Running Insight 6.3.2024

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THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM MARCH 16, 2020 A DIVERSIFIED COMMUNICATIONS PUBLICATION THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM JUNE 2024 run rabbit run Monica DeVreese takes her brand into the running shoe race. EXTRA PICKLES! Pickleball served up on page 52. + The 2024 Shoe Guide. Page 26 ++ Switchback Stands Alone. Page 60

rabbit Dreams Big

rabbit enters the performance running shoe game with its first-ever model, the Dream Chaser. / By

Monica DeVreese knew this day would come. When she launched rabbit alongside fellow runner Jill Deering eight years ago, she never wanted rabbit to be apparel alone. She always envisioned a more comprehensive running brand that would – someday – include performance footwear.

That day is almost here. On June 5, rabbit officially launches its first-ever footwear model, the Dream Chaser.

“Worlds collided at the right time,” says DeVreese of the Dream Chaser’s arrival. “We had the capital and the right team and partners in place to put the necessary pieces together.”

Rabbit’s entry into the footwear game follows a similar move by another running apparel brand, Tracksmith. In late 2022, the Boston-based brand known for its highend apparel brought its distinctive New England aesthetic and penchant for premium materials to market with the release of its first running shoe, the Eliot Runner.

Now, it’s rabbit’s turn to make the apparel to footwear leap.

Building A Brand

DeVreese is a self-described gear junkie, a fascination cultivated during a prep running career in which she accumulated state titles on the oval and tracked the latest sneaker releases. After college, she worked at Garry Gribble’s Running Sports in Kansas City, diving into the run specialty deep end while simultaneously pursuing an accounting career at a startup airline.

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The Footwear
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
Monica DeVreese isn’t hiding behind the success of rabbit’s apparel line as she makes the big leap into performance running footwear this month with the debut of the Dream Chaser.
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rabbit Dreams Big


But with Gribbles’ insistent encouragement, DeVreese entered the running industry ranks instead. She landed a RaTS (Running adidas Technical Sales) gig with Adidas, venturing from Indiana to Colorado to Oregon over a seven-year run with the Three Stripes before moving to a position with Deckers in 2003. That same year, she teamed with her husband, Joe, to open Santa Barbara Running in the coastal California city.

A decade later, as she and Deering lamented the lack of running apparel that looked, felt and fit amazing, they concocted plans for rabbit – a performance running apparel brand “without the hype and fuss.” After two years and one $45,328 Kickstarter campaign, the duo introduced rabbit.

The California-based brand found an immediate home in running stores across the U.S. and its business soared, including five consecutive years of double-digit sales growth.

About 18 months ago, DeVreese felt the itch to add footwear – to provide runners optimal solutions from head to toe. Rabbit had penetrated the run specialty marketplace with apparel and DeVreese felt there was room for an everyday running shoe designed “the rabbit way.”

“The thing I feel rabbit does well is we find these little white spaces in the market that have opportunities for a better experience and build with that in mind,” she says.

Forward Into Footwear

To create the Dream Chaser, DeVreese first corralled the help

When rabbit celebrates the official launch of the Dream Chaser running shoe on June 5, it will do so with three colorways each for men and women.

of former Deckers colleague Stuart Jenkins, the man who played a major hand in bringing a novel, upstart brand out of France called Hoka One One into the Deckers orbit.

“He’s a crazy mad shoe scientist,” DeVreese says of Jenkins, who steered innovation

at Deckers from 2010-2016.

Jenkins, who was involved with his own entrepreneurial venture – insole company Blumaka – helped DeVreese formulate plans for rabbit’s debut running shoe and connected rabbit to a development team in Asia capable of overseeing on-the-ground execution.

As DeVreese puts it, the Dream Chaser’s design language is simple: “Everything you need and nothing you don’t.”

True to rabbit’s premium materials focus, the Dream Chaser blends a hugging, soft

knit upper comprised of recycled polyester with a highly cushioned ETPU midsole the brand labels Flowstate Foam.

The midsole also includes a patent-pending technology called Carbon Trax — parallel carbon fiber panels in the shoe’s midfoot devised to provide stability and keep runners “centered.”

Throughout the development process, the rabbit team focused on hitting a premium out-of-thebox feel, which DeVreese, given her 20-year running retail background, understands is valuable to captivating customers on the

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sales floor. To supply out-of-thebox comfort, the Dream Chaser features contoured Blumaka insoles made from 85 percent recycled ETPU. DeVreese says customers can expect a livelier feel from the insole, which is guaranteed to last 10 times longer than the competition.

“The insole is among the most important parts of the shoe, yet it is often overlooked and a place where many cut costs,” DeVreese says. “The insole’s an example of how we’re always going to pay attention to the details.”

Taking On The Big Brands

With the Dream Chaser, rabbit brings a carbon fiber story to the max cushioned trainer category, where it will complete against the likes of the Brooks Glycerin, ASICS Nimbus and Saucony Triumph. While those models are established heavy hitters, DeVreese is optimistic the Dream Chaser will resonate.

“It’s an exciting time for running footwear,” she says. “The barrier to entry is not easy, but running retailers are accepting of innovation and recognize they need to stay fresh and cutting edge.”

Paul Epstein, owner of Running Wild stores in Pensacola, FL, and Fairhope, AL, will carry the Dream Chaser at both of his stores.

After seeing the model at The Running Event late last year, he placed his order, impressed by the model’s visual look and step-in comfort.

