Running Insight 6.1.22

Page 1



MARCH 16, 2020 JUNE 1, 2022



The expanding essentials category is the place for run specialty retailers to become the one-stop-shop for their customers.


The Essentials Issue



the bread-and-butter of a run retail product mix.

But with such a diverse selection of products

Apparel, although challenging to sell, is of equal

available, retailers need to be smart in their

importance. They aren’t going anywhere anytime

purchasing, inventory and merchandising. These


following pages contain a little help with of all of

Essentials and Accessories are a key and growing category for run specialty — but it needs to be handled properly. rom nutrition to hydration, sunglasses

with the creative smaller one-product brands –

to recovery, “essential” products can

comes in. There is certainly no lack of product

make or break a bottom line at run

available to complement the core categories.

specialty. Sure, footwear remains

that — along with 14 pages of new and best-selling But the Essentials category – defined here as every-

Essentials products for Fall 2022. Enjoy. n

thing but footwear, socks, insoles and apparel, which have their own categories – can separate run specialty from online or big-box retailers if done the right way. Runners need their stuff and run retailers

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and their vendors are in a perfect position to supply it.

For run specialty, the key to a solid Essentials mix is knowing what runners in their market need. That’s where the selection of these essentials from the major vendors with multiple offerings – along RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2022 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published monthly, is edited for owners and top executives at running specialty stores and available only via email.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. Divesified Communications, 121 Free St, Portland, ME 04101; (207) 842-5500.



Christina Daemon Filson....................................................... Glenn Mark Sullivan....................................................




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The Essentials Issue


A happier customer is essential for a healthier run specialty business. / By Tom Griffen


ustomers hate to repeatedly have to come back to the store to get everything they could have purchased – and would have purchased – during their first visit. Year after year, industry surveys tell us exactly

that. But even though we’re aware of this simple fact, run specialty retailers still put the majority of their attention on the one product they are known for — footwear. And although shoes are the bread and butter, it’s a tremendous oversight to focus on them

while the selection of amazing essentials sit alone on the racks, taking up space and gathering dust. However, this predicament, it turns out, is also opportunistic. Because what would happen if you and your team collectively committed to expand

A happy customer is a repeat customer, so run retailers need to be sure they are a one-stop-shop for all their needs beyond footwear — including the Essentials.

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Beyond the Shoe (continued)

In our world of run specialty, we often worry that this sort of professional outfitting will be seen as a disingenuous attempt to boost sales. But fact is, if we are truly matching products to the customer’s unique story, we will rarely, if ever, be mistaken as deceitful. the fit stool conversation beyond footwear? Maybe you’d have less customers with chafing issues, knee pain or other injuries. Maybe folks’ bouts of plantar fasciitis wouldn’t last all summer long. Maybe your training programs and event participation will blossom exponentially. Or maybe the season’s marathoners will be less likely to bonk mid-race. These maybes, and plenty more, are the key to cranking up revenue with a greater emphasis on the Essentials (don’t call them Accessories) category. Happy customers a nd a healthier business are a choice away. And bonus, this choice do esn’t have a downside. Because when you focus on essential products besides footwear, customers will still keep coming in the door looking 6

for shoes. Which means you’ll keep selling shoes at the normal rate, but you’ll also sell a whole lot more items that aren’t on customers’ radars when they first walked in your door. A Outdoors Retail Tale I want to tell you about a personal shopping experience. Please bear with me. A few years back, when I was getting ready to walk the Oregon Coast Trail, I scoured blogs and books and bought up a small fortune’s worth of essentials. I got a new backpack, sleeping bag and ground pad. I locked down a pair of trail shoes, some killer insoles and a couple pairs of sweet Merino socks. With only a stove remaining on my to-buy list, I stopped by a reputable outdoor store to complete the prep. As soon as I walked into the shop, an attentive employee greeted me and prompted me to tell my story. She heard me out, celebrated my aspirations with a high-five and infectious smile, then deepened her inquiry and leaned into my answers. At some point she told me we’d look at stoves, sure, but there were also a few other things I may need (or want) for a successful Pacific coast thru-hike. She asked if I was open to hearing about such things — I was. And not only was I open to it, I was legitimately excited to hear her thoughts on my story. The first thing we did was grab a shopping cart. She then proceeded to walk me around the store, pointing out a handful of items. She prioritized them as such: Items I needed (and why), items I may need (and why) and items I may want (and why). In each case, she offered

the product’s relevance to my story and educated me on its attributes. Some items ended up in my cart, some did not. She followed a retail “rule” I often mention during workshops: Don’t stop offering products until one of two things happens: 1. The customer says they are out of time. 2. There’s nothing relevant left to suggest. Safe to say she ran out of items to mention. But even then, she still asked me if there was anything else I was interested in learning about. There was not. I left the store with a rock solid stove and so much more — all of which proved useful during my adventure. Reframing the Essentials Sale In our world of run specialty, we often worry that this sort of professional outfitting will be seen as a disingenuous attempt to boost sales. But fact is, if we are truly matching products to the customer’s unique story, we will rarely, if ever, be mistaken as deceitful. To elevate the focus on essentials in your store, first rally your team around the importance of taking better care of customers. Then, reframe your service focal point around the customer’s overall story, not just their need for shoes. Once you’ve reset your foundation, follow these seven practical steps towards happier customers and bigger profits: 1. Listen intently as the customer tells their running journey story. 2 . A s k qu e s t i o n s ab out their story, then ask more depending on the answers.

Bottom line, the shoe fit is a vehicle for so much more than a footwear sale. If we meet customers where they are, we’re more likely to get them everything they need today.

3. Make mental connections between the customer’s story and possible products/services that will enhance it. 4. Get permission to make s u g ge s t i o n s b eyo n d t h e customer’s perceived need. 5. Educate with context. Example: You may need/want this — and here’s why. 6. Only stop offering if you’ve exhausted relevant suggestions or if the customer is out of time. 7. Before heading to the register, ask if you missed anything. Bottom line, the shoe fit is a vehicle for so much more than a footwear sale. If we meet customers where they are, we’re more likely to get them everything they need today. Which inevitably means happier customers and a healthier business. n © 2022 Diversified Communications


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The Essentials Issue


Expanding an essentials assortment requires a strategic plan. / By Liza Amlani and Raj Dhiman, Retail Strategy Group


xpanding a run specialty product assortment to include essentials a nd a c c e ss or ie s w i l l ke ep customers coming back to you as the go-to resource for everything running. The trick, however, is knowing what your runners need to be wearing from head to toe, what they need to feel good pre- and post-run and what’s required to fully live the running life. So now you might be asking yourself: “Hold on a minute, so I have to potentially add nutrition, lights and sunglasses to my inventory? What’s the value in that?” Or some retailers might already be on board the essentials train, but ask: “I’m already bringing in accessories, but how do I know exactly what or how much stuff to bring in?” And then the real marathoners in the retail world might be asking “We’ve got a good handle on accessories and we want to make our own, but how do we get started?” All of which are great questions. Here are some answers to remove the guesswork to expand a product assortment to have more tools to surprise and delight your customers. 1. One-Stop Shop Let’s think of ourselves as a consumer for a moment and ask ourselves, “What would be easier, visiting four different stores to find everything I’m looking for, or just one?” Clearly, it’s more efficient to complete all transactions in a single place. As a running retailer, it would be detrimental to have a customer get their shoes from you, but go elsewhere to buy a cool hat or the techiest sunglasses. Accessorizing your assortment ensures that a customer completes his or her look with you so they don’t have to think about 8

Doing it all: Run retailers should find a dedicated space for their essentials, in addition to spreading the product assortment around the store to promote impulse buying.

