’s Wants

4. A Wildcard

Let’s take a look at each of these to better understand how they fit into your process.

1. The Customer’s Perceived Needs

This is a lob — the easiest of the four components. Odds are that upon entering, the customer promptly told you what brought them in. It was probably shoes, but it could have been anything. Covering this base is as easy as repeating their words back to them. Your words prove you were listening and create momentum, but this is only the beginning.

HOW IT MIGHT SOUND: “You’re here for shoes! Fantastic! You’ve come to the right place! Let’s get started.”

6 © 2024 Diversified Communications

2. The Customer’s Unperceived Needs

Unperceived needs are exactly as it sounds — things the customer needs but doesn’t know about. The only way to identify unperceived needs is to understand the customer’s full story. They only way to do this is to conduct an amazing interview. What do they plan to do with the shoes? Is mileage or surfaces a factor? Any particular injuries, past or present? Any specific goals? Anything particularly important about the shoes they’re about to try on?

There are plenty of questions you ask to ascertain the big picture. And once you have all you need, you start using the specific details of their story to name relevant product connections.


“You told me you’re dealing with some knee pain. Before you leave today, I’d like to show you some knee braces and a couple massage tools that may help you manage your pain. How’s that sound?”

3. The Customer’s Wants

Even a thorough and logical excavation of the customer’s story may keep their wants elusive. Maybe they’ve had their eye on a specific item for reasons unrelated to their particular activity. Maybe there’s something on their radar they are hesitant to bring up. Maybe they want shoes for themselves, but after your amazing fit they now want to buy someone a gift card.

There are a million possible maybes here. Since wants are something only they can tell you, your best bet is to lay those

cards on the table and flat out ask them what you missed.


“I believe I’ve mentioned everything that makes good sense today — but I’m wondering if there’s something else you’d like? What did I miss?”

4. A Wildcard

A wildcard in retail is defined as an unexpected (or lessexpected) product option. It can be any number of things — a product or brand that’s new to your store, an item of inventory that you’re trying to turn at a higher rate, or even a quirky thingy you want to randomly share with the customer. It need not be relevant or connected to the customer’s story at all.

So why do you show it? Because you simply don’t want them to leave without seeing it.

Sort of like you’re keeping them in the know. In the inner circle.


“Before we wrap up, there’s a new item we just got in that I’d love to show you. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever had and I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on it!”

Wrapping Up The Essentials Sale

A soup-to-nuts service experience is rare these days. Customers are used to walking into a retail establishment and having, at best, their perceived needs met. Rarely does a store take time to excavate any unknown possibilities just waiting to be uncovered.

Why do they skip it? Because a strategy like this takes a little extra time. But it’s this little investment in time that will

Customers are used to walking into a retail establishment and having, at best, their perceived needs met. Rarely does a store take time to excavate any unknown possibilities just waiting to be uncovered.

shine a brighter light on your store. It’ll prove to the customer that you genuinely want to help. That they matter.

You’ve already got the raw materials to make this a reality, so why not give it a go? Be advised, however, that developing a culture of knowledgeable, service-driven educators who crush the essentials category won’t happen overnight, so be sure to pace yourself.

Your efforts to make it so are well worth it. Because not only will this team of educators add to your total profit, they will also ensure your customers are able to do their thing successfully and with all the tools they need and want (or at least a basic knowledge of them).

They – your staff and customers – will also feel a deeper connection to you because you took an extra moment to show you care. Education, I assure you, is the secret to staff/ customer retention and to a booming business.

When the student feels successful, you are successful. Any teacher will tell you as much. Prioritize that. n

7 © 2024 Diversified Communications
Playing the wild card with a customer by surprising them with something new and different in the store fulfills a need they perhaps didn’t know they had.

The Essentials Issue

Rocking the (in)Sole

An example for others: How Red Rock

During his earliest years in run specialty retail, Mark Jimenez didn’t give much thought to insoles. In fact, he largely dismissed the category altogether.

“Who needs ‘em? And why?” wondered Jimenez, the owner or Red Rock Running Company in Las Vegas since 2018.

These days, however, Jimenez gladly champions the value of insoles to enhance the feel of a shoe, make customers happy and propel the success of Red Rock, which recently opened its fourth store in Sin City.

On average, Red Rock sells a box of insoles from Currex – the lone insole brand in its stores – for every two pairs of shoes. More telling of the category’s success at Red Rock, Currex is the fourth-ranked brand in terms of sales revenue across the company’s stores, nearly generating as much top-line revenue over the last 12 months as its top three footwear brands.

“We think that’s pretty good,” Jimenez says.

Red Rock’s success with insoles hasn’t come by accident, but rather intentional, calculated action designed to enhance the customer’s ultimate experience with their footwear.

Step 1: Understand the Value.

Jimenez calls getting out of his own way the first step to greater insole sales at Red Rock.

Insoles, he acknowledges, often provoke skepticism, particularly around the common claims many insole brands make about their products decreasing fatigue, improving comfort or reducing injury risk. Skeptical himself, Jimenez tested different insole brands and found some insoles enhancing his own experience, which includes a daily running streak topping 2700 days.

“I didn’t want to throw product at someone if it didn’t work for me,” he says.

In thinking about the long-term health of his shop, Jimenez also recognized the business value of improved insole sales. Through keystone margin and bulk purchasing deals, he saw a path to enriching the

customer experience while also boosting profitability.

“Insoles were a way to do more at the store and create long-term value for our customers and the business,” says Jimenez, who leveraged favorable terms from Currex to trial its RunPro product in his stores.

8 © 2024 Diversified Communications
Running Company kills it with insole sales. / Sales associates at Red Rock Running Company incorporate insoles into the fitting process by using a thermographic foot scanning tool and putting an over-the-counter insole into one shoe so customers can compare that against the standard sockliner.


Moisture wicking Dry 1st™ Technology Ultra durable Comformance™ yarns Max cushion 360 blister protection NEW Wicked Comfort™ Performance Socks Wicked dry. Wicked tough.

Rocking the (in)Sole (continued)

Step 2: Align fit process with your vision.

With product in hand, Jimenez then made the biggest – and trickiest – change of all: he mandated insoles become part of his stores’ four-step fit process called “PAWS” (Pronation, Arches, Width and Size).

Today, every staff member is required to incorporate the Currex ArchMap into the fit process. In about 10 seconds, the ArchMap’s temperaturebased technology can provide an accurate reading of a customer’s shoe size as well as their arch profile, which naturally leads to a product suggestion.

“The ArchMap is a tool to have a conversation with the customer, to give them information and those important touchpoints so they feel more validated and

informed,” says KJ Jimenez, Mark’s wife and Red Rock’s chief operating officer.

Gaining staff buy-in can be challenging, but Mark Jimenez insisted on it while also touting the benefits of insole sales to the customers, Red Rock and the staff themselves.

“This is really about being brave enough to make changes with your staff, giving them the product training and holding them to a standard aligned with the vision you have for your store,” he says.

Step 3: Ask the customer.