“I’m pretty confident someone will look at it and want to try it on, especially if they’re a rabbit apparel customer,” he says.

At The Long Run in Knoxville, TN, co-founder Ethan Coffey reports the store had secured numerous Dream Chaser pre-orders through early May. He attributes the early enthusiasm to rabbit’s reputation as well as the model’s crisp look,

which heightens its versatility.

“A lot of people are turned on by rabbit apparel already, so they’re hitting the ground running in that regard,” Coffey says. “And on our end as retailers, we know their history and feel confident they’re going to deliver on their promises.”

After the “soft launch” of a special blue-and-yellow Dream Chaser colorway in conjunction with the Boston Marathon last April, rabbit is ready for its fullscale launch this month. The brand intentionally targeted the release of the Dream Chaser’s three men’s and women’s colorways to about 40 select retail partners. Next spring, rabbit will open up orders to all retail partners, whom DeVreese calls a critical cog in rabbit’s brand strategy and evolution.

“We’re always listening and learning at retail, and we’re committed to growing and building with our retail partners,” says DeVreese, who also

“A lot of people are turned on by rabbit apparel already, so they’re hitting the ground running in that regard. And on our end as retailers, we know their history and feel confident they’re going to deliver on their promises.”
— Ethan Coffey, The Long Run

teases the development of a trail shoe. “Following our path with apparel, we’re going to make product with a purpose, finding white spaces and filling voids.” n

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rabbit Dreams Big (continued)
The California-based rabbit team is excited to bring the Dream Chaser to market, the first performance running shoe in the eight-year-old company’s history.
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Meb’s Balancing Act

How –

and why

– ‘Marathon Meb’ Keflezighi and New Balance became partners. /

The “classic no brainer.” That’s what VP–running for New Balance North America Tom Carleo calls the opportunity to join forces with Meb Keflezighi, one of the most accomplished and visible American distance runners of the 21st century.

In April, New Balance announced it had signed “Marathon Meb” to its athlete roster. Though the 49-year-old Keflezighi retired from competitive racing in 2017, he remains a visible – and rather beloved – force in the sport through his assorted speaking, coaching and philanthropic activities.

“Meb fits in with our culture and values at New Balance,” Carleo says. “He’s the pied piper for what we’re trying to do in running and the community.”

The Anatomy Of A Deal

Keflezighi spent the previous dozen years with Skechers, helping to legitimize the California-based brand in the running space. With the recent expiration of that deal, however, Keflezighi and his long-time agent and younger brother, Hawi Keflezighi, explored sponsorship opportunities with at least five other footwear players.

New Balance quickly emerged a top candidate given its long-term involvement in running and its status as the official footwear and apparel partner of the New York City Marathon. Keflezighi holds strong ties to the New York Road Runners (NYRR) and, by extension, the city’s marathon, where he is a three-time podium finisher. Keflezighi has served as an NYRR Team for Kids ambassador and co-hosted the NYRR’s Set the Pace podcast upon its launch last year.

Keflezighi, who favors long-term relationships with his sponsors, insists on partnerships that go “beyond product.” In New Balance,

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The Footwear Issue
One of America’s most decorated distance runners, Meb Keflezighi has long been an ambassador for the sport. Now, “Marathon Meb” will be an ambassador for New Balance as well.
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Meb’s Balancing Act (continued)

he recognized an earnest commitment to promoting the sport.

“I enjoy brands that share my values and New Balance understands the magnitude of what running does,” says Keflezighi, who also maintains long-term partnerships with other run specialty-oriented brands such as UCAN and CEP Compression.

Leadership at Boston-based New Balance, meanwhile, saw something special in Keflezighi, too: a multi-dimensional force whose energy resonates with 15-year-old high school distance runners as well as 70-year-old marathoners and whose personal story from Eritrean refugee to NCAA champion to Olympic medalist inspires.

“Meb’s elasticity in the running community is really amazing,” Carleo tells Running Insight. “When you’re around Meb, it’s not just about his success in running, but how he got there and how he respects that process.”

The Keflezighi-New Balance marriage took flight days before the Boston Marathon on April 15, where Keflezighi laced up New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elites in his return to the marathon after a six-year hiatus. Keflezighi raced from Hopkinton to Boylston Street to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his memorable 2014 triumph.

“New Balance is in running for the long haul and I believe we can promote the greatness of the sport together,” Keflezighi says, adding that New Balance has pledged support to the MEB Foundation and Keflezighi’s efforts to tout health and fitness, particularly at the grassroots level. “I love running and want to be involved in the sport and inspiring people to be the best version of themselves. That’s a philosophy New Balance and I share.”

Carleo says Keflezighi will be an extension of New Balance marketing. He sees Keflezighi attending key races and retailer events and contributing to the brand’s broader work to champion running and its profound benefits.

Partners With A Purpose

As New Balance has made the intentional decision not to invest in the front of the global pack at major races, Carleo says the brand continues seeking ways to create “goosebump moments” elsewhere at signature events. Meb showed his ability to deliver just that on the Sunday before the Boston Marathon when hundreds packed New Balance headquarters for a live recording of the Ali on the Run Show with Keflezighi as the distinguished guest.

“He activates things for us that bring an effective, relevant story to the masses,” Carleo says of Keflezighi, adding that his retirement from competitive racing affords him greater flexibility to be a brand ambassador.

And not surprisingly, Meb will deliver product feedback to the New Balance footwear team as well.

“He has a lot of miles on that body, so we respect his point of view,” Carleo says.