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Filling the Gap (continued)

Examples of a full display of footwear plus accessories at BlackToe Running in Toronto, Canada. Visual merchandising shows the entire look that a runner can buy in one place.

how to style an outfit. This eliminates guesswork for the customers as to what they need and where they should buy. Other categories, such as men’s formal wear, for example, excel at this. Suits are sold alongside shoes, plus fragrance, shoe laces and pocket squares. Luxury leather goods is another example where an assortment of bags has peripherals such as footwear, wallets and scarves to complement the apparel outfit. But, of course, there is a bigger story to be told than just the run itself. Runners have their pre-run prep and post-run recovery rituals. This opens the door to a larger, supporting cast of a c c essor ies, i nclud i ng supplements, lights and garment care items. The message is simple: If a retailer can curate the right products, they can showcase the entire running journey plus adjacent activities. What does this mean for you? This entices the customer to spend more time in your store versus heading to the competition to fill in the gaps. Naturally, this leads to an increase in basket size. Better yet, you are creating an allin-one running destination by showing customers that you have everything they need pre- and post-run. 2. The Customer Is Your Partner Now that we have identified the value of bringing these essentials into your product assortment, the next step is to consider which products to stock. Should you lean towards supplements, recovery items or race gear? Should you pick


just one or bring in all three? Choose carefully because there are implications in choosing a dud. Cash tied up in dead stock and holding excess inventory can send your margins in a tailspin. There is a guiding light to help you make assortment decisions. It already exists within your four walls — your customers. That’s because running stores are much more than a place to transact — they serve as a hub and destination within the community. Naturally, it becomes easy to get feedback and insights directly from them. Chat with your best customers and ask what they are buying from other places that they would buy from you? What are they searching for, but can’t find? Did they see something on their favorite athlete that is a must-have? The key here is determining what they don’t buy from you and why. Next, reach into the data that you might already be collecting about you r shopp ers. For example, retailers with a loyalty program can create customer segments and personas. If e-commerce is available, there are insights in search data and abandoned carts. This provides clues as to what the customer is looking for. Finally, shopping the market is critical. Comp shopping the big-box stores, walking trade shows and observing what your competitors are stocking is part of the retail journey. Seeking trends and seeing if competitors are stocking products could be a sign of something you need to test in your stores. Feedback, data and comp shopping will eliminate your © 2022 Diversified Communications

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Filling the Gap (continued)

At checkout, runners should be able to see and touch an array of supplements and perhaps a massage gun to complement their running lifestyle.

guesswork when looking to expand your product mix. 3. Fill the Gap Okay, we know essentials can be valuable and we have customer data telling us what they want. Next, let’s take action to fill the assortment gap. Start with your vendors. Give your vendor partners results of your customer feedback

inquiries and the data you have captured from identifying assortment gaps. In return, offer up your stores to be a testing center for new products that aim to fill the void in the assortment. Testing before committing to large quantities will help protect your gross margin and valuable real estate. Curate with the newbies. New vendors will be especially keen

Private label mugs are a part of the assortment at BlackToe.


to partner with established run specialty retailers to gain market entry. Partner with the new brands to provide items that will not be found in other stores; this leads to a wonderful discovery experience for customers. If the new vendor becomes a hit, there is tremendous value in the long term for you as an early adopter. Go Private. Major retailers are moving into private label because of the healthy margins it has to offer. Tap into your vendor community and test your own brand across selected essential categories. Co-branding with your vendors provides access to skilled designers and developers, thus, lowering your barrier to entry. Hats or mugs with your logo can help style your apparel and footwear selection along with being a great marketing tool. Involve your customers in the design of the product and give them exclusive access when it is ready to launch. Again, the power of the running community can’t be understated here. The BlackToe Story Looking for an example to tie everything together, we reached out to the owners of a prominent running destination in the heart of Toronto, BlackToe Running, on how they are able to leverage the above principles to expand their accessories assortment. (BlackToe has been operating in t he downtown Toronto area since 2013 and recently launched its second storefront in midtown.) They told us the story of how they teamed up with hat brand Ciele when they first launched, giving them the real estate in-store to showcase their hats. Customer feedback was positive

and the brand sold out within weeks. Both the store and vendor grew in tandem and Ciele is now a global household brand. Being the first to ca r r y the brand helped BlackToe d i f fe r e nt i a t e it s el f f r o m other run stores. Moreover, the owners consistently tap into the BlackToe running community and their own brand ambassadors to gather intel on what else should be brought into the store. Expanding To Serve The value in expanding product assortments to include accessories comes from aligning with what the customer needs. The benefits are three-fold: • Diversifying your core product mix with essentials will help your customer complete thei r look and keep them shopping in your stores. • Talking to your customers removes the guesswork in what you should fold into your assortment. • Finally, taking the learnings from your customers back to your vendors to develop and test products serves to fill the assortment gap. n Retail Strategy Group works with global retailers, brands and retail tech companies to help them achieve business growth. Their newsletter, The Merchant Life, attracts niche retailers, VPs and C-suite executives beca u se of th eir th ough t leadership. To connect with them: www.retailstrategygroup. com or at www.themerchantlife. com Or emailprincipal and co-founder, Liza Amlani, at © 2022 Diversified Communications



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The Essentials Issue

Mixing It Up Run shops embrace new drink mixes to increase sales opportunities and expand customer base. / By Daniel P. Smith


hen Heather Henderlong and her husband Todd opened the Extra Mile Fitness Company in Valparaiso, IN, a decade ago, the store’s hydration category consisted of old-school electrolyte drink mixes and a recovery mix or two. As Henderlong witnessed rising customer interest in alternative dietary options – gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, GMOfree and the like – as well as a growing array of products from established and upstart nutrition players, however, she expanded Extra Mile’s drink mix offerings accordingly. Today, for example, Extra Mile stocks an assortment of products from Gnarly Nutrition to satisfy customer preferences, spur traffic and boost revenue. Earlier this year, Henderlong brought in the Salt Lake City-based brand’s vegan Performance Greens product – “An easy way to start the day that we thought would fit easily into our customers’ different nutrition plans,” she says – as well as its GMO-free Collagen Pro offering. “With about 65 percent of our customers being women, this seemed like an easy sell,” Henderlong says of Gnarly’s collagenfueled mix. Both the Gnarly products, in particular, have found a following at Extra Mile. “People are going to go through their nutrition a lot faster than their shoes, so products like these give people a reason to visit our store more often,” she says. The Opportunistic Rise of Drink Mixes As nutrition brands have innovated beyond the basics and pushed compelling new products into the marketplace, the drink mix category has swelled over recent years and emerged as a noteworthy sales


Products such as Gnarly Nutrition’s Collagen Pro represent the growth of the drink mix category and offer attractive new sales opportunities for run shops.

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Mixing It Up (continued) group that roams his store each week to UPS and FedEx drivers. In suburban Chicago, Dan O’Keefe, the nutrition buyer at Naperville Running Co., has pulled in additional products from the likes of Hammer and Infinit. The latter’s Mud meal supplement has become a popular go-to for those who prioritize a morning workout over a full breakfast. “Our philosophy is to carry mixes so we have something for everyone,” O’Keefe says. “When we’re able to fulfill the solutions that people look to us for, they come back.”

From old-school electrolyte-packed mixes to meal supplement powders, the Naperville Running Co. in suburban Chicago stocks an assortment of drink mix options from brands like Hammer Nutrition, Skratch Labs and PowerBar.

opportunity for run shops. No longer limited to drink mixes exclusively tied to strenuous physical activity, these retailers a re i nvesti ng i n products designed for regular, if not daily, use — such as Mantra Labs’ Super Greens and Rest, Hammer Nutrition’s Whey Protein and the Immunity, Vitamins and Rest tablets from Nuun. While stores must be prudent about the drink mixes they carry given space and financial considerations, many see clear benefits to stepping outside the traditional silos of electrolyte and recovery mixes. For one, these additional products help expand their customer base beyond the fitness enthusiasts. Henderlong says she regularly sells Nuun Immunity and Vitamins to steel workers, hospital staff, landscapers and 16

others seeking vitamins or natural products for a healthier jolt of energy. “With these products we’ve been able to expand our market to anyone who’s moving and could use a boost,” she says, adding that there’s another appealing reason to car r y assorted drink mixes. “As a run specialty shop, I want to sell stuff that goes in water because then I can sell bottles and packs, too.” Mea nwh i le, Rya n Hess, co-owner of The Loop Running Supply Co. in Austin, TX, views the influx of new drink mixes as a promising conversion opportunity. “Once customers start buying these types of items regularly from us, it’s a path to bigger purchases,” says Hess, who regularly sells drink mixes

and even Floyd’s of Leadville Stage 17 Dark Roast Coffee to customers from the 150-person Gilbert’s Gazelles training

While stores must be prudent about the drink mixes they carry given space and financial considerations, many see clear benefits to stepping outside the traditional silos of electrolyte and recovery mixes.