Amid the fit process, staff members are tasked to do one more thing as customers try on a pair of shoes: they put an insole in one shoe, but not the other. Then, they ask: Which

one feels better?

“It’s a simple question and then we move on,” Mark Jimenez says. “If they prefer the feel of the insole, we continue incorporating it into the shoes they’re trying on.”

KJ Jimenez believes running stores can luck their way into 25 percent insole conversion simply by placing an insole in one of the customer’s shoes and asking that either/or question.

“We’re definitely not waving insoles in people’s faces. It’s not pushy, but rather part of the fit process,” she says. “Really, we’re just having a conversation. It’s so seamless and people don’t notice it any more than us tying their shoes.”

Capturing results

Beyond integrating insoles into the sit-and-fit experience,

Red Rock doesn’t do anything splashy to earn its impressive results. It doesn’t pepper social media with posts over-trumpeting the value of insoles or offer special deals to customers who purchase insoles. Rather, Mark and KJ Jimenez manage the nuts and bolts of customer service, sales and inventory management.

If customers express their preference for an insole, but remain leery of making the purchase, for instance, staff will mention Currex’s 60-day satisfaction guarantee to ease concern. (It’s worth nothing other prominent insole brands in the run specialty channel offer similarly favorable guarantees to remove barriers to a sale.)

Store leadership also make trial insoles easily accessible to staff during fittings, restock the stores’ insole walls daily and invest in inventory to ensure staff are never without. Initially carrying only the RunPro from Currex, Red Rock has since added the brand’s walking and everyday-oriented SupportSTP style into its inventory mix as well to bolster its available solutions.

“We have repeat customers coming into the stores now to grab insoles for their other shoes,” Mark Jimenez says.

Red Rock’s intentional focus on insoles has helped fueled Red Rock’s overall success, including its ability to invest in high-quality, full-time staff.

“It’s all about being able to afford what we want to do for the community and that comes from taking a strategic look at opportunities in your business to do better,” Mark Jimenez says. n

10 © 2024 Diversified Communications
Red Rock Running Company owner Mark Jimenez once disregarded the insole category. Today, insoles are a visible part of the showroom at his four Las Vegas-based running stores.


Advice on merchandising the essential accessories category to get them noticed.

In the busy world of run specialty retail, it’s easy for the accessory category to get lost in the shuffle. Let’s face it, footwear is the product that creates all the excitement and gets the big attention from both retailers and consumers alike. This makes it no big surprise that finding time for curating and merchandising your accessory assortment (and a few other essentials) often falls lower on the “on to-do” list behind the myriad of other things that happen every day and night to keep your store running smoothly.

Although they tend to be less glamorous than cutting-edge footwear or beautiful new apparel collections, accessories are the sleeper of the run specialty world. They quietly keep runners and walkers more comfortable, hydrated and safe while the heavy hitter categories take the spotlight. From performance-enhancing gear to fashionable accents, the variety of accessories available can significantly impact a runner’s experience, so it’s worth your time to step back, take a few minutes and put a little extra effort in to displaying them well for your customers.

This article will dive into a few of these essential accessory categories that can be tricky to merchandise, but that can really shine when displayed effectively and can add significant sales dollars to your transactions. Over the decades of merchandising running stores and hanging every kind of accessory you can imagine, we’ve picked up some great tricks along the way. These tips will be helpful for run specialty retailers as you reset your

store with new product arriving or if you’re just looking for fresh ideas to breathe new life in to your existing displays.


Everybody knows how tough it can be to sell these products without customers touching and feeling them. So why not set up your electronics department to be more hands on? Whether it’s all GPS watch-focused and you include security watch cables at a bar or kiosk

area, or it’s massage guns that are displayed in cradles with charging capabilities hidden out of view, the ability for your customer to touch and use these products will greatly increase the likelihood of them making a purchase.

For the tech or electronics category, we often design a custom cabinet display with hidden storage below for backstock inventory. Then we drill some holes on the top of the counter and run the charging cords down to

12 © 2024 Diversified Communications
The Essentials Issue
Merchandising essential accessories – especially technical products – takes a little bit of creativity, such as with this Tech Bar recently implemented in the Runners Roost Denver remodel.
Boost Your Sales with Custom Insoles. Fully personalized insoles in under 3 minutes, right in-store. ► Increased revenue streams ► Higher profit margins ► Enhanced in-store experience ► Improved customer loyalty FIND OUT MORE ► MyFootBalance® service is Sports Technology Awards 2024 Finalist ( MEDICAL CATEGORY ) CONTACT US DIRECTLY AT SALES.US@FOOTBALANCE.COM OR BY PHONE +1 (858) 319-7744 READ MORE ►

the hidden power access. This presentation keeps things clean and streamlined, while creating an irresistible opportunity for your customers to give the products a try. The size of the cabinet or bar counter can be determined entirely by what the size your store will allow, but even a small hands-on display will be more enticing than keeping it all in the box.

Kent Wories, owner of several Colorado based Runners Roost locations, notes that they have seen a definite uptick in customer interest and sales in this category since creating their tech bar in their recently remodeled Denver location.

If space or budget doesn’t allow for a custom hands-on display such as this, the next best thing for displaying tech goods is in a vertical glass display case, ideally

one with some lights on top and a storage area in the bottom.

These cases can be found very easily from IKEA for around $100-$200 and they make the product easy to shop, as much of it is shown at eye level. I suggest avoiding horizontal glass display cases, as they tend to be where dust collects and products go to die.

These types of cases tend to be larger than what you actually need, so employees feel an urge to fill the extra space with anything they can, including old boxes, more inventory or anything else not nailed down. That makes for a clumsy, disorganized presentation.


If you have a large enough recovery selection to warrant demos, then I’d share the same advice as with the electronics

— get your customers touching and using the products to create excitement around making the purchase. Plus, if somebody’s hurting and can find some relief while shopping in your store, that’s a win all around. There’s no better way to improve your customer’s experience in your store then to allow them to loosen up some tight muscles on the spot.

Massage guns can go either way on the merchandising — either as part of your tech bar or carried over to the recovery zone, depending on your overall product assortment and the amount of merchandising space you’ve got. If they will be living in the recovery zone, I suggest displaying them either on a vendor cradle or on a shelf or bin near a comfy chair so your customer can relax for a few minutes and really enjoy using the gun on some tight spots.

I also recommend including a nice graphic in this space, inviting your customer to sit and try out some of the products. Also, including a mat on the floor or rolled up next to the chair is very helpful for trying rollers and other hand-held massage tools. Be sure to hang all products on a wall system or organized floor fixture in the same area so bringing something home after trying it out is too tempting to resist.


These little buggers can be trickier than expected when you take them out of the box and start merchandising. You’re dealing with several issues here:

• Some of this product is inherently “floppy” (yes that’s the technical term), while other items are more firm and less flexible (ie: a running hydration vest versus a hand-held bottle).

• There’s a large variance in size within this category and you’re faced with the daunting task of curating the entire collection to work together aesthetically.

• Your third challenge is to communicate the product use to the customer and make it simply irresistible to head home without it.