With New Balance coming off a record-breaking 2023 and focused on gaining market share, Carleo believes Keflezighi can help elevate the brand, particularly given his hefty following among marathoners and strong ties to the West Coast.

“We want our buzz to reach further in running and Meb is a piece of that puzzle,” Carleo says. n

With New Balance coming off a record-breaking 2023 and focused on gaining market share, Keflezighi can help elevate the brand, particularly given his hefty following among marathoners and strong ties to the West Coast.
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WALL TALES The Footwear Issue

Kent Wories recognized it was time for a change – a long, long overdue change. For years, the shoe wall at the flagship Runners Roost location on Colorado Boulevard in Denver was an approximately 30-foot monolith of slat wall holding column after column of running shoes on generic plastic wall shelves. Though clean and consistent, the presentation was ultimately uninspiring and intimidating.

“A little too uniform,” says Wories, who has owned Runners Roost for eight years. “In some ways, it made a bold statement, but I really thought it was more negative value than positive.”

So, earlier this year, Wories teamed with Boulder, CO-based retail consultancy

3 Dots Design to refresh the 40-year-old store, including an extensive revamp of how it presented footwear to customers. Melding various ideas Wories and his team saw elsewhere along with guidance from 3 Dots, Runners Roost now features a more dynamic footwear presentation that has enhanced the store’s vibe, elevated the perceived value of footwear and improved traffic flow on the sales floor.

“Couldn’t be happier,” Wories says. In most running shops, the shoe wall is the pinnacle of the showroom. It captures eyeballs and pulls traffic its way as the store’s top-selling product category. A lackluster shoe wall can dampen energy for the product. In contrast, a livelier shoe wall featuring visuals, shoes displayed in different formats


Once upon a time, many running stores had the same exact shoe shelves holding every model on the wall. Increasingly, though, shops are finding ways to mix up the ways in which they display shoes to deliver variety and spice.

The revamped Runners Roost, for instance, has shadow boxes it can mount to its wall “to call out footwear that’s a little different without seeming bizarre,” Wories says.

In Rapid City, SD, Black Hills Running Company sets its shoes on live-edge wooden shelf. Meanwhile, 847 Running Company in Chicago’s northern suburbs uses vintage produce crates stacked in a Tetris-like array to display shoes in various orientations (photo at right). It’s a spirited, even whimsical look providing dimension and warmth with the natural wood.

and enhanced lighting can spur excitement and interest.

“It’s so important the shoe wall looks interesting because that’s often how customers will judge your store,” says 3 Dots Design owner Holly Wiese, whose firm recently launched online training focused on creating a more compelling footwear presentation.

Three decades ago, Wiese continues, run specialty shops tossed shoes on slat wall and never thought twice about it. But today, footwear presentation – a more encompassing term Wiese prefers to “shoe wall” – is more important than ever to crafting a more engaging, inspired customer experience. Here’s what some savvy run shops are doing to achieve that goal.

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Eight great ways to create a more dynamic shoe presentation at run specialty. / By Danny Smith Photo this page: Danny Smith. Photos on following pages courtesy of 3 Dots Design.

Top Selling Running Essentials

• Gear Designed for Specialty


At Runners Roost’s 4700-square-foot store in Denver, men’s and women’s footwear ran together on the same long wall. This not only led to traffic bottlenecks on one side of the store, but also meant the opposite side of the store holding apparel, accessories and nutrition lacked energy. “It created a weird dynamic in the store,” Wories says.

With the store’s recent redesign, men’s and women’s footwear found homes on opposite sides of the store. The move gives the store two


Lighting is an essential, but often overlooked part of shoe presentation. Wiese prefers to go above and beyond with lighting, often securing commercial-grade track lighting to illuminate a shoe wall, as she did with a recent project for The Running Well Store in Kansas City (photo at right).

“Beautiful lighting really helps product come to life,” she says.

large, visual anchors and has also enhanced traffic flow. (Photo shows the women’s shoe wall.) “Now, we don’t have customers, staff and product all stacking up on one another,” Wories says.

The move has also brought Runners Roost customers closer to apparel. When trying on shoes, customers are just steps away from wandering through apparel, a far more natural journey than walking to the other side of the store.

“It’s early, but we think this will pay off in apparel sales,” Wories says.

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With the new pegboard at Runners Roost, Wories can easily alter the direction of shoes (photo above). Rather than every model pointing in the same direction, he can shift pegs around and display a shoe diagonally. In particular, he likes displaying racing and competitive


Who says the shoe wall even has to be a wall? After all, there’s no fixed rule demanding retailers tether their footwear to a flat, vertical surface.

To wit, California-based Gold Country Run + Sport has a cable system in the middle of its store with acrylic shelves displaying its footwear (in photo).

From tables to showroom fixtures to layered, modular blocks, footwear – or at least specific categories of footwear like casual shoes, sandals or track spikes – can sit far away from walls to share a distinct story with customers.

footwear on a diagonal because “it just looks faster. And it’s a little peppier when shoes have different orientations,” he adds.

With trail footwear, stores like The Running Well Shop and Fleet Feet Austin display both the lateral side of the shoe as well as the outsole for another distinctive and eye-catching setup.

16 © 2024 Diversified Communications Wall
Tales (continued)


As Wories can attest, having 200 shoes uniformly set on one long wall isn’t terribly interesting. Using textures, materials, graphics and colors to break up the monotony cultivates greater interest.