7 Drink Mix-Moving Sales Tips After adding these additional SKUs to their showrooms run shops then need to move the product. Retailers share these sales-driving strategies. 1. Keep staff in the loop. O’Keefe provides information on nutrition products to all Na p e r v i l l e Ru n n i ng C o. staff members, highlighting e a ch p r o duct’s p oi nt s of differentiation and why it’s worth introducing to customers. “People rely on our staff for valid insights and we want to com mu n icat e as much information as we can,” says O’Keefe, who also encourages staff to rely on their own firsthand experiences with a product as well as customer feedback to inform discussions with customers. 2. Empower advocates. Allowing staff, fun run leaders, coaches and other store-level “influencers” to trial product is a sure-fire way to increase k nowle dge about va r ious products and generate advocates. © 2022 Diversified Communications





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Mixing It Up (continued)

Amid the fun run invites, race announcements and new footwear debuts that line its Facebook page, Extra Mile also sprinkles in mentions and photos of drink mixes and its nutrition category siblings.

Mantra Labs’ Rest formula is designed to help individuals relax, sleep and wake up feeling rested, a compelling proposition for results-chasing runners as well as those leading busy lives.

“We have local coaches pumping up a lot of these products for us,” Hess says. 3. Show, don’t tell. When armed with samples from vendors like Mantra, Hess will share the product at The Loop’s group runs so people can try the product themselves. He calls the “taste test” key to propelling interest and promoting sales. “Word of mouth is good, but personal experience is even better,” he says. 4. Keep an ear to opportunities. St a ff at Ext ra Mile a re encou rage d to sp ot sa les opportunities beyond the run. 18

A family going to Disney or hitting the national parks, for instance, is ripe for the convenience of drink mixes that pack a nutritional, energetic punch. “We use every angle we can,” Henderlong says. 5. Incorporate drink mixes into digital marketing. Amid the fun run invites and new footwear debuts that line its Facebook page, Extra Mile also sprinkles in mentions and photos of drink mixes and its nutrition category siblings. “And inevitably, someone will come in and buy after we post something,” Henderlong says. 6. Always be hunting. O’Keefe stays attuned to new

products. If a customer asks about a particular drink mix he doesn’t know much about, he hits the Internet to find out more and, when necessary, requests trial samples from the vendor. “We don’t want to be behind the curve,” he says. 7. Monitor the numbers. C a l l i ng d r i n k m i xe s a category that “ebbs and flows,” O’Keefe maintains a constant eye on sales. Over the last three years as Naperville Running Co.’s nutrition buyer, he hasn’t been afraid to add new products or cut slow-moving items based on sales data. “Everything we carry in our store has to make sense,” he says. n

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The Essentials Issue

Healthy Opportunity A top running coach offers clues on how run specialty might champion important add-on sales. / By Daniel P. Smith


top running coach in New York City, Elizabeth Corkum (aka Coach Corky) is accustomed to sharing thoughts with athletes intended to imp rove their performance or make their running routine more enjoyable. During a virtual running workshop held in March, Corkum brought her tips on running gear to a larger audience. In discussing topics such as apparel, nutrition, hydration, skin care and footwear, Corkum’s 30-minute program not only delivered relevant information to runners, but also offered under-the-radar insights into how run shops might position or market accessories to generate awareness and drive valuable add-on sales. “Runners always need to be thinking about what works best for them.” Different strokes for different folks, right? The insole, energy gel or recovery drink that works well for one might not work well for another. It’s why run shops carry a varied assortment of products to begin with. The Takeaway: Urge runners to trial different items that can improve their experience, offering samples or trials as available, and encourage them to reflect, analyze and remember what worked and didn’t work. Also, point out new products arriving in the store, highlighting their features and, even more, their benefits. Don’t be afraid to make a case for why an item is worth testing out, especially if customers identify a particular problem. “Walking, hiking, living, breathing, existing, chafing is a part of being a human being.” While Corkum offered these words in 20

Coach Corky believes run shops can play a vital role in the health and well-being of their customers.

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Healthy Opportunity (continued)

Corkum believes that a comfortable runner is a happy runner.

a discussion of Body Glide, the popular anti-chafing balm sold by run shops across the country, it’s a reminder that products brought into the store for running purposes often have an audience far beyond runners. The Takeaway: Look for ways to showcase and promote the wide versatility of existing products beyond t he r un. Visibility and reflective items can be great for early-morning or late-night dog walks, insoles can be an effective addition to casual footwear or brown shoes and Body Glide and its antichafing peer products are useful for hikes and travel. Heck, even a headlamp can be touted as a bedtime reading tool. “It’s the unfortunate part of being a runner in 2022, particularly as a female, that we might 22

need more than just our phone with us.” Any number of mishaps or unfortunate incidents can happen on a run. On the road, someone could attack; on the trail, a bear could approach. Runners might face injury or find they need a boost of energy. While it’s unrealistic to carry a large backpack of items for every conceivable scenario, bringing some key, portable items can deliver peace of mind and help extract runners from a sticky situation. The Takeaway: By identifying potential mishaps on a run, especially through real stories from customers, running stores can highlight the practicality of different items. A zippered pocket on apparel, for instance, can hold money and a key. A belt can hold a smartphone, a credit card and an inhaler.

“For somebody who’s training for something longer or is out there in tough conditions, it is really important to think about electrolytes.” While the recreational runner putting in 20-30 minutes on the road might not consider hydration or nutrition, someone plowing through more miles or facing more challenging conditions, such as high heat or humidity, would be well served to think about replenishing the body during a run. The Takeaway: Selling is about listening and customers’ comments or answers to specific questions often open the door to sales opportunities. By asking customers how long they run or if they are preparing for any events, for example, run shops can suggest nutrition or hydration solutions worth testing. For a few bucks, a runner can try different gels, gummies or electrolyte-packed solutions to support their activity. “Those long runs are dress rehearsals for race day. It’s always best to have those moments of regret or struggle on long runs.” Whether it’s new footwear, a new energy gel or new apparel, it’s best runners resist trying something new on race day. By and large, running shops know this. Customers should, too. The Takeaway: As local runners prep for their fall marathon or as participants in a store’s Couch-to-5K group prepare for their session-closing run, point out the potential problems that could arise, note in-store solutions and remind runners to experiment early and

Selling is about listening and customers’ comments or answers to specific questions often open the door to sales opportunities. often to find the formula that works for them. “When running is comfortable, it’s enjoyable.” Corkum wears contact lenses and detests getting dust, debris, pollen, dirt or a bug in her eyes while running. It’s why she routinely dons eyewear on her runs. The added protection helps to foster a more comfortable, enjoyable run. The Takeaway: Yes, run specialty shops specialize in the sit-and-fit experience and selling footwear, but all those other items on the showroom floor – gels, sunglasses, compression calf sleeves and so on – have a place in a runner’s arsenal to cultivate a more enjoyable experience. As t he exper ts, it’s t he running store’s role to listen and thoughtfully introduce solutions. As Glen Kamps at Dick Pond Athletics in suburban Chicago often says, “We do our customers a disservice by not calling out the items that can make their activities more enjoyable and comfortable.” And more comfortable runners are likely to be more dedicated runners – and customers. n © 2022 Diversified Communications