So where do you start? I would bring in somebody to help here — and by somebody I mean a torso or full body mannequin that you can display on a nesting table in the area or place on a shelf integrated comfortably on the wall. Finally, if budget and space allow, display an additional full body mannequin in the zone and allow it to tell your product story.

Retailers often forget that mannequins of all shapes and sizes can do much more than just sell

14 © 2024 Diversified Communications The Essentials Experience (continued)
An inviting Recovery Test Zone such as this at Gazelle Sports, Grand Rapids, MI, gets product into customers’ hands.

apparel. They can be your ace in the hole for accessories as well. And I don’t mean just drop on a hat or some socks on their feet, I’m talking about fully loading your mannequin friend with every appropriate accessory from head to toe.

This is a great way to illustrate just exactly how these somewhat clumsy hanger displaying vests will look on a human form. Have your mannequin clutching a handheld bottle, donning a waist pack or, if you don’t carry vests, drop on a hydration pack instead.

Seeing these products on display like this does something

very special — it brings them to life. These specialized products immediately go from something “floppy” to an exciting piece that your customer now thinks they can’t exercise without. It’s exciting to see these things in use.

As with all inspiring displays, be sure to display all of the product shown on the form right next to it in bins, on shelves or hung on hooks. When merchandising these types of products on a wall, it’s very important to keep things what I like to call “visually balanced.” This is different than absolutely symmetrical, where everything on the left side of your

display matches the opposing side exactly.

Having a visually balanced wall means that when you look at it, it feels “comfortable” to the shopper. It’s not too crowded, not too empty and doesn’t feel lopsided or “out of whack.” The best way to accomplish this is by placing all of the larger items on the bottom of your display and work your way up towards the top with the smaller pieces.

If space allows and you’ve got enough inventory to keep things full, then you can really knock it out of the park by placing larger items in this category (hydration

packs and hydration vests) on the wall with a torso form on a shelf and then carrying the category over to a floor fixture that houses all of the smaller items (waist belts, hand-helds and water bottles).

If you’re tighter on space and stock, then go for a tight, clean wall presentation with packs and vests on bottom for balance and then continue to display medium to smaller items as you get to the top.

Whenever possible, I suggest including category signage as well. Just because you know where everything is in your

15 © 2024 Diversified Communications
At top is an accessory “wall of death” because it is too confusing to shop. In bottom photo, the accessories well organized into category pods on the floor. Challenging small accessories can be displayed well on a floor fixture that makes it easier for a customer to find what they want -- or didn’t know they wanted..

The Essentials Experience

store (and what it’s all used for), your customers often do not. Remember, new runners or walkers may have absolutely no idea that a hand-held water bottle even exists, let alone where to find it in your store and how to use it.

Calling out technical features in your signs or suggesting staff picks similar to in a wine or bookstore is so helpful to shoppers, especially since they’ve come to trust your knowledgeable staff. Applying these simple tips when displaying the hydration category can create add-on sales and product users from even the most novice of consumers entering your store.


Every well-stocked running store ends up with a rather large mix of what I’ll call assorted, yet important, small accessories. These items may range from Body Glide-type products to detergents, to visibility and safety and beyond. There are a few important rules of thumb for merchandising these types of products.

First, never, under any circumstances, display non-edible items near anything that can be consumed. For some reason, there’s a tendency to lump all physically smaller items together, whether or not the categories align. There is absolutely no product adjacency between something you use for sun protection and an energy gel, yet I often see all of these items merchandised together as a quick “Grab-n-go” impulse item up front.

You’ve got the right idea about tapping in to the impulse purchase concept, but if all of these items will be up near the cash wrap, be sure to clearly separate their merchandising.

Second, you’ll notice that I said “next” to the cash wrap for displaying these items, and not “on” the cash wrap. That’s an important distinction to make. Placing all kinds of random accessories on the cash wrap never goes well. This results in a messy, cluttered presentation and a poor final impression for your customer as they pay and complete their transaction.

Your cash wrap should be a clean work space with a computer, a shop logo clearly placed somewhere (typically the back wall works great for this) and possibly some business cards or a small gift card display. All other add-on sales should be cleanly organized on a floor or wall fixture right next to the cash wrap for last minute grabs as shoppers head up to pay.

Finally, I’ll repeat my earlier point about hydration items to conclude my rules of thumb for merchandising these small accessories — and that’s to get them off the wall if at all possible. It’s so easy for small accessories to get lost in the shuffle of a large display wall and that results in frustrated customers and missed sales.

If you can pull these items off the walls and create effective “category pods” on small two-way fixtures (or something similar) with clean category signage on top, you’ll see much better sell through.

People’s brains like things organized, whether they know it or not, and going to one fixture for everything they need in one spot is a very pleasing shopping experience. Searching through a big wall of items is frustrating and makes your customers wonder why they didn’t just grab these few things online instead of driving down to your store to shop locally.


The last challenging category to merchandise that we’re going to cover here is sports bras. Despite them not being accessories per se, they’re absolutely considered an essential, so I’ll share a few pointers that will be sure to improve your merchandising of this category.

Let’s face it, many sports bras simply don’t have great hanger appeal. They can be floppy (there’s that word again), and can be clumsy with the straps that often get tangled on display. This is when you reach back out to your good mannequin friends from earlier in the article and put them to use.

I would argue that the sports bra category, almost more than any other, benefits most from being displayed on forms. I suggest investing in some bust forms and integrating as many in to

your sports bra section as will reasonably fit. It works best to dress your bust form with a bra on a shelf and then to place all of the color options available in this style directly below the form or right next to it.

Including graphics or signage to call out features or style names is always helpful. Placing your sports bra section close to the fitting rooms is optimal. If this isn’t possible, then at least double merchandise an offering of core basics right near the fitting rooms as a not so subtle reminder to all women walking in to try things on.

With this category especially, I would suggest honing in on your best sellers and working hard to keep them well stocked and well merchandised. Having a couple styles for low, moderate and heavy support makes for a great presentation, especially with alternate

16 © 2024 Diversified Communications
A well-organized sports bra wall with signage and graphics boosts sales of this essential product at Gold Country Run & Sports, Folsom, CA.

color options that are well organized and cleanly displayed on modern torso forms.

The Final Touch

No matter which essential product category you’re merchandising in your store, remembering to feature it throughout the store multiple times is always beneficial. People are short on time and energy, so products are often missed unless they’re shown multiple times to your shoppers.

If you’ve got a display in the front entry that includes some nesting tables and a mannequin, be sure to dress that mannequin as completely as possible with not only your latest and greatest apparel and footwear, but also all of the applicable accessories. Then, feature some of these same pieces on the nesting table right by the mannequin.

As customers wander over to the shoe wall, sprinkle in some

more displays on shelves with torso forms that continue to highlight some of the key accessories. Finally, over in the department where they’re being stocked, don’t miss yet another opportunity to display the products on forms or in an interactive display.