“We want to create something experiential and exciting, not solely transactional, and that’s tough to do if everything is in a straight matrix,” Wories says.

The shoe wall reboot at Runners Roost, for instance, features artificial plants and vivid color photography.

At The Running Well Store in Kansas City, a textured white panel sits adjacent to an oak-toned panel while a feature box in the middle cuts across both (photo above). The resulting look, Wiese says, creates contrast and invites customers to explore rather than being overwhelmed by rows of shoes.

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Many run shops aim to be joyous, social spaces, so taking a turn toward the playful isn’t out of character. Yet more, it can stir interest and engagement.

At Fleet Feet Austin, for instance, 3 Dots created an interactive way to display footwear (in photo at right). A lightbulb hangs from the top of a feature box. When a shoe is on the shelf, the lightbulb illuminates it. When a customer removes the shoe from the box, the lightbulb turns off. It’s simple and utterly delightful.

“It creates some wonder,” Wiese says.


At Runners Roost, Wories wanted to highlight diverse types of footwear the shop carries, from track spikes to competitive road racing product to trail footwear. Wiese agreed, noting that segmenting categories, not just men’s and women’s models, prevented the footwear from blurring together.

The solution at Runners Roost: a mobile, multi-layered custom floor fixture akin to stadium steps with a magnetic space to incorporate interchangeable graphics. At present, the fixture holds trail footwear, which hovers above local outdoor photography. At other times throughout the year, Wories says the fixture might host cross-country spikes alongside associated team athlete gear and corresponding imagery.

Other shops, like Fleet Feet Austin, have taken a different approach to segmentation, devoting one wall exclusively to trail footwear. In this case in photo above, men’s and women’s trail footwear run alongside opposite sides of a slender wall with trail-oriented products like hydration vests and belts consuming the middle.

18 © 2024 Diversified Communications Wall Tales (continued)

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What’s on Your Plate?


There are a number of things that marathons around the world have in common — the distance, the refreshments and the shoes. While terrain and snacks may vary from race to race, the near uniformity of the shoes, at least in concept, has grown in both height and breadth — literally and figuratively. Here four key brands and researchers provide insight while answering our query: “What’s on Your Plate?”

With the better part of a decade bringing us to this point, how many iterations of plated shoes have developed within the brand?

“ASICS entered the plated shoe conversation in 2020 with the Metaracer, introducing our energy-saving Guidesole technology, combined with a stabilizing carbon plate. This was seen on the feet of our elite athletes at that year’s Olympic trials.

“With innovation accelerating rapidly, we followed fast in 2021 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and introduced our Metaspeed series of carbon plated racers, including the Sky and Edge models to offer athletes the ability to have options to match their style of running. In 2022, the Metaspeed+ Series continued our innovation pipeline and in 2024 the Metaspeed Paris series premiered our fastest shoes yet, featuring a new PEBA foam, rethought carbon plates and geometries to enable our athletes to get to the finish line fast than ever — and on the feet of Clayton Young as he made the U.S. marathon team for Paris.” — Paul Lang, Senior Manager, Merchandising, ASICS North America

“We are currently finalizing our third

carbon fiber plate for elite running shoes. Each iteration builds upon the previous concept, while also striving to be unique.

“Our first plate, designed for the Ultra Carbon, focused on versatility and durability. We innovated with a unique split-toe design that provided out-of-thebox comfort and enhanced performance on various surfaces, making it the first road-to-trail super shoes on the market.

“The Nordlite Speed evolved from the insights gained from the first plate, resulting in a road-only shoe that has become a favorite among elite athletes and everyday runners alike.” — Eric Sarin, Craft Design & Engineering team

“The technology has been available for many years, but the combination of systems, improved designs and Air Zoom is a vital component to the aggregate of the technologies. The Alphafly combines each component with the carbon plate, which has the benefit of being light, responsive and stiff, along with the shape which allows for the effectiveness of the shoe.” — Elliott Heath, Nike Global RunningFootwear Product Manager

“Over the past decade, we have created five different versions of our plated shoes, namely the Endorphin Elite, Endorphin Pro, Kinvara Pro, Endorphin Edge (trail) and the Endorphin Cheetah

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Four shoe experts weigh on the state of plate technology in running shoes. / By Cregg Weinmann
The Footwear Issue
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What’s On Your Plate?


Track Spike. Looking forward to 2025, we have plans to introduce more new models as well as evolve the existing ones.” — Ted FitzPatrick, VP of Product Management, Saucony

How has science informed the development and changes of your plated shoes?

“We have an entire team committed to the research and development of our Metaspeed products. This team includes members of our Institute of Sport Science, who have assisted in the development of new foams, new carbon plate shapes and sizes, as well as continually exploring the limits for energy return, breathability, weight, while maintaining a level of protection and durability for the athlete. We’re always exploring and it leads to countless samples, testing in the lab and in the field, all to ensure we’re bringing the best possible product to the market.” — Paul Lang, ASICS

“Our innovation concepts undergo rigorous testing both on foot and in specialized laboratories, providing valuable data to support our decision-making process. We also incorporate insights from scientific reports on footwear and other industries. This blend of specific testing and general review is crucial in our approach to engineering plates that meet the specific needs of runners.” — Eric Sarin, Craft

“Nike’s Sport Research Lab combines testing the physiology, biomechanics and materials, but at the end of day the athletes are the final validation. Continuous improvement and testing for the future is crucial, that internal testing, researchers, runners and retailers can find solutions to achieve the desired running goals.”