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Essentials 2022

BibSnaps from BibBoards keep numbers secure to clothes without making holes, rusting or unclasping. MSRP: $13.95 “We work with many run specialty stores to increase incremental sales at the stores. Average order value: $48. People are collecting them. Repeat customers. We see people may hate safety pins and realize at that moment they want a safe alternative.” — Brian Goodell, Founder Princeton Tec’s lightweight micro-USB rechargeable Axis Rechargeable features an ambidextrous and glove-friendly sidemounted button that lets runners choose between four different beam settings and the surrounding dial provides dimming in all modes. MSRP: $59.99 “Just have associates think more about add-on sales and people’s time. Time is hard to come by, but people still need their run, so promoting a headlamp for a run in the early morning or after dark is usually an easy add on.” — Dave Cozzone, VP–Sales


Knuckle Lights One is the brand’s most powerful light yet, with a 350 lumen, extra-wide LED flood beam that will light the entire path ahead. The unit is USB rechargeable, providing more than three hours of run time on the highest power setting. MSRP: $60 “By simply asking one additional question during a shoe fitting you can provide a number of solutions to help: When and where do you typically run? The ‘when’ may be early in the morning, where safety gear is critical to keep them safe.” — Dan Hopkins, Founder Muir’s Mango Lime Hydration Mix is its For Sport mix formulated with training days in mind, featuring a dose of electrolytes and minerals without additives; the pink Himalayan salt provides sodium and natural fruit sources provide potassium, both important for preventing fatigue, brain fog and cramping. MSRP: $35 for 20-serving bag

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Essentials 2022

KidRunner is a hands-free running stroller designed for kids six months to 4.5-years old. Parents say that the stroller “floats” behind them while they retain their natural running form and performance, “a game changer.” MSRP: $748.99 Renegade’s Odor Eliminator does not mask odors, but instead it neutralizes them to get the funk out. It is formulated for shoes, athletic pads, equipment, gym bags, car seats and anything else that can’t be thrown in the washing machine. MSRP $12.99

Nuun Daily Hydration contains five essential electrolytes, no sugar and comes in a range flavors. Formulated for no-sweat activities, it provides runners an option for healthy hydration habits and all-day refreshment. MSRP: $6.99

“From our perspective, successfully selling detergent, cleaning products and other accessories at run specialty comes down to an eagerness and genuine enthusiasm for add-on sales. As a consumable item, the product itself should be viewed more as an opportunity to get customers back in store before it’s time to get new shoes.” — Adam Short, VP–Sales

“Specialty retailers can sell more accessory products by getting their staff selling the idea that running and feeling your best is only possible from a holistic approach. Ultimately they need to teach customers to think about building habits with accessory products that yield consistent recovery and preparation for the next run.” — Joe Schippani, Customer Development Manager


© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Inspired by bold eye-catching colors that make a statement outdoors, Junk Brands created its Reverb headband design with brightly The with All Out Singlet from rnnr is contrasting colors a wave, creating motion lightweight andintegrity. eco-friendly, designed to while still keeping each hue’s manage moisture for any run. The singlet is made with Dri-release recycled and organic fabrics for a soft feel and the knit construction moves moisture to keep runners cool, without the use of harmful chemicals. The singlet wears a hi-viz reflective lightning bolt that can be seen from afar. MSRP: $45 ”Traditionally running accessories have been all about functionality and less about style. rnnr is a part of the movement in mak-ng accessories not only functional, but an easy way for people to express their style and show who they really are.” — Kate Arsenault, Founder

The Pace 2 is an updated version of the Coros’ GPS watch. With 30 hours of GPS battery, 20 days in regular use along with Triathlon and Multi-sport modes, the Pace 2 can withstand long distances. The Coros Pace 2 offers free access to the Coros Training Hub for advanced data analysis and direct contact with personal coaches (when applicable). MSRP: $199

HotShot for Muscle Soreness harnesses heat to calm hyperactive nerves, which helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. The new soreness variant is then amped up with 100 percent plant-based, scientifically proven ingredients that help increase the body’s production of Nitric Oxide (NO), which in turn helps promote vasodilation and blood flow. MSRP: $4.49

“Electronics are often not included in the fit process, perhaps because of the price point. However, if you look at the start of any road race you will see nearly everyone wearing some variety of smartwatch. Many of these runners are shopping in your stores for shoes, but then go to the Apple store for their tech. If your customers are serious about their training goals, showcasing the advantages of sports tech will better help them achieve their training goals.” — Dan Suher, Director, Global Sales and Marketing

“There’s so much misinformation about nutritional supplements online that makes it difficult for consumers to separate fact from fiction. People inherently trust their running retailer to know what’s true and effective based on their needs. They can amplify that expertise to include wellness/nutrition to further differentiate themselves from online sellers and be a more holistic running partner for their customers.” — Matt Wohl, President and CEO


© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Leki’s Ultratrail FX.One Superlite comes equipped with the new Trail Shark, a grip-strap system developed for trail running. The pole can be easily collapsed and folded to carry in the hands or stow away in a trial running belt or pack. MSRP: $219.95 “Put a trail running pole display in with the running shoes. The floor display has a small footprint and we are hoping to help educate trail runners that having poles is just as critical as having shoes and a source of hydration.” — Sven Brunso, Director of Marketing

Nathan’s TrailMix 12L is built for the higher-capacity loads runners want while trail running, with the ability to carry plenty of layers, snacks and water. The pack features an internal compression system that tightens the load against the back to avoid bouncing, and the roll-top main compartment allows runners to adjust their carrying capacity.


The Power Plate Pulse has six intensity levels and a six-hour battery life from a single charge. MSRP: $199.99 “Put a massage gun in their hands while you enter their information into your POS. Hand them a product to try while you run to the stockroom to get their shoes. Keep the products near the register and make sure they’re fully charged so they can do their magic.” — Paul Goldberg, National Account Manager

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Inspired by bold eye-catching colors that make a statement outdoors, Junk Brands created its Reverb headband design with brightly contrasting colors with a wave, creating motion while still keeping each hue’s integrity.

Caterpy’s no-tie shoelaces make use of elastic bump technology that holds customized tension throughout all eyelets. Caterpy laces strive to solve issues ranging from inconsistency of tension throughout the shoe, lack of adaptivity for different foot shapes and inconvenience of tying laces. Non-tying shoe laces give runners a customized fit and can alleviate circulation issues, foot pain and other unwanted conditions. MSRP: $11.95 “Extra essential accessories can add significant revenue to each order, on top of customizing running products to each customer.” — Anthony Pong, Executive Director Crossover Symmetry’s CS Hip and Core System includes training programs to improve performance and 30-day rehab plans for hip, knee, and lower back pain. MSRP: $45 “Before coughing up their hard-earned money for extra things, runners need to feel the pain of these problems. The formula – Problem, Agitate, Solution – can help runners appreciate the help that these accessory items can provide. Try to foresee the problems they will face, but agitate the pain that will be felt if left unaddressed.” — Matt Unthank, Director of Training and Education


© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

The Freeze Sleeve is a hot or cold therapy compression sleeve providing 360-degrees of even coverage to aching muscles and joints, while also proving comfort, flexibility and mobility to runners. Available in a variety of sizes to treat any area of the body, Freeze Sleeve provides 20 minutes of treatment time. MSRP: $49–$75 “Active recovery is becoming more of a focus within the running community and having the right mix of recovery products is essential for a retailer’s Injury Prevention & Recovery category.” — Jonathan Kerner, Head of Sales and Marketing

PowerGel Hydro delivers fast-absorbing carbohydrates during exercise. Comprised of a thin consistency, the PowerGel Hydro is for runners who prefer a more liquid gel. MSRP: $46.99 “The best way for retailers to sell more of this product is to have it available for customers to try. ” — Tom Federico, Founder and CEO


GO Sleeves Knee Sleeve improves blood flow and stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal. Runners can reap the benefits of the kinesiology care prescribed by professional physical therapists and sports doctors without the time-consuming and expensive office visits. MSRP: $152.95 “Retailers have an opportunity to educate consumers and will increasingly have their own experience recovering in GO Sleeves, and possibly running in them as well. The personal knowledge and experience they can share with customers is invaluable.” — Darren Lancaster Co-founder and CEO

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Inspired by bold eye-catching colors that make a statement outdoors, Junk Brands created its Reverb headband design with brightly contrasting colors with a wave, creating motion while still keeping each hue’s integrity.