Remember, every single aspect of the experience you provide your customers from the moment they open your front door until they pay and walk out, leaves an impression that is very difficult to change. So if it’s positive, that’s great news. But if it’s less desirable, you’ve dug yourself a hole that’s very difficult to get out of in the eyes of your customer. Effortless shopping and visually appealing displays are the foundation of a great retail experience.

Merchandising accessories in running stores takes a little practice, but if you try your hand at some of these simple suggestions, you’ll start to see add-on

sales happening with very little effort. With the proper visual merchandising of these products, your customers will start to learn about all of the amazing extras that actually add comfort and safety to their active endeavors. Soon they’ll be asking themselves how they ever lived without them. n

Online training …

Holly Wiese is owner of 3 Dots Design, a well-known retail and merchandising consulting firm that specializes in the specialty run and bike channels. The firm recently launched a series of online training courses for visual merchandising and retail design. 3 Dots Design has worked with the top specialty retailers in the nation for decades and is sharing their expertise in these easy to use, self-paced courses.

The course offering will

continue to grow, but the initial selection includes one devoted to footwear presentations, merchandising difficult product categories, what to expect if considering a store remodel and general best practices for visual merchandising and store design (their most popular). Other training courses being developed include topics such as merchandising apparel and merchandising to women.

Most courses are 30-60 minutes. The pricing ranges from $99-$139 and the information is yours to view as many times as you’d like once you purchase. These are a great aid for training new staff or teaching long-time employees new tricks about making your store look great.

For all of the details:

17 © 2024 Diversified Communications
A “Staff Picks” sign at Independence Run & Hike, Carbondale, CO, calls out merchandise with a recommendation from an in-house influencer. In addition to apparel, a full-body mannequin shows off shoes, a waist belt leash, hat and sunglasses at Fleet Feet Montclair, Montclair, NJ.


Safe Strides

How running shops are making runner safety a priority and promoting it to their

customers. / By

The tragic death of Laken Riley, the 22-year-old nursing student killed while jogging on the University of Geogia campus last February, put a bright (and sadly, recurring) spotlight on runner safety.

As the epicenters of running culture in their local communities, run specialty shops play an important role in educating the public about safety while working out, whether it’s safety from personal attacks, traffic, nature or other hazards.

“I hate to be alarmist, but I also want to be proactive and the more we can help runners be equipped, aware and safe, the better,” says Genie Beaver, owner of Atlanta-based West Stride.

Beaver calls safety a big part of West Stride’s mission as a female-owned store. The 16-year-old running shop has hosted self-defense clinics, stocks its showroom with safety-oriented products and promotes regular group runs as an alternative to running solo.

Of course, West Stride isn’t alone in championing runner safety. Many other running retail operations embrace a similar mission, particularly, but certainly not limited to, National Running Safety Month in November.

Safety In Numbers

While certainly a marketing vehicle and community-building tool for running shops,

regular group runs are perhaps the single biggest way run shops can promote runner safety. Importantly, group runs reinforce the idea of safety in numbers.

If someone is to get injured or sick on a group run, someone is present to help. A group of runners, meanwhile, is more visible than a lone individual on the road.

Yet more, many stores design their group run courses with safety in mind, choosing well-lit paths and employing a “sweeper” to monitor the pack. At group runs, retail staff can also broadcast “rules of the road,” such as obeying traffic signals, running on sidewalks and crossing at intersections to stir awareness.

“In Georgia, our biggest threat is car visibility and awareness of rules of the road,” Beaver says. “It’s important that runners know about being a good citizen on the street.”

Programming and Events

On March 14, City Park Runners in Winnipeg announced it would be holding a Women’s Self-Defense Clinic on April 16. The two-hour event promised to cover simple escape and counter techniques, risk reduction, basic body weapons and awareness tips. The event’s 45 slots sold out in four hours, according to City Park owner Jonathan Torchia. Another 37 joined the event’s waitlist.

“It’s sad and unfortunate that women need to think about these things, but it’s relevant and important and the response

18 © 2024 Diversified Communications
The Essentials
From running safely at night to warding off a would-be attacker, safety is becoming an increasingly prominent issue and one run shops are working hard to address. Photo: Nathan
Learn how Aetrex Technology can help enhance your business Albert 2 Pro Enhance the In-Store Experience, Generate Add-On Sales & Collect Unique Customer Data What Retailers are Saying... “It’s a gamechanger...” “Increases conversions...” “Helps reduce return rates...”

Safe Strides (continued)

demonstrates as much,” says Torchia, who earmarked the City Park event’s $10-per-person fee to a local women’s shelter.

From the Charlotte Running Company in North Carolina to the St. George Running Center in Utah, other running stores have hosted self-defense clinics of late to raise awareness and readiness.

Extending the education beyond potential personal attacks, City Park Runners pushed the safety angle in a different direction with its Women’s Heart Health Event on February 26. At the free, two-hour program, certified personal trainer Amanda Younka presented the latest research on women’s heart health and discussed the preventative measures women could take to reduce their risk of a heart-related event.

Assorted Products To Promote Safety

The running industry is filled with products designed with safety in mind.

• Reflective apparel and bands to increase visibility and headlamps to illuminate a runner’s path.

• Bone conduction headphones to allow a runner to enjoy music while still being aware of external noise.

• Belts and pouches for runners to carry a phone, ID or money.

In addition, stores can alert runners to safety features on items, like reflective elements on jackets or footwear.

“Just as we need to think of what footwear runners need to stay healthy and active, we have to think about what our customers need to stay safe as

well,” says Nakia Weable, coowner of Feet First Sports in Columbia, MD.

The Digital Megaphone

Having safety-related products in the showroom, however, is only half the battle. It’s equally important that run shops let people know what’s available so they can stay safe and active on the run. Here, social media is a helpful megaphone.

Feet First and Runaround Running & Lifestyle in Joplin, MO, have both used Instagram to spotlight safety products available at their respective stores, from hats to LED clips to shoe lights.

In one Instagram post during National Runner Safety Month, Feet First not only shared a photo of various safety-oriented products at its shop, but also provided quick tips for running amid diminished daylight, such as traveling against traffic, carrying ID, following traffic laws and staying alert.

Running shops, such as Milwaukee-based Performance Running Outfitters and John’s Run/Walk Shop in Lexington, KY, meanwhile, have used their blogs to provide more detailed information on running safety. Both published “How to Stay Safe When Running in the Dark” articles, which included tips like monitoring the weather, sharing the running route with another and wearing reflective gear.

“It’s an admittedly delicate balance because you don’t want to make money off fear,” Feet First’s Weable says. “At the same time, though, you do want to educate and empower people so they can remain safe and active.” n

20 © 2024 Diversified Communications
City Park Runners recently hosted a sold-out Women’s Self-Defense Clinic inside its Winnipeg store (above), while Maryland-based Feet First Sports has used Instagram to share running safety tips alongside a photo of safety-oriented products at its shop.
Top Selling Running Essentials B2B: E: T: 800.806.1288 • No Minimums • Same-Day Shipping • New Spring Styles


One of the most respected executives in the run specialty and footwear businesses, Glenn Barrett will be inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame during the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) Leadership Conference in Phoenix, AZ, on May 22. Running Insight caught up with Barrett as he prepared for his induction into the Class of 2024 to find out his feelings about this honor for him and OrthoLite, how his business and the market it serves has changed in his tenure and where he goes from here.