“We engineer every plate with the athlete in mind. Our lab tests measure efficiency and performance with our athletes, while physical testing of the entire shoe ensures it performs well. We use data to understand how a plated shoe aids performance and feels on foot, which helps us design and commercialize each plated shoe. Additionally, we use wear and fit tests for all our shoes to understand factors like ride, comfort, fit and durability. This provides us with important data points for building a better shoe.” — Ted FitzPatrick, Saucony

Have the iterations been influenced by your elite athletes? If so, how?

“Athletes have been at the center of our Metaspeed development since the beginning. Utilizing our elite athlete camps in Africa and Europe, as well as world-class athletes across the globe, we’ve been able to shape these products with our athlete’s voice as the North Star.

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What’s On Your Plate? (continued)

“Countless prototypes are run through the wear testing process and then scrutinized, adjusted and updated based on our athletes’ feedback regarding feel, fit and performance. The Metaspeed Paris series saw updated foam for greater bounce, softness underfoot and an updated last (foot form) for a better fit, all based on our extensive testing and programming with our athletes.” — Paul Lang,


“The Craft Elite Run Team is the foundation of our products and innovations. The iterative process starts with identifying use cases and gaps in current offerings. We maintain ongoing feedback loops that shape design and development from start to finish. This real-time feedback ensures the shoes perform and feel as needed for the athletes’ daily training and racing demands.

“For instance, the Ultra Carbon was inspired by Tommy Rivs and our many sessions together before the design phase. His experience highlighted the need for a plated product that excelled

both on and off-road and offered greater durability than early iterations of super shoes. We continue to engage with the team to guide us with their unique experiences and insights.” — Eric Sarin, Craft

“We can dream up an idea that makes sense in theory, in a lab environment. But nothing gets validated unless it goes out to the athletes and it lines up with what they feel. And so the kind of science and learning and really building data over time especially in reference. The more you have the ability to benchmark against something in the past the stronger that the data becomes.” — Elliott Heath, Nike

“Each shoe that we produce goes through a rigorous development process that typically takes between 18-24 months before we present it at an internal sales meeting or to a retail partner. Our sponsored runners are at the heart of the development process, both through in-lab testing and by putting significant mileage on each pair of

shoes during the development phase.” — Ted FitzPatrick, Saucony

Will we see other uses of plate technology in the rest of the line?

“Outside of the Metaspeed series, we do offer a plated trainer in the Magic Speed, a daily oriented lightweight training shoe, as well as our Metaspeed track spikes. The learnings from our most pinnacle racers have allowed us to scale this technology to other applications that can benefit from this. Athletes are always at the core of what we build, so if we feel there’s a benefit to be had, we want to make sure we’re sharing it.” — Paul Lang, ASICS

“We are set to launch our newest plated super shoe in the coming months and we believe this product will significantly impact the market. We have engineered a technology platform that offers incredible mechanical advantages along with cutting-edge materials, making it one of the fastest and lightest shoes available to runners today. We are very excited to share more soon.” — Eric Sarin, Craft

“Racing shoes are something that maybe two percent of people could experience in a marathon. Now, we can recommend a racing shoe as well as a broad spectrum of training shoes. What we’re focused on is truly providing different experiences and different benefits for all runners. And I think it’s really exciting when you think about it, and

“We can dream up an idea that makes sense in in theory, in a lab environment. But nothing gets validated unless it goes out to the athletes and it lines up with what they feel. The more you have the ability to benchmark against something in the past the stronger that that data becomes.”
Elliott Heath, Nike

honored to be a part of that journey for them in their footwear.” — Elliott Heath, Nike

“We plan to launch a new Endorphin Trainer with a carbon plate in 2025. We believe the plated experience will remain relevant not just for pinnacle race day performance, but also for everyday use. However, we understand that non-plated experiences will still be in demand and will continue to be a major part of our business. As a brand that values authenticity, it is important for us to offer different experiences to our customers.” — Ted FitzPatrick, Saucony n

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As 2024 nears its midpoint, Running Insight surveyed run specialty’s major footwear vendors to gather insight into what the second half of the year will look like on shoe walls across America. We asked each brand – ranging from street to trail and from comfort to recovery – for a “focus shoe” that best defines their running lineup for late 2024 as well as A Look Ahead to tease what’s coming down the road in the early months of 2025. While run retailers surely have many of these footwear models ordered for Fall 2024, we suspect many featured in these next pages will stir some interest and warrant further investigation. Run on!

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361 Focus Shoe: Eleos

The Shoe: For Fall/Winter 2024 the new 361-Eleos will be the first style to feature the brand’s Primo foam, a lightweight formulation of supercritical foam that provides for a smoother, softer ride while still offering plenty of energy return. The Eleos is designed for the athlete looking for a trainer that is lighter weight but still has the protective cushioning and premium materials for all-day comfort and performance. Releasing July 1 in two colors in men’s and women’s with additional colors on the way.

MSRP: $145

A Look Ahead: In Spring/Summer 2025, 361 will be releasing a new pinnacle trainer that will incorporate Primo foam and its racing foam, CQT Extreme. This shoe will target the athlete that wants the most premium and innovative ride and places both comfort and performance at the forefront of their active lifestyle.

ADIDAS Focus Shoe: Supernova Solution

The Shoe:Through lunchtime loops, after-work miles or dedicated training runs, the Supernova Solution delivers a lightweight, responsive feel. Its Dreamstrike+ foam is tuned for comfort, while Stability Rods help guide the foot for smooth transitions. A sandwich mesh upper offers support and breathability and the Adiwear outsole grips the road.