Pro-Tec’s Slider Exercise Discs help runners with their cardio and strengthening exercises for a complete body workout. The discs can be used to activate arm muscles, shoulders, back, glutes, core and upper and lower legs and feature customized foot straps keep feet securely in place. MSRP: $17.95 “The message to the employees and to customers should be that every runner needs to take care of their body. It is not just about getting the right running shoes — the more you prepare your body for the run by strengthening and keeping flexible your muscles the better your performance, the less likely you are to get injured.” — Jeff Rodgers, CEO

Petzl’s Bindi is an ultra-compact rechargeable headlamp for everyday athletic activities. At 35 grams, Bindi fits in the palm and with 200 lumens of brightness it is made to support training in urban environments and for everyday athletic activities. MSRP: $44.95 “I know a lot of our customers leave a Bindi in their daypacks to ensure that they always have light for those unplanned nights out.” — Tristan Sipe, Communications and Marketing Specialist


Kahtoola’s Exospikes Footwear Traction features 12 durable tungsten carbide spikes that stand up to mixed ice and snow on rocky trails as well as asphalt and sidewalks. MSRP: $62.95 “Have that direct interaction with the product. Give prospective buyers a chance to see, touch, feel and especially try on the products over their existing footwear and the response is almost always a pleasant surprise.” — Li Cui, Marketing and Communications Associate

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Roll Recovery’s R1 Percussion Massage Gun is a compact, portable massage gun with long battery life, simple operation and low volume. Percussion massage therapy helps loosen runners’ stiff muscles and has many neurological benefits. MSRP: $129 “Research shows that close to 80 percent of runners experience an injury at least once during the year — so eight out of the 10 runners a retailer is fitting in their store will go on to have an injury in the year. With numbers so high it makes sense for retailers to offer and promote products for injury prevention and treatment. ” — Matt Hensley, VP–Business Operations

Salty Britches is a soothing, long-lasting barrier against skin irritation for any occasion. Created to withstand salt water chafing and provide runners with year-round, all-day protection. MSRP: $13.95 “Having a stuff display certainly helps, but one thing that can help is strategically placing product around the store for people to see. Have it scattered throughout the shoe display, on tops of clothing racks and by the checkout.” — Amy Tucker, CEO

Sprints’ Taco Tuesday Running Hat is inspired by the high percentage of Google searches the day gets. Coincidentally, Tuesday is also the most popular day for casual runners to get their first mile in of the week. MSRP: $32 32

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Inspired by bold eye-catching colors that make a statement outdoors, Junk Brands created its Reverb headband design with brightly contrasting colors with a wave, creating motion while still keeping each hue’s integrity.

Turtle-Flip Running Mittens from Turtle Glove are convertible with a low-profile design to remove the floppy mitten piece when using the open finger configuration. They come with watch view options for left or right-hand watch wear. MSRP: $35–$40

The Tiger Tail Energy Mat soothes and energizes tired feet. The cushioned mat, covered with stimulating acupressure heads, sends tingling relief through aching feet. MSRP $24.95


The SPI Crossbody Pro features a spacious pocket that expands to fit any phone, plus keys and other personal items. It can also be used as a running belt by double wrapping the belt around the waist. MSRP: $39.99

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Lucyd’s Darkside Bluetooth Smart Audio Sunglasses come with wireless headphones and a built-in mic for runners to upgrade their eyewear. MSRP: $149

The Teleties Pride Pack features a three-pack of colorful hair ties that work on all hair types, don’t leave a crease and prevent headaches. MSRP: $7.99–$9.99 “Teleties sell themselves because they are the perfect accessory for every runner. Never worry about pulling your hair back again and focus instead on pounding the pavement.” — Kimberly Devitt, VP–Public Relations


Floyd’s of Leadville’s SportsCream line now contains a Full Spectrum offering infused with its patent-pending powderized CBD distillate that features a full array of cannabinoids designed to work synergistically and in harmony with runners’ bodies. MSRP: $70

The Tea Spot Everest Tea Tumbler - Travel Bottle with Tea Infuser for Loose Leaf Tea or Iced Coffee is a 22-oz insulated stainless steel tumbler with a sizable ultra-fine tea infuser inside a sleek double-walled vacuum sealed body that keeps drinks hot for six hours and cold for 12 hours. MSRP: $33.95

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Inspired by bold eye-catching colors that make a statement outdoors, Junk Brands created its Reverb headband design with brightly contrasting colors with a wave, creating motion while still keeping each hue’s integrity.

Bonk Breakers’ Energy Chews give runners a much-needed kick to power a workout or get through those afternoon meetings. Strawberry Energy Chews are clean, easily digestible and flavorful bursts of energy. MSRP: $22.50 “Finding the right nutrition product is a trial and error process because every runner is different. By being part of a journey to find what works for them, retailers not only get sales from the initial trial, but they build trust and will be top of mind.” — German Martinez, Senior Marketing Manager

Active Hydration is Tailwind’s drink that includes collagen and Vitamin C to support joint health and electrolytes to keep runners’ bodies well balanced during light workouts. Clean, simple ingredients with no diet sweeteners or salty aftertaste, to elevate hydration. MSRP: $21 for a box of 12


100%’s Hypercraft has just added a new family member, the Hypercraft XS. With a size reduction of 15 percent, Hypercraft XS still has the same UltraCarbon technology. This reduced-scale performance shield is designed for women and smaller-faced athletes who demand bold performance eyewear. MSRP: $165 Stoke is multi nut and seed butter formulated to support optimal physical and mental performance. MSRP: $11.99 “It is pretty easy to ask: What do you eat before you run? I would assume a lot of people answer ‘PB and toast/banana.’ If you’re going to buy a pair of specialty running shoes, it’s best to invest in the best nutrition.” — James Perez, Co-founder

Bu spray-on sunscreen is noncomedogenic (won’t block pores), hypoallergenic, water and sweatresistant while being oil, alcohol, Paba, preservative, paraben and gluten free. MSRP: $9–$22 “Have a small display at checkout and a tester bottle to show why it’s so different. It is essential to protect your customers so they don’t get sunburned or, worse, skin cancer, by offering them a product that’s proven and not available in the drug stores.” — Jeff Kletter, Co-founder

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Shwood’s Canby Activ collection blends classic shapes with performance sunglass features. The no-slip, no-fog, no-bounce design allows for unobtrusive sun protection. MSRP: $149

Monkee Mount is a hands-free massage gun holder to help with back, neck, shoulder or hard-to-reach relief. MSRP: $75.99

“While elite runners may need something that is totally performance focused, most runners want to wear a pair of shades that they still feel cool in when they meet up for post-run beers with friends.” — Dan Genco, Sales Director

“Accessory products are a great way to increase the overall checkout value. They are often relatively easy for a customer to understand the value for and are easy to showcase as part of the customer journey while they wait for shoes or are just hanging in the store.” — David Mils, CEO

They are not just a pair of conventional tights — they are more of a support brace. Built for running, hiking and training, Stoko’s K1 Tempo features Embrace System technology, three-quarter length, pockets, color options and knit ventilation for breathability in warmer environments. The K1 is an entire lower body support system that has completely reimagined how runners deal with knee injuries. MSRP: $298


Skin Slick continuous spray skin lubricant keeps blistering, skin chafing and friction at bay. It is water-resistant, sweat-proof and only removed with soap and water. MSRP: $13.80 “At the end of helping a customer in their store, ask a simple question. For instance: When you run, do you chafe or blister? Asking questions makes the customer think about the problem, then the run store has the answer for them.” — Karen Allard, CEO and Founder

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Essentials 2022

Inspired by bold eye-catching colors that make a statement outdoors, Junk Brands created its Reverb headband design with brightly contrasting colors with a wave, creating motion while still keeping each hue’s integrity.