Let’s start with this: What does your Hall of Fame induction mean to you personally?

It means that I’m old. [Laughs.] No. Seriously. This is a distinguished honor for a shoe dog and I am humbled. I look at the list of past recipients and it’s honestly overwhelming to be included with these titans of our industry.

Anyone you would like to recognize or thank as part of this honor?

I’d like to acknowledge a few people from early in my career, when I first had this audacious idea for a new product. There were several people whose confidence in that idea helped me move forward. I’m grateful to Peter Lunder, who encouraged me and backed my idea as a partner. Jim Davis, the founder and owner of New Balance, is the consummate entrepreneur. He was always a role model for me. Confidence, encouragement and trust are powerful for an entrepreneur. These folks gave me the fortitude to turn the OrthoLite concept into a business.

What does this recognition mean to OrthoLite as a company?

It’s further validation that what OrthoLite brings to the performance footwear market (has been and is) truly revolutionary. I’m incredibly proud of what this says about our product and the team behind that product.

What exactly does it say?

That together we created an entirely new category of materials to go inside of shoes. We identified a need and provided a solution that’s now universally accepted as a comfort and performance enhancement for all categories of footwear. We’ve always backed the concept of comfort. This honor may just mean we’re right — it turns out people do want to be comfortable.

What has been your role at OrthoLite over the years?

From coming up with the original idea to now, I’ve always been involved in every aspect of our business — often to the dismay of our troops. [Laughs again.] Seriously. What they may not know, and what I want

them to know, is that I’m constantly learning from my team and our industry dynamics.

Anything else?

I guess I’d say I’ve been the vision guy over the years. As anyone reading this knows, the footwear industry is a dynamic business and we need to constantly innovate in order to remain relevant. I’m always looking at new opportunities for us.

How does that impact how OrthoLite does its business?

That applies to our company culture, too. I try to encourage our people to be the best that they can be and to find mission in the value-add OrthoLite brings to our customers’ products and the global footwear market. From day one, I have stressed that individual ego doesn’t have a place in our company. That energy is otherwise focused on company and brand excellence.

How have you seen the running and

22 © 2024 Diversified Communications
The Essentials Issue
Glenn Barrett, taking time out at St. Andrews in Scotland, is proud of what OrthoLite has done and views his Hall of Fame induction this month as validation of what the company has accomplished. Founder

sporting goods business as a whole – and OrthoLite in particular – change over that time?

Innovation drives everything. It’s in the development of specific products and in how we bring those products to market. I’m not sure that concept has changed so much over time. But when you take into account the intensity of competition that’s pushing innovation, there’s been huge change.

That’s an interesting way to look at it.

You know what? I think the competition is a beautiful thing and reflective of sport itself. I thrive on it and I think it’s good for our industry.

Where does that change and competition come from?

We can all be grateful to consumers for this. Consumers are far more knowledgeable now. They understand what works, what feels good and what to ask for. Just look at the evolution in comfort in athletic footwear over the past 40 years. Can’t you just feel what it was like to lace up a few decades ago compared to now? We’ve come a long way.

OrthoLite has certainly made some impact in sustainability in its products. Why is that and how does that impact the way you do business?

Since the very beginning we have aspired to be better to the planet. Before sustainability was even a conversation in the industry, we were putting recycled tire crumb into our insoles. From our very first OrthoLite insole in 1997, every OrthoLite

product has included a minimum of five percent recycled material. We didn’t even talk about it for the longest time. We just did it because it felt like the right thing to do.

And how is that continuing in 2024?

While we’re proud of our heritage, we also feel it’s incumbent on all of us to accelerate the pace of positive change in terms of lowering our impacts. That’s what you’re seeing from us. OrthoLite is committed to developing more sustainable processes and products to strive toward a reduced environmental impact on the planet.

What’s your role at OrthoLite these days? You aren’t retiring yet, are you?

Retired? Absolutely not. I don’t even know what that would look like. I suppose my friends and family have a healthy –and reasonable – fear that if it weren’t for my day job, I’d be lost to golf and ski bumming.

But the reality is, I still love my day job.

So what’s a typical day like?

Nothing is typical in my world.

What are your favorite parts of your job these days?

That’s easy. My favorite part of the job is the people. I’m incredibly fortunate to work with a tremendous team of 3200 people across the globe and more than 550 of the world’s best footwear brands. The opportunity to work together and to inspire our teams across a variety of cultures fuels my curiosity. Learning to respect and how different people respond to similar goals is really what this thing is all about.

What about your least favorite?

My least favorite? Well, I believe listening is a skill that requires practice. It’s give and take and I’m sure I can always sharpen my own listening skills.

Sometimes I wish more people would share my belief that our collective listening skills could use a tune-up.

Any hobbies/pastimes our readers should know about you?

Skiing. Golf. The Yankees. My grandchildren, who are the coolest people that I know.

Go Yankees! Any message you want to send to the running and sporting goods industries on the eve of your induction into the Hall of Fame?

As an industry, I know we share the feeling that it’s a privilege to help millions of people experience sport through safer, better-performing and more comfortable gear. It’s a big thing, because sport is one of the greatest joys in life. Sports enrich our lives. We learn teamwork, discipline and passion. We develop skills and good health and get to have fun, too. The passion for what we do is fully present in the business side of running and sporting goods. I see the energy and commitment of the people who make up these industries. I’m honored and grateful to be a part of it.

Finally, what’s the future hold for Glenn Barrett — near-term and long-term?

In the near-term, I am on a constant quest to learn and evolve myself and our business. I will continue to travel and to listen to our people around the globe. And hopefully, I can inspire our team and provide concrete opportunities for each of them to be the best that they can. Long-term. How long?! n

23 © 2024 Diversified Communications
Glenn Barrett at a University of Michigan football game with his son, Nick (on right), and former Michigan quarterback John O’Korn.

Feeding The Wild

Backpacker’s Pantry joins the TCA ‘Keep it Wild’ campaign to support conservation

Food and the Great Outdoors go perfectly together, so it is only natural that Boulder, CO-based Backpacker’s Pantry, the familyowned maker of gourmet adventure meals, participated in the Spring 2024 Keep it Wild campaign. Organized by The Conservation Alliance (TCA), the week-long initiative aimed to raise awareness and funds for the protection of wild places and outdoor spaces.

During the campaign, which ran from April 18–24, Backpacker’s Pantry donated five percent of its online revenue to The Conservation Alliance. These funds will support TCA’s ongoing advocacy efforts, including the push for National Monuments in 2024.

The Keep it Wild campaign serves as a platform for brands to unite in their commitment to conservation. By joining forces with other member companies, Backpacker’s Pantry aimed to amplify its impact and raise awareness about the importance of safeguarding our wild places.