MSRP: $140

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Focus Shoe: Agravic 3

The Shoe: Adidas Terrex Agravic 3 features a Lightstrike midsole, a TPU stability plate and a Continental outsole. The shoe offers mid-foot support, torsional flexibility and underfoot protection and a grip for various conditions.

MSRP: $130

ALEGRIA Focus Shoe: In8

The Shoe: For FW24 Alegria is introducing a line called In8, on its Ergo Flo outsole — it’s all about having ergonomic footbeds inside that help to provide lasting arch support that does not flatten out after the first few hours. Special to the In8 collection is its wide toe box shape that allows the forefoot to flex and spread out naturally in both width and length. Each toe is able to wiggle comfortably inside the shoe, while the padded ankle collar holds the heel comfortably in place. Available August 1.

MSRP: $120

A Look Ahead: For SS25, the brand is expanding its Alegria Fit to a new collection called Liber8, featuring a flexible, lightweight rubber outsole called the Ergo Flo Lite. This is a companion shoe to the In8, but the Liber8 features a much slimmer profile, with a 100 percent rubber outsole for improved traction. This group is designed with LiquidShell water-repellent upper at an MSRP of $100.

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19 – 21 / AUSTIN, TX

Discover the can’t-miss event for the run specialty industry—and what it can do for your brand.

79% of all TRE 2023 attendees were run or outdoor specialty retailers.

The Running Event 2023: Quick Facts

9 in 10

TRE 2023 exhibitors are projected to return in 2024.

7 in 10

TRE 2023 attendees hold purchasing power.

International attendance tripled in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Book your booth for 2024

Contact your account representative or email to get the conversation started.

Exhibit at The Running Event 2024
Produced by:


Shoe: X-Ground Tex; X-Trail Tex

The Shoe: Allrounder’s key style for Fall/Winter 24/25 is the X-Ground Tex (women’s, shown in photo in Antelope/ Woodsmoke Seamless 18/Jaquard 92) and X-Trail Tex (men’s). The very light Trail Running/Fast Hiking model features an abrasion-resistant technical upper and a sole that adapts to all types of trail. Available October 1.

MSRP: $219


Focus Shoe: FWD VIA

The Shoe: The Altra FWD VIA combines rocker shape geometry and a low four millimeter drop. At its core, a new Super Critical midsole foam is designed to return energy with efficiency.

MSRP: $160

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ANTEPES Focus Shoe: Muscle Runner

The Shoe: Antepes Muscle Runner is a plyometric and sprint training shoe designed for shorter distances and up to three miles at a time. The brand has combined the benefits of barefoot running and maximalist shoes into its forefoot running-focused training shoes by eliminating the chunky cushioning under the heel, allowing the calves and Achilles to fully stretch and load, which helps with targeting underutilized muscles in the lower legs and shift the impact away from the knees and lower back.

MSRP: $169

A Look Ahead: Antepes has been planting its seed since last year and is nurturing its growth mostly online for this year and by next year is looking to expand its footprint within specialty athletic retail stores to bring its shoes closer to athletes. Its Muscle Runner is the only running shoe that positions itself between track spikes and traditional running shoes.



Shoe: Arch Support Slide

The Shoe: Archies Arch Support Slide offers almost oneinch arch support, a memory foam footbed that molds to the shape of the foot and thick heel support to provide recovery benefits to runners.

MSRP: $60

A Look Ahead: “We’re on a journey to widen our offerings for retailers by expanding the range. There’s plenty of work going on in the background and we will have something fresh and exciting coming for the 2025 season in the form of an innovation on our classic Archies Slide. This will form just the beginning of the expansion of the range in the coming years.” — Daniel Jones, CEO

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ASICS Focus Shoe: Gel-Kayano 31

The Shoe: As the Fall/Winter 2024 season begins, ASICS will unveil the Gel-Kayano 31, the latest iteration of the brand’s longstanding stability model. Updates include an asymmetrical medial designed upper that has been refurbished to create a more supportive fit and comfortable feel. The mesh upper has also been engineered to provide better ventilation. Improvements to the shoe’s outsole include a Hybrid ASICSGRIP rubber material, ensuring that the shoe can help provide better traction while strengthening its stability. This, combined with PureGEL technology, delivers improved shock absorption and even smoother transitions, adding further protection. Launched June 1. MSRP: $165

A Look Ahead: “ASICS will continue to incorporate the latest in shoe technology into our core franchises, with a focus on our Legends models, our Blast series and our elite racing lineup. We will continue to evolve our foams to achieve superior comfort, identify materials to create lighter shoes and focus on sustainable initiatives. We will also introduce several new models in 2025 to energize and promote more people to live a Sound Mind, Sound Body lifestyle with ASICS.” — John Ealy, Category Director, Performance

BROOKS Focus Shoe:

The Shoe: The Ghost Max 2 is designed to reduce pressure underfoot and is for runners and walkers who want cushioned protection and a smooth, reliable ride. A broad base offers inherent stability for a secure feel that doesn’t interfere with a neutral stride and a high stack of nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3 midsole foam delivers soft comfort that works with the GlideRoll Rocker to decrease underfoot pressure for a protective feel and easy landings. Available August 1. MSRP: $150


CHROME Focus Shoe: Storm 415 Traction Sneaker

The Shoe: The Storm 415 is as lightweight and breathable as it is durable. This waterproof boot is designed for all-day comfort. Cushioned with a roomy fit and Panaracer slip-resistant sole traction, this is the pick for a bike commute style that doesn’t ruin the rest of an outfit. New for FW24 consumers can choose from either 100 percent waterproof leather or weather-resistant, rugged nylon; both are backed by Chrome’s 365-day guarantee.