Run Gum’s Energy Gum can now be enjoyed in Tropical Boost, Watermelon and Fruit Punch flavors. MSRP: $1.99

Zealios Reef Safe Sunscreen is free of ingredients that could harm coral reefs, while still holding the same properties as the original Sun Barrier. MSRP: $18

Pro-Tec’s Total Body Resistance Bands help runners gain strength while maintaining range of motion and flexibility. They come in three (10-, 25- and 40-pound) resistance tubes with handles. MSRP: $24.95

BioLite’s HeadLamp 330 has a maximum output of 330 lumens, red night vision and is rechargeable. Made with a moisture-wicking fabric to keep runners dry, this headlamp can sustain 40 hours of charge on the low setting and 3.5 on high. MSRP: $59.95

“You choose a smart watch to monitor various aspects of health, but why not pick up the most important performance protection essential — sunscreen for every single one of your outdoor runs. ” — Ryan Dolan, President

The Wrap G is the latest addition to goodr’s collection that offers runners a wider field of vision than a typical pair of Wayfarer sunglasses, while allowing for no obstruction or blind spots on the side. MSRP: $45


© 2022 Diversified Communications

REI Joins the Race Run specialty retailers examine how the outdoor Co-op’s enhanced running effort will play out. / By Amanda Loudin


ith its fingers on the pulse of the American outdoors market, retail giant REI C o - o p i s a g g r e s s ively ramping up its presence in the running vertical. Looking to capitalize on the synergies between the outdoor consumer and the running community, as well as taking advantage of the current boom in running, the retailer’s expansion will include more shoe offerings and its own label of run clothing. With an 80-year history in the outdoor industry and revenues north of $3 billion in 2019, few would bet against the company’s strategy. What remains to be seen, however, is how the Co-op’s push in running will impact the run specialty stores that fueled that boom in the first place. While REI intends to offer elevated in-store and digital experiences, many runners are doggedly loyal to their local specialty store. To reach this consumer, REI is educating its store staff in the vertical and taking giant steps to emulate the personal touch that has made run specialty the community it has become. One thing is certain, however: REI is entering at a time when running is hot, hot, hot — thanks in part to the pandemic. “We expect that in 2022, running shoes will outperform the rest of the athletic shoe market,” says Matt Powell, senior industry advisor for sports at NDP Group. “The market hasn’t been this strong since 2013.” Powell sees the consumer more focused than ever on health and fitness and on outdoor activities that can be performed in a socially distant environment, all hangovers from the pandemic. REI is banking on this — and the fact that there’s plenty of overlap between its traditional outdoors Co-op member with the running consumer. 38

REI is aggressively ramping up its presence in the running vertical, taking advantage of its strong consumer loyalty and the ongoing boom in the sport in America.

“The numbers show that 50 percent of runners cycle, for instance, and that 40 percent of runners hike or camp,” says Fan Zhou, REI’s run activity director. “When we think about how REI can serve that person, we think running is a great entry point.” Not only that, but post-pandemic shopping habits have changed. “Many people are looking for one-stop-shopping these days, rather than having to drive all over town to get their gear,” says Powell. “REI offers that.” The Rising Running Tide While REI is capitalizing on a new running boom thanks to COVID, so too are independent run specialty shops. The

blueprint for that success – and how to live in an REI world – can be found at the Fleet Feet in Monroe, LA, where owner Mike Fronsoe says that the pandemic served as a “perfect storm” for success. In business for just a couple of years when COVID lockdowns began, Fronsoe worried about the viability of his store. “But once we re-opened our doors, we suddenly had a new audience of formerly inactive people who wanted to get healthy,” he says. With a personal foothold in the community, Fronsoe and his staff have capitalized on this new audience and created events that resonate. “We tried a training program, but that didn’t take off here,” he says. “So we began offering a Tuesday night ‘cookie run’

© 2022 Diversified Communications

The all-new Cloudsurfer. Run on clouds.

REI Joins the Race (continued) REI nearby. “There might be a good number of people who get turned on to running thanks to REI’s presence in the space,” he says. “Maybe they will come to us next time.”

The shoe wall at REI stores is going to have even more of a running focus as its new strategy takes hold in 2022.

and that’s been well received. We’ve since added two brewery runs, too.” T h is fe el for t he lo ca l community is an area where independent stores can compete against an REI, says Fronsoe. W hile the nea rest R EI to Monroe is two hours away, Fronsoe says the town does have a Dick’s Sporting Goods nearby. “They offer a few of our brands,” he says, “but we offer a personalized fit process for the right shoe. You’re not going to find that at a Dick’s.” Even though REI isn’t near to Fronsoe’s store, he welcomes the Co-op into the marketplace. “REI is very intentional about what they’re doing,” he says. “I applaud them for embracing the whole idea.” Powell says that this might just be the way to look at the REI expansion. “A rising tide 40

sometimes lifts all ships,” he says. At Columbia, MD-based Feet First, which has a 40-plus year history in the community, coowner Brent Smith also isn’t terribly concerned about the REI impact, even with a Co-op store about two miles away.

“We choose to focus on one thing and do it right,” he says. “We are the town running hub and no matter what a big box like REI does, they will never have that intimate relationship with runners that we do.” Smith also sees opportunity for market growth with an

REI’s Local Angle To that end, REI is also trying to capitalize on the local market aspects of its own locations. “In our Seattle f lagship store, for instance, we have our own run club that sponsors a couple of runs per week,” says Zhou. “In the Bay Area, we’ve partnered with local run clubs and sponsored races there. It’s a nuanced approach to each location.” Still, Feet First’s Smith is banking on his store’s longtime, trusted presence in the community to carry the day. “I’m a running shoe nerd and I have a staff with the same level of passion,” he says. “Every fitting process is different and you have to throw your own experience into what the customer needs. You don’t get that from the big-box stores.” Only time will tell if REI is on the right path with its additional brands, models and clothing in the running vertical. With a successful track record in a variety of other outdoor verticals, few will likely bet against the Co-op having some sort of impact — either positive or negative. With loyalty to the local specialty shop, however, runners might make for tougher customers. “More often than not, you’re going to have some competition in this business,” says Fronsoe. “It builds the running community. But it’s up to each store to do their job well so that when customers have a choice, they’ll turn to yours.” n © 2022 Diversified Communications

Building A New Space for Outdoor Retailers & Brands Switchback at The Running Event invites outdoor brands, retailers, and industry leaders to build new partnerships, access actionable information, source quality products—and celebrate the greater specialty retail community.

Join us in Austin, TX this November 29 to December 1.