“Backpacker’s Pantry is proud to join forces with The Conservation Alliance for the Spring 2024 Keep it Wild campaign,” says Duane Primozich, CEO at Backpacker’s Pantry. “As outdoor enthusiasts ourselves, we understand the importance of preserving our natural landscapes for future generations. By participating in this campaign, we hope to not only support TCA’s vital conservation work, but also to inspire our customers to get involved in protecting the wilderness we all cherish.”

“In 2023 The Conservation Alliance and our business members helped protect over 12 million acres of public lands. Many of these special places were protected as new or expanded National Monuments — a proven tool for land conservation,” adds Conor McElyea, senior director of

membership and partnerships at The Conservation Alliance. “Unfortunately, National Monument designations don’t just happen. They require incredible efforts from tribal governments, grassroots conservation organizations and businesses. From town halls and trips to Washington, D.C. to marketing campaigns and field events, these campaigns require resources to thrive.

“This #WeKeepItWild campaign was an opportunity for our member brands, like Backpacker’s Pantry, to amplify their commitment to conservation at this critically

important time and get much-needed resources into the hands of community leaders and TCA grantees working day in and day out to establish new National Monuments.”

Backpacker’s Pantry joined other leading outdoor brands as part of the #WeKeepItWild campaign. The semi-annual campaign also included La Sportiva, Nemo Equipment, Trail Butter, Jack Wolfskin, Recover, Gu Energy Labs, UBCO, Nomadix, GSI Outdoors, Kahtoola, Fox River, Topo Athletic, Pistil, Sea To Summit, Active Skin Repair, and Outdoor Technology.

24 © 2024 Diversified Communications
The Essentials Issue


23 pages of the best essential and accessory products for run specialty retailers.


Caterpy Run laces feature an elastic bump technology that holds customized tension throughout all shoe eyelets. Caterpy laces solve all shoelace issues – ranging from inconsistency of tension throughout the shoe, lack of adaptivity for different foot shapes and inconvenience of tying laces.

MSRP: $12.95–$16.95

26 © 2024 Diversified Communications
The Essentials Issue


Camelbak’s Apex Pro Run Vest, designed with an added layer of safety for remote running events and backcountry exploration, has an added layer of safety in remote environments with the integration of Recco technology.

27 © 2024 Diversified Communications


Hüma is a veteran-owned company, producing energy gels in the U.S. with all-natural ingredients that are gluten free and vegan friendly. The gels come in 12 flavors — half caffeinated, half non-caffeinated, with four flavors offering additional electrolytes. MSRP: $2.50 per gel


Superfeet Run insoles flex with a foot’s natural motion, fit in various athletic footwear, including zero-drop running shoes, and can be trimmed to size. MSRP $54.99


Jason Markk’s Quick Clean Kit pairs its Ready-To-Use Foam Cleaner with its soft bristled Delicates Cleaning Brush to safely clean footwear, leather, suede, nubuck, cotton and knits. MSRP: $20


Tifosi Optics has two new Aviator sunglasses: Salto and Selca (in photo). Both feature lightweight bio-based frames and shatterproof polycarbonate lenses. They are the first aviators from Tifosi to feature Thrive Frames, which are crafted from a plant-based material derived from the natural oil of castor beans. MSRP: $34.95, polarized lens $59.95

The Workout Wardrobe Your Customers Dream Of Bags
Fashion, function and performance.
| @taviactive
Built for the Way You Live
Design forward and feature packed. Go from workout to race day with style and next-level


The Nix Biosensor analyzes sweat and provides runners with personalized hydration data —delivered in real time. This biosensor measures sweat throughout runs and sends personalized notifications to a phone, watch or bike computer in real time to ensure proper hydration. MSRP: $129


The SLK x Rhone EVO 2.0 Control Max paddle is a solid choice for beginners and intermediate players — and for run retailers looking to add to their product mix – because it is designed with a large sweet spot and spin-friendly materials. MSRP: $100


PowerStep Pulse Performance Insoles are for pain relief and prevention. Featuring ShockAbsorb Premium Foam and built-in neutral orthotic arch support, the insoles stabilize the foot and improve alignment with duallayer cushioning that absorbs shock. MSRP: $52.95


Alter Ego’s Cruiser fit is an ultra lightweight unstructured running hat with glow-in-the-dark stitching, AER Splash water repellent tech and an inside runner pocket. MSRP: $49

30 © 2024 Diversified Communications


Garmin’s Forerunner 165 Series offers two models — the Forerunner 165 and Forerunner 165 Music that both boast easy-to-read full-color displays, responsive touchscreens and a traditional five-button design. Both watches get up to 11 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and up to 19 hours in GPS mode.


Costa Sunglasses’ 580 Gold sunglasses feature a rose-based lens for clarity and added scratch resistance. Designed with a lighter Visible Light Transmission, 580 Gold offers enhanced versatility across a spectrum of lighting conditions, ensuring optimal clarity whether out on the water in the bright sun or on an overcast day. At the core of the sunglasses lies Costa’s polarized 580 glass lens technology, known for clarity and color enhancement.


The Go Guarded Hand-Held with Stun Device is a stun device up top, with a Go Guarded blade below designed to provide runners with a selfdefense tool. The loud crackling voltage sound of the stun device can scare off threats. But if not, the stun device will deliver a shock that is enough to temporarily incapacitate an attacker. The Go Guarded blade at the bottom can be used for additional self-defense. MSRP: $35.99

© 2024 Diversified Communications

Exhibit at The Running Event 2024

NOV 19 – 21 / AUSTIN, TX

More than 70% of the 2024 exhibit hall is already filled. Will your brand be there?

What TRE 2023 Exhibitors had to say about the event:

This is the epicenter for all things running industry.”

Given all the various shows out there, this show produces results in connecting with retailers, making industry contacts and selling product.”

If you want to be relevant in running, plan to be here for three years if you’re a new brand. Best Industry shows on the planet!”

Produced by: Book your
Contact your dedicated account representative or email to get the conversation started. *Testimonials from TRE 2023 post-event survey
booth for 2024


Amphipod’s newest R3 Express limited-edition drop offers bounce-free performance, more storage and crossbody convertability. MSRP: $35

34 © 2024 Diversified Communications


Junk headbands are a blend of style and function with a wide range of colors and patterns. Made with moisture-wicking materials, they stay in place no matter how intense a run gets. And beyond functionality, Junk headbands are a canvas for selfexpression. MSRP: $16.99

35 © 2024 Diversified Communications


The Flexx Hydration Systems from MXXY features a dual reservoir and mix dial to deliver water, supplements or a blend of both. The mix can be adjusted to suit taste, exertion level or the outer conditions for dialed hydration throughout runners’ adventure. MSRP: $94-$99


The Dragon Alliance Momentum sunglasses feature an injection molded plant-based resin, a natural bio-based plastic that is a cleaner alternative to standard petroleumbased plastics. The material comes from castor bean oil, a highly resilient and renewable plant resource. Other features:


Essentials exist for the most vital of needs, such as Body Glide’s anti-chafe and the formula with added emollients.


Grab n’ go is a cinch with the Vooray Sport Cinch and its athlete-inspired design. With interior zip pockets and an insulated water bottle sleeve, it’s a bag for race day or training.