MSRP: $160


Focus Shoe: Frequenza

The Shoe: Quick workouts. Tempo runs. Frequenza is powered by ANIMA N2, a compound boosting midsole bounce by 40 percent while slashing weight by 40 percent. Lightweight and ultra-responsive, Frequenza, weighing in at just 230 grams, delivers propulsion akin to shoes fitted with a carbon plate. Tests show an impressive 72 percent rebound rate. With an 8mm drop, it’s tailored for runners craving superior cushioning, featherlight design and immediate responsiveness.

MSRP: $180

DYNAFIT Focus Shoe: Trail Graphic

The Shoe: Door to trail, with an eyecatching design, this trail shoe provides adaptability for a wide range of adventures. The Vibram XS Trek sole offers a balance of traction and sturdiness. With the intelligent lug design it ensures grip on any surface. Designers have consciously carved out spaces in targeted places on the sole to reduce weight and guarantee a comfy, flowing running feel.

MSRP: $159.95

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Focus Shoe: Alma Tempo

The Shoe: Hettas’ Alma Tempo was designed for everyday running. This lightweight, plated running shoe features VeloPropulsion technology. Best for those with a medium firmness preference.

MSRP: $198

HOKA Focus Shoe: Mach X 2

The Shoe: Hoka’s Mach X 2 is inspired by the Cielo X1’s geometry with a combined PEBA-topped mid-sole and increased rocker profile. With a breathable and supportive woven upper and a sleeker collar, this speed trainer keeps feet light and cool.

MSRP: $190


Focus Shoe: Impact

The Shoe: Built for everyday running, the Hylo Impact offers max responsiveness and high cushioning, featuring its HyperBolt, PureGlide, CleanTech and Hyloop technologies. The target market is runners that are looking for a high performing shoe that minimizes their impact on the planet. Its HyperBolt supercritical, nitrogen injected foam compound is engineered to create a balance of cushioning and responsiveness for soft landings and fast take-offs.

MSRP: $165

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Focus Shoe: TrailTalon Speed

The Shoe: Inov8’s TrailTalon Speed is a soft-ground trail shoe for faster-paced training and racing. Featuring an outsole inspired by the hoof pattern of the mountain goat, the TrailTalon Speed offers grip and traction on soft surfaces such as soft grass and muddy trails.

MSRP: $160


Focus Shoe: stand2walk

The Shoe: Jbrd’s “first walking” shoes for ages 6-18 months of age, the stand2walk model is anatomically designed to help babies stand, balance and walk. It will be available in eight new colors in September 2024.

MSRP: $48


Focus Shoe: Kane x BPN Revive

The Shoe: Kane Footwear and Bare Performance Nutrition (BPN), a nutrition supplements brand, have collaborated on a co-branded shoe, Kane x BPN, launched May 22. The Kane x BPN Revive is designed to aid performance through smart recovery. With a common goal of enhancing health, wellness, recovery and performance, the Kane x BPN collaboration was a natural fit.

MSRP: $85

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Focus Shoe: Targhee IV

The Shoe: In a world where planned obsolescence is rampant, Keen’s Targhee IV is a boot made to be the last hiking shoe a person will buy, thanks to its Delamination-Free Lifetime Guarantee. Keen developed Keen.Fusion to create a mechanical bond stronger than glue by using heat and pressure to fuse the sole and upper of the boot together into one piece. Other features include shock-absorbing cushioning from a Luftcell midsole; environmentally preferred leather; an abrasion-resistant outsole; reinforced lacing; waterproof protection; and PFAS-free water repellency.

MSRP: $145-$165


Focus Shoe: Express Light Pickleball

The Shoe: The Express Light Pickleball is a lightweight and breathable shoe for both new and frequent players on hard or clay courts. Stability is provided with a 180-degree Plantar Support Chassis and interlocking fibers in the heel grip lining to prevent slippage. The Aosta rubber compound outsole provides heel-to-toe durability and the DragGuard

adds abrasion resistance, while the Durawrap on the upper offers extra defense against excessive toe-dragging. In the spirit of the sport, the design features a K-Swiss Pickleball logo and customized Pickleball sock liner.

MSRP: $110

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Focus Shoe: Bushido GTX

The Shoe: La Sportiva’s Bushido GTX is revamped for Fall 2024 with a new outsole and rubber compound design, updated aesthetics and a PFC-free Gore-Tex Invisible Fit ePE membrane. It is also available in a Wide Fit with an added seven millimeters of circumference and additional two millimeters of height in the toe-box/forefoot area of the shoe. Available August 2024.


MSRP: $165

A Look Ahead: La Sportiva launched the Prodigio this Spring with its new proprietary XFlow Foam (a nitrogen infused supercritical foam that is lighter with more cushion and rebound than traditional EVA). The brand is continuing with its XFlow shoes with launching the Prodigio Pro in Spring 2025 (men’s and women’s models).

Focus Shoe: Jules and Jaden

The Shoe: Lamo’s Jules and Jaden clogs provide TLC post-run with Ortholite insoles providing relaxation to the feet.