Get information on attending or exhibiting

Social Power

A new ranking system takes a look at the most influential runners in the marketing race.


hich runner do consumers love the most? To answer t hat loaded quest ion, Running Insight turned to SBRnet, the Sports Business Research Network, which late last year created The Crown Rankings, a proprietary measurement tool that combines multiple engagement data points to help measure athlete social media engagement with their fans. The Crown Rankings uses a proprietary SBRnet algorithm to combine data from Google Search Trends, Socialtracker and SBRnet into one easy to understand score. The rankings are dynamic in that they change constantly based on an athlete’s visibility and social media engagement, which is driven by performance, marketing and the athletes’ individual activity on social media platforms. For this exercise, SBRnet created a Runner Crown Ranking at the end of Q4 2021 and then an updated ranking at the end of Q1 2022. In the Q4 2021 measurement period, Michael Norman was the number one most effective user of electronic media marketing with the highest level of engagement in that ranking period. In the latest measurement period, Ben True bumped Norman out of the top spot with a huge leap of 14 spots, thanks mostly to an increase in the number of Google Searches that involved Ben True in some way. Of note are the Crown Rankings for married couple, Ryan and Sara Hall. In the current measurement period, they kept their place in the top 10 of the rankings, as Ryan came in at number five while his wife Sarah came in at sixth place overall. If you put them together, the combined ranking for the Halls jumps 42

Molly Seidel is ranked as the top female in The Crown Rankings. Photo courtesy 100%.

them up to third place among all runners in terms of media engagement. While Sara has achieved prominence thanks to her marathon performances and a recent feature in Runner’s World, what she is doing away from the sport has managed

to raise her media engagement to even higher levels. For further information on The Crown Rankings, contact Neil Schwartz at neil@ or Mark Sullivan @mark@ n

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Runner Name BEN TRUE Michael Norman MOLLY SEIDEL Sydney McLaughlin Ryan Hall Sara Hall Dalilah Muhammad Grant Holloway Eric Jenkins Aliphine Tuliamuk Nikki Hiltz Henry Wynne Gabby Thomas Fred Kerley Scott Jurek Allyson Felix Matthew Centrowitz Emily Infeld Craig Engels Alexi Pappas Rai Benjamin Usain Bolt Eliud Kipchoge Shalane Flanagan Elise Cranny Emily Bates Dean Karnazes Kara Goucher Jenny Simpson Galen Rupp Colleen Quigley Des Linden Emma Coburn Marielle Hall Edward Cheserek Emelie Forsberg Molly Huddle Fernanda Maciel MEB KEFLEZIGHI Sha’Carri Richardson Athiing Mu Courtney Daulwalter Aisha Praught-Leer


Q4 2021 - Rank Q1 2022 - Rank 15 1 1 2 3 3 2 4 4 5 6 6 8 7 5 8 9 9 24 10 7 11 29 12 12 13 10 14 17 15 14 16 25 17 20 18 21 19 13 20 23 21 19 22 18 23 11 24 35 25 28 26 34 27 22 28 31 29 33 30 27 31 30 32 26 33 41 34 39 35 37 36 32 37 36 38 38 39 16 40 40 41 42 42 42 43

On the strength of his incredible number of Google searches, Ben True claimed the top spot in the SBRNet Crown Rankings in early 2022.

A favorite of the running industry, Meb Keflezighi snuck in at number 38 in the most recent rankings.

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Runchella Recap Annual RIA event brought together retailers, vendors and influencers to advance the run specialty business.


unchella 2022, the Running Industry Association’s (RIA) member summit, took Chicago by storm last month. The soldout, members-only event hosted 150 retail attendees and 23 brands representing the leaders in each product category. Six “emerging brands” also attended, with invitations based on compelling product stories. Retailers were also able to meet with key RIA associate partners, including Fitted, Omni, RICS, Running Industry Diversity Coalition (RIDC), Run Free Project, Sports Marketing Surveys and Upper Quadrant. The Runchella vibe this year was business-focused, with retailers diving deep into data-driven workshops. Among the highlights: • Buyers focused on amplifying the buying process and inventory planning, while marketing personnel were treated to a “Walk/Jog/Run” format for amplifying their digital promotions. • In collaboration with the RIDC, the marketing workshop included advice for implementing DEI strategies in an authentic fashion. • Store owners at Runchella were invited to join the launch of RIA’s Mastermind Groups, a peer-sharing platform where stores share best practices with each other on inventory, financial benchmarking, key ratios and team building. Retailers walked away from these substantive programming sessions with actionable to-dos and excitement to go home and implement new ideas. They also got the inside scoop on what brands are planning during top-to-top meetings with brand executives. Connection was definitely the keyword at Runchella this year with brands, retailers and industry folks strengthening 44

Runchella on the run: Attendees got their early-morning runs in together around the lake.

relationships and learning from each other in face-to-face interactions. “Runchella 2022 was the best yet,” says Brad Altevogt, owner of Three Rivers Running Company. “From the topto-top meetings to the emerging brand presentations, every session had value. Owners, GMs and buyers all had many opportunities to network with each other, and with brands, to help strengthen the run specialty channel.” “Collaboration over competition is a unique and treasured quality of this industry and Runchella embodies this ideal,” adds Kathy Dalby, of Pacers Running. “It also brings together vendors, retailers and other influencers to have invaluable dialogue that helps build our collective businesses.” “Runchella is a great way to interact with brands from both the product level and the top sales level,” says Brad Brown,

owner of Complete Runner, adding that he always finds the time spent with fellow run specialty owners invaluable. Vendors and suppliers also benefitted from the connections made at Runchella. “It is always inspiring to talk, meet, eat and drink with the top running store retailers and brands in the USA.” says Monte Keleher, CEO of Fitted. “We celebrated the launch of Single Click and received positive feedback beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you to the forward-thinking business people powering the running store industry.” And Lora McManus, director of sales at rabbit, echoed those sentiments. “We see our retail partners as the tip of the spear in helping us deepen our connection with local running communities across the nation and Runchella provided us with an insightful and valuable opportunity to present our future line and gain real-time feedback.” n

© 2022 Diversified Communications

Runchella in Pictures

(Photos: Petey Santa Maria)

Roundtable discussions were a vital part of Mastermind Groups launched at Runchella.

Top brands from the channel presented their latest product lines. Mastermind Parker Karnan brought the intel.


RIDC was a welcomed newcomer this year.

What’s in the bags? Only Runchella attendees got to find out.

Pacers’ Kathy Dalby and Chris Farley keep connected.

The RIA braintrust ran the show.

© 2022 Diversified Communications

running shorts The Running Event Launches Switchback for Outdoor Specialty Retailers and Brands THE RUNNING EVENT (TRE), NORTH America’s premier run specialty conference and trade show, has launched Switchback at TRE, a new space that will unite specialty retailers and brands this November 29– December 1 in the Austin (TX) Convention Center. A dedicated area within The Running Event’s exhibit hall, Switchback at TRE will be bolstered by outdoor-focused conference sessions and networking opportunities that enable attendees to build new partnerships, gain actionable information — and celebrate the greater specialty retail community. Uniting outdoor specialty, leading brands and thought leaders with run specialty – in one place and at an optimal time of year – will help key players understand and meet changing consumer needs. “Switchback at The Running Event is a forward-looking expansion that will add to the productivity, inclusivity and celebration

Yang Stepping Down At Deckers

W e n d y Ya n g , p r e s i d e n t o f Per formance Lifestyle at Deckers Brands, which includes the Hoka and 46

among attendees onsite this fall,” says Christina Henderson, executive director of The Running Event. “We remain dedicated to advancement of the running industry and are thrilled to welcome outdoor into the fold — uniting two passionate communities that are already aligned in their commitment to customers and community. “With Switchback at TRE, we’re excited to offer more opportunities for peer learning, market insights, and new partnerships and position attendees for continued growth and future success,” Henderson adds.

The Running Event already has a strong foundation of exhibiting brands that sell into outdoor specialty, including Salomon, The North Face, Craft, Merrell, Topo and La Sportiva. Further supporting the space are Beth Gordon and Mark Sullivan, industry veterans now part of the TRE team. “The Running Event has an intimate, community-driven spirit and energy and we’d like to create that space for the outdoor industry,” Henderson continues. “We look forward to sharing more about our long-term plans to support this market.”

Teva brands, has stepped down from the position. Stefano Caroti, president of omnichannel at Deckers, assumes her responsibilities on an interim basis. Yang’s experience in the footwear business includes stints at New Balance, Timberland and Reebok and she has worked at Deckers for seven years. “Through the discipline, hard work and dedicated focus of many, Hoka and Teva have made significant strides,” Yang said in a statement announcing her departure. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work in a business so committed to making a positive impact on people, their communities and the planet.” . United Sports Brands Acquires Pearl Izumi United Sports Brands has acquired

Pearl Izumi USA, the manufacturer of cycling apparel and accessories. Pearl Izumi will join USB’s portfolio of protective and performance sports equipment sold under the Shock Doctor, McDavid, Cutters and Nathan brands. Pearl Izumi was founded in Tokyo in 1950 and entered the U.S. market during the 1980s cycling boom. In 1989, four investors in Boulder, CO, bought the rights to build a U.S.-based Pearl Izumi brand, leveraging technology and fabrics from the original company in Japan. Since then, the brand has grown to be widely distributed across Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 2008, Pearl Izumi was acquired by Shimano, the Japanese manufacturer of cycling components, fishing tackle and rowing equipment.

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NOV 29 - DEC 1, 2022 Austin, TX

Exhibit at The Running Event 2022

The #TRE22 exhibit hall is filling with leading brands driving the industry forward. Are you one of them?

Connect with top specialty retailers

Strengthen existing business relationships

Showcase new products and initiatives

Let’s talk! Click here to book a meeting with our sales team directly or email Produced by

running shorts Two Running Brands – Salomon and Veja – Collaborate With Ciele on Shoe Releases Salomon Unveils Two Ciele Shoes Salomon has collaborated with Ciele Athletics on limited-edition versions of two Salomon running shoes from its Spring 2022 collection — the Pulsar Trail Pro and Phantasm road running shoe. • The Pulsar Trail Pro x Ciele Athletics is wrapped in Ciele’s all-over zebra print and features a mashup of fluorescents and

an earthy wine and black that’s a throwback to Solomon’s 2014 collection. A TPU composite plate, called Energy Blade, gives more power by limiting energy lost during stride and due to its decoupled construction the shoe is flexible to provide stability and comfort.

• The Phantasm x Ciele Athletics features Ciele’s cheetah print, similar in color to its original red rocks edition. The road running

shoe offers a light, smooth ride for mid-foot and forefoot strikers who want to go faster. It features Energy Blade technology in the form of a polyamide and glass fiber plate with a geometric shape that helps forefoot strikers transition quickly from stride to stride. Salomon’s R.Camber rocker sole geometry ensures quick transitions.

VEJA’s Collaborates with Ciele Veja and Ciele have gotten together to present a new edition of Veja’s Condor 2, an ecological running shoe built for smooth recovery sessions. With a colorway inspired by a sunset run through the streets of Paris and Montreal, the brands’ respective hometowns, French singer Barbara’s famous lyric, “le temps perdu ne se rattrape plus (“Lost time cannot be caught up”) sits along the outsole. A 100 percent recycled Alveomesh upper provides breathability and lightness, while the outsole with a vertical flex groove supports a smooth gait cycle. The Condor 2, built for a natural stride on all roads, is made from materials including recycled plastic bottles, Amazonian rubber, rice waste, sugar cane and ricinus oil — altogether Veja x Ciele is 57 percent bio-based and recycled. MSRP: $200 48

© 2022 Diversified Communications


Shoe Test Insights

Click here to watch

8,409 customers across 26 retailers over the last three years took our shoe quiz to determine if they should replace their shoes. To see the quiz, visit

Shoe Brands Tested 3%















New Balance





Overall Shoe Performance Happy with my shoes

3403 resp. 40.7%

OK but not perfect

3218 resp. 15.1%

LOVE my shoes

1260 resp. 38.5%

Started out great, but got uncomfortable after a few wears

Altra Asics Brooks HOKA ONE ONE Mizuno New Balance Nike On Saucony Other 0

345 resp.


95 resp.







These shoes hurt my feet - never again! Started out great, but got uncomfortable after a few wears

These shoes hurt my feet - never again!

OK but not perfect LOVE my shoes Happy with my shoes

Shoe Usage

Shoe Replacement Needed


41% Running



At Work




To Play





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BY UPPER QUADRANT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE RUNNING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION DataPoints is produced by Upper Quadrant by aggregating data from over 200 doors. Upper Quadrant assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in this content. The information contained this infographic is provided on “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness, or timeliness.

© 2022 Diversified Communications

running shorts Allbirds Unveils Tree Flyer Running Shoe

T H E M UCH-A N T ICI PAT ED N EW running shoe from Allbirds, called the Tree Flyer, launched last month as as the brand’s next step into performance footwear. The style is lighter and introduces a new midsole innovation, SwiftFoam, that is more than 30 percent lighter than SweetFoam, has increased cushioning and energy return with a rebound of 70 percent and is more efficient and faster without compromising stability and support. SwiftFoam is a foaming process that creates a low-energy midsole product. The process uses Allbirds’ castor bean oil-based resin that allows it to use less material and less energy, making it better for the environment. The Flyer is Allbirds most technical style to date. To improve its technical design the style has a flared external heel that provides additional support, an increased toe spring that provides transition, a traction pattern

Altra Debuts Escalante 3 Fierce An everyday road shoe for comfort, the limited-edition Altra Escalante 3 Fierce design embodies the energy, strength and confidence rooted in all women who make their own rules. Olympian and six-time USA Outdoor Track and Field Champion Alysia Montaño worked with artist Maggie Enterrios to bring the Escalante 3 Fierce to life with bold floral designs 50

on the sole for grip, new reflective eye-stays, flat laces and a Tree upper that provides a sleeker fit that holds the foot in while being more breathable and durable. MSRP: $160 Among other details:

and maximalist style. Like all Altra footwear, t h e E s c a l a n te 3 F i e r c e features Altra’s signature Balanced Cushion platform and Footshape Toe Box to ensure stability, comfor t and power. With a 24 mm stack height, it’s cushioned for long distance runs, yet li g ht we i g ht, r e s p o n s ive and flexible enough for the shorter, speedwork sessions. The EGO midsole paired with InnerFlex technology rounds out this do-it-all-day shoe. MSRP: $140 Under Armour Launches Hovr Machina Extending one of its most successful running shoe lines, Under Armour last month launched the third iteration of the UA Hovr Machina running shoes

• Sizes: Men 7-14 (including half sizes); Women 5-11 (including half sizes) • Colors: Lux Beige, Buoyant Yellow, Natural Black, Natural White, Orange • Carbon Footprint: 9.92kg CO2e

— the HOVR Machina 3. The new shoe features a firmer and more responsive forefront Hovr and the plate’s upgraded composite, together with a softer heel Hovr, an updated Energy Web, and heel capture system make for a fast and comfortable run.

© 2022 Diversified Communications

In celebration of Global Running Day, we’re asking one question:

Why Do You Run? Tell us at

Answers will be featured on a mural at #TRE22.

Produced by:

The Essentials Issue

ONE MORE THING More insight into essentials and why run specialty retailers need to offer them throughout the store.

“Bringing attention to accessories in the sports

“Running essentials are a great upsell for run

medicine, massage recovery and fitness category

specialty customers. Every runner needs shoes, but

helps your customers become better runners in

simply asking a few more questions about their

addition to capturing add-on sales that help your

running environment will provide opportunities to

bottom line.” — Jeff Rodgers, Pro-Tec

show them accessories that will benefit their routine.” — Dan Hopkins, Knuckle Lights

“They can make for a great impulse item, selling runners something they didn’t know they needed.”

“The customer experience and relationship with the

— David Mils, Monkee Mount

sport of running will improve with a well-rounded mindset and their add-on purchase trajectory will

“Educating staff and customers, along with in-per-

follow suit.” — Joe Schippani, Nuun Energy

son product demonstrations, on what products work best for an individual’s needs as well as educating

“Having demos available and showing customers

them on what products can work in conjunction

how to adjust, put on and take off the product is

with one another will lead to increased sales within

essential to increasing sales.” — Li Cui, Kahtoola

the category.” — Jonathan Kerner, Freeze Sleeve “Many people visit a run specialty store to solve their “Accessories should not be thought about as add-on

footwear or clothing issues. Yet, they are unaware

sales, but as necessary items to tailor and customize

of the store’s other accessories that provide simple

a customer’s experience.” — Anthony Pong,

solutions to make their running better and more


enjoyable.” — Matt Unthank, Crossover Symmetry


© 2022 Diversified Communications