Essentially Speaking

Part 1 ... Vendors offer their insight into selling the category.

“Run specialty is just that: special. Customers support run specialty stores for their professional shoe fitting and expert advice. They trust stores to offer them performance gear from head-to-toe — not simply shoes, socks and insoles. Performance gear includes accessories. Further, many accessories are consumables and may not be available everywhere. Accessories bring customers back into the store. Customers will return to store more frequently to replenish their supply than the 261 days between transactions listed by Upper Quadrant.” — Wade Heggie, Owner, Kinesys

“Ask customers if they have ever experienced fatigue or felt held back due to fear of an injury. If they have a body, of course they have.“ — Shanen Carney, Chief Brand Officer, Go Sleeves

It boils down to proper staff training. Passionate staff who know about the product and introduce it to their customers is essential to increasing sales volume on accessories. Knowing the value that can come from adding accessories to each order.”— Geoff Pedder, Director of Sales, Tread Labs

“Customers enter run run shops for the unique experience. Our top retailers keep their recovery demo products near footwear. That way when they go back to grab shoes the customer is able to use that time to experience recovery tools.”

37 © 2024 Diversified Communications
Essentials Issue


BibBoards’ Metal bibSnaps save apparel from holes with a metal design and runners can wear them after an event and show off what they’ve have accomplished to everyone. MSRP: $19.95


JamBar’s new flavor, Tropical Trio, is a blend of banana, pineapple and coconut. This plant-based bar contains gluten-free grains and walnut butter, along with 10g of protein and 5g of added natural sugars. MSRP: $2.99–$3.49


The VaporLite Cape Cap from Sunday Afternoons is ventilated for maximum evaporation and its design makes it easy to stow the cape without adding bulk. Made with 100 percent recycled bluesign fabric and PFAS-free DWR, this cap includes UPF 50+ sun protection. MSRP: $50


Ketone-IQ by HVMN is an energy boost shot without sugar or caffeine to help improve focus, clarity and performance.

38 © 2024 Diversified Communications


The Pinnacle Featherlite Vest from Nathan is for the minimalist runner, with zero bulk that fits like a second skin or a piece of apparel. Nathan’s Power Stretch Mesh offers maximum breathability and comfort. The vest does not accommodate a bladder, but rather comes with a 14-ounce soft flask (pocket can hold up to 20-ounce flask).

39 © 2024 Diversified Communications


Firefly is a recovery device designed to help runners recover faster and reduce soreness by increasing blood flow. Firefly Recovery devices are small and portable, so runners can recover on the go. The new Elite Starter pack comes with six Firefly devices. MSRP: $160


KINeSYS Pro Sport SPF 45 Clear Mineral Sunscreen Stick applies clear to offer runners 80 minutes of water- and sweat-resistant sun protection. With a fragrance-free formula and no-touch application, runners can use this for the face and body. MSRP: $20


Currex RunPro insoles enhance the comfort and fit of running shoes and sneakers by reducing fatigue, enhancing stability and regenerating faster with optimized movement and flexible arch support. MSRP: $54.95


Supernova sunglasses by Koo Eyewear are designed to be highperformance, frameless sunglasses for running. Available in six colors and weighing just 21 grams, the Supernova sunglasses feature a shatterproof, anti-reflective, nylon toric lens with 100 percent UV protection, a wraparound style and an interchangeable nose pad. MSRP: $200–$220

40 © 2024 Diversified Communications

Essentially Speaking

Part 2 ... Vendors offer their insight into selling the category.

“Focus on the essentials. Focus on your store’s customer base and what is essential to them. Shoes, socks and apparel are usually the focus, but can overshadow things a customer can find to be useful and beneficial to their running regimen. It means focusing on the customer’s wants and needs as they ask, tell, hint towards and pull that item. Suggest essential items that align with the seasons, such as sunglasses during the summertime or lights when a customer mentions early-morning runs. All in all, focusing on each customer individually you will find that the little things matter.” — Bailey Fowler, Events and Sales Manager, CEP

“We are happy to give staff samples as needed to retail partners. We have found the single best way to convert customers is to have staff wearing our laces. Their unique look can usually start a conversation. As someone who worked in run specialty for a few years, noticing customers who don’t untie their shoes to take them off is a great way to feel out your target market.” — Shane Huckeba, Marketing Manager, Caterpy

“Inspire customers with seasonal newness and freshness. Essentials are fun, colorful and affordable and can bring customers back more frequently. Keep staff engaged by creating fun weekly merchandising challenges with new gear and seasonal colorways. Ask staff to be the shop’s live Lookbook models and watch your customers’ and team’s response.”

41 © 2024 Diversified Communications
The Essentials Issue


Aetrex Speed Orthotics help prevent injury, alleviate discomfort and reduce fatigue. The design features Aetrex’s arch support to help biomechanically align the body and help prevent common foot conditions. MSRP: $69.95


CEP 2-in-1 Cold Weather Gloves can be worn as gloves or mittens and feature integrated Smart Grip technology for fit and grip, while also offering a Smart Touch function that allows runners to use touchscreen devices without removing their gloves. The gloves offer Thermal Clima technology, keeping hands warm and dry. MSRP: $39.95


Tread Labs’ Pace Insoles offer medical-grade support for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, severe overpronation or heavy feet, These insoles are designed to deliver firm support combined with arch support and a deep heel cup to decrease impact and improve stability and balance. MSRP: $75


Go Sleeves combine the healing power of kinesiology tape with the support of a sleeve. Go Sleeves increase recuperating blood and lymphatic flow to specifically targeted muscles, ligaments and tendons. MSRP: $99.95

42 © 2024 Diversified Communications


The R8 Plus massage tool from Roll Recovery encompasses a patented, hidden mechanism in the frame that features an adjustment dial that reduces or increases the massage force as needed. The tool helps improve circulation and reduce inflammation and breaks up muscle adhesions for myofascial release. The R8 Plus targets the IT-bands, quads, hamstrings, calves, shins, gluteus and arms. MSRP: $169


Runners can cut down the amount of gear they need with Mojawa’s HaptiFit Terra, a singular device that combines the benefits of smart watches, in-ear headphones and a personal trainer into a sleek, head-mounted design with an IP68 dustproof and waterproof rating. The built-in AI Sports Trainer acts as a coach by providing real-time direction to adjust pace, continue for another lap and hit the right distance. In addition, Mojawa’s 3D pressure-sensitive haptic vibrations make the HaptiFit Terra intuitively interactive, so users don’t have to pause or look at their phone to adjust volume. MSRP: $299


Orange Mud’s Transition Wrap Extreme is a waterproof car seat protector paired with a belt for quick changes anywhere. Designed to combat sweat dirt, or just to keep the car fresh and clean. MSRP: $49.95


The Eco SPIbelt, which launched on Earth Day is made from 100 percent recycled materials (from old fishing nets turned into nylon that helps save marine life, as well as spandex that gives new life to recycled waste). MSRP: $29.99

43 © 2024 Diversified Communications


Foot Balance’s Hossa insoles have been developed specifically for runners, offering cushioning and moderate support to help reduce stress-related injuries. The Hossa insoles keep the feet cool and dry while running, with a breathable fabric that wicks away moisture. FootBalance insoles are made with recyclable and sustainable materials. MSRP: $80

44 © 2024 Diversified Communications

Essentially Speaking

Part 3 ... Vendors offer their insight into selling the


“Knowing that every foot is unique and more than 75 percent of runners suffer from a foot imbalance, the key to selling more insoles is to educate customers and offer a fitting process that presents them with their best options and encourages them to try on products that maybe they weren’t aware could suit their needs. With team members delivering an informative, consistent and engaging fitting experience, the products will sell themselves.”