MSRP: $54.99–$59.99

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LOWA Focus Shoe: Fortux GTX QC

The Shoe: Lowa’s Fortux GTX QC, available for both men and women, is a lightweight waterproof speed hiker with the soul of a trail runner, offering traction and comfort with ankle support. The rocker sole design allows for a natural rolling motion every step of the way and the jacquard uppers provide protection and foot hold.

MSRP: $190


Focus Shoe: Sertig TR

The Shoe: Comfort and speed collide in the trail running expansion of Mammut’s Sertig collection. Lightweight and flexible with a Mammut Swiss Design outsole for responsiveness and reliable grip, its breathable mesh forefoot keeps feet from overheating. With a high-rebound EVA midsole and foam-lined ankle for exceptional cushioning, it is designed for middistance runs.

MSRP: $149

MERRELL Focus Shoe: Agility Peak 5

The Shoe: Merrell’s Agility Peak 5 Boa Gore-Tex features Boa with Vibram and GTX, giving it an enhanced feel for run and outdoor specialty.

MSRP: $190

A Look Ahead: Merrell’s Nova 4 and Antora 4 feature upgrades to its Nova 3 and Antora 3 trail run shoes. Major upgrades include reduced weight, a FloatPro foam midsole and new design.

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NEW BALANCE Focus Shoe: Fresh Foam X 880v14

The Shoe: The Fresh Foam X 880v14 is described as “an evolution in everyday reliability,” featuring underfoot cushioning and a structured, supportive upper.

MSRP: $139.99

NEWTON Focus Shoe: CF1

The Shoe: The CF1 is Newton’s first carbon plated shoe. Newton paired its patented Action/ Reaction technology with a carbon plate and PEBA midsole to create its fastest shoe.

MSRP: $230

NIKE Focus Shoe: Pegasus 41

The Shoe: The Nike Pegasus 41 features a new full-length ReactX foam midsole and forefoot and heel Air Zoom units. Appearing for the first time in the Pegasus line, ReactX foam provides more than 13 percent more energy return compared to React foam while reducing the carbon footprint in a pair of midsoles by at least 43 percent. Combined with Nike Air Zoom, the Pegasus 41 provides the responsive, cushioned ride that runners love from the Pegasus line. The 2024 Pegasus family includes a range of silhouettes for all needs, abilities and terrain, including the Pegasus EasyOn, Pegasus Trail 5, Pegasus Trail Gore-Tex and Pegasus Winter Gore-Tex.

MSRP: $140

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NNORMAL Focus Shoe: Tomir 2.0

The Shoe: The Tomir 2.0 is the upgraded version of the brand’s Tomir 1.0 designed to enhance all trail running and outdoor experiences. Nnormal developed a shoe that is more durable, resistant and comfortable than its previous version by using new materials in its upper and midsole, 360 nylon thread stitching in the midsole and new anti-slip fabric laces. The improved rocker and midsole geometry of the Tomir 2.0 ensures a smoother, lower-impact run and its new supercritical foam compound, which is also lighter, increases cushioning and energy savings.

MSRP: $170

OBOZ Focus Shoe: Katabatic Wind

The Shoe: The Katabatic Wind is Oboz’s most technically advanced style to date featuring its new proprietary Inertia of Motion (IOM) System that includes a carbon plate paired with a dual-density midsole that work together with the shoe’s rocker profile to reduce fatigue and provide more energy return. The dual-density midsole features ACTNitro, a nitrogen-infused foam that is lighter and provides higher rebound, while being resistant to packing out. The Katabatic Wind is for fastpackers who prioritize weight and technical performance, as well as for folks that are on their feet all day and need something more durable and supportive than most modern running shoes. Colors: Wintergold and Raven (men’s) and Sheepskin, Skylight (women’s). MSRP: $185

OLUKAI Focus Shoe: Hāmani Hulu

The Shoe: “The smoothness of a water-worn pebble, worn into perfection” is how Olukai describes the Hamani Hulu, a balance between the sophisticated style of a loafer and wearable ease of a mule. Crafted with a combo of tweed Italian felt and real suede rand, it offers a casual feel for dressed-down wear or post-run coziness. The footbed features its dual-density, removable/washable foot, lined in a soft eco-fleece, while the outsole is a non-marking, wet grip rubber with a pattern inspired by coral reef fish. Available 9/1 in three colors. MSRP: $120

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ON Focus Shoe: Cloudmonster Hyper

The Shoe: The monster has escaped the lab again. But this time, it’s hyper. Maximalist CloudTec combines with Helion HF, On’s new Pebax hyper foam, for extreme energy return that does the leg work while


Focus Shoe:

training. The Cloudmonster Hyper is a training shoe without carbon fiber to accompany the Cloudboom Echo race day shoe

MSRP: $219.99

OOcoozie Sport Mule

The Shoe: The OOcoozie Sport Mule, available in both women’s and men’s, provides a breezy mule option designed for instant relief and active recovery after workouts. The highlight of this slipper is its mesh upper, crafted with lightweight breathability. The mesh material allows for airflow, providing instant relief as the temperatures start to rise. The OOcoozie Sport Mule also features OOfoam technology.

MSRP: $114.95

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PUMA Focus Shoe: Deviate Nitro 3

The Shoe: Puma’s Deviate Nitro 3 continues the legacy of its predecessor but elevates it with updates focused on improving the overall running experience and delivers the support runners need.

MSRP: $170

A Look Ahead: “Over the past 12 months, Puma has released some of the most talked about, innovative running shoes on