“Educate your staff and your customers. Having a staff member who is the expert goes a long way in training other staff and talking to customers about points of differentiation.” — Bruce Cannon, Sales Manager, JamBar

“Have someone or multiple people test and use the product themselves. It’s much easier to talk through the product confidently when you’ve used the product, seen your own sweat data and can truly understand the metrics.” — Olivia Crozier, Senior Marketing Manager, Nix Biosensor

“Recovery is becoming more top-of-mind for runners to help reduce soreness and be able to achieve their goals with consistent training. Firefly helps busy runners prioritize recovery without taking time out of their busy day by providing a recovery product that moves three times more blood than compression and allows runners to recover while they work, walk the dog, prepare meals, or go about their day.” —

Lauren Campbell, CMO, Firefly Recovery

45 © 2024 Diversified Communications
The Essentials Issue


Made for those times and places where runners need to pack their own privacy, the PackTowl Changing Poncho is both towel and personal changing room. This practical, double-duty workhorse lets runners get naked, get dry and get into a new change of clothes without showing so much as a tan line. It dries fast, doesn’t smell and absorbs water easily. MSRP: $59.95


Pro-Tec’s CryoSteel Ice Recovery Roller is a cold therapy tool designed to expedite muscle or sports injury recovery. The ice massage works to reduces inflammation while mobilizing soft tissue and stays cold for more than one hour, providing multiple ice massage applications per freeze. MSRP: $29.95

46 © 2024 Diversified Communications

Essentially Speaking

Part 4 ... Vendors offer their insight into selling the category.

“Retailers can sell more of these essential products and, more specifically, sports medicine/recovery by making sure their staff is educated on the products in category. Being able to emphasize the importance of body maintenance and recovery products helps your runners become more familiar and comfortable with the items in the store, taking them one step closer to purchase and expediting their recovery. Informative product packaging is critical as well as video training programs like Myagi.”

— Jeff Rodgers, CEO, Pro-Tec Athletics

“Run specialty retailers should carry accessory products to help their customers get the most out of their footwear through proper protection, cleaning and maintenance,”

— Ben Will, VP–Sales, Jason Markk

“The key to selling nutrition and accessories is a well-educated staff familiar with and with real-world experience with the items the store is offering consumers.” — Tim Dennis, Director of Sales and Marketing, Huma Gel

“Upgrading a retailer’s performance-driven line of refillable deodorant, luxurious anti-chafe balm and sweat-resistant hydrating sunscreen is a no-brainer for anyone looking to level up their next run.” — Nichole

Powell, Founder and CEO, Kinfield

47 © 2024 Diversified Communications
The Essentials Issue


Ultralight, yet feature-heavy, the new Dynafit DNA 8 running vest holds everything runners need for a long run in the mountains. Two shoulder water bottle pockets have elastic bands to keep half-empty bottles from flapping and can be accessed in an instant via snap flaps. Pole storage via a loop quiver is simple and two large waist pockets make accessing snacks and light layers as easy as reaching down. MSRP: $195.99


Mammut’s Men’s Aenergy TR 5 lightweight vest is made for pacepushing adventures — at the sweet spot between comfort and practicality. Its light, breathable construction features wide, ergonomic shoulder straps and adjustment options at the chest and sides. MSRP: 144.95


Deuter’s Traick Running Vest features a garment-like fit and breathable stretch fabric that provides a snug fit with zero bounce. A bungee sternum strap system allows for precision adjustment to the tension and full breathing comfort at varying levels of intensity. MSRP: $125-$135


The Mudroom Intermodal otw backpack has a rain cover securely stowed in the carrying handle in a mini-zippered compartment for easy deployment . In addition to the carrying handle that houses a rain cover for the backpack, there is also an escape hatch in the bottom. MSRP: $125

48 © 2024 Diversified Communications


Tailwind Nutrition’s new Rapid Hydration electrolyte mix features real sugar in order to boost the body’s ability to hydrate. MSRP: $18.99–$29.99


Optical heart rate sensors work by using light to measure blood flow in capillaries beneath the skin. Coros’ Heart Rate Monitor can be worn on the arm to gather heart rate data such as with a traditional chest strap, with more convenience. MSRP: $79


Launching this month, Peach is Nuun’s new seasonal in and out flavor, only available for a limited time. Light and crip, it is a refreshing warm weather flavor with effervescence that comes in 10 servings per tube. MSRP: $7.49

49 © 2024 Diversified Communications

Kinfield’s All Star Anti-Chafe Balm helps reduce friction with its hydrating vegan stick with ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil and mango seed butter, plus plum oil and apricot kernel oil to calm and repair irritated skin. It can be applied anywhere runners experience chafing, redness, hot spots or blisters.

MSRP: $16

50 © 2024 Diversified Communications

NOV 19-21, 2024


The Call for Education is open!

We’re looking for a diverse range of voices to share new perspectives and industry expertise with our passionate community of run and outdoor specialty retailers. All are welcome to submit a session proposal.

Speaker Benefits

• One complimentary registration pass, which provides access to all sessions, keynotes, networking functions, and the exhibit hall

• Invaluable networking opportunities with other presenters and industry peers

• Photo and biography featured on The Running Event website and app

• Session featured in marketing promotions and The Running Event 2024 Guide

• Exposure in Running Insight

The Running Event 2024 Call for Education closes Thursday, May 16. Click below to learn more and propose a session:

Produced by:

Essentially Speaking

One More Thing ... Vendors offer their insight into selling the category.

“Essentials keep moving. Footwear and clothing are essentials. So are hydration, nutrition, and anti-chafe products, and all are vital consumables. Shoppers are not heard asking if a store has a hydration, nutrition, or a skin accessory. They buy them if they see them, and often on impulse. Merchandising matters – multiple facings, waist high to eye level, sell more!”


“The best way to increase sales: When people visit to prepare for a 5K or marathon they need to secure the bib. No more safety pins.” Brian Goodell, Director of Events, Revenue & Registration, BibBoards

“Specialty run retailers can sell more of these products by having a 3D and pressure foot scanner in store to better understand individual foot health needs. Once you know a customer’s arch type and pressure data underfoot, it’s easy to see which orthotic would help customize their footwear from the insight out to help prevent injury, reduce pain and increase their comfort while running.”

52 © 2024 Diversified Communications
One More Thing ...

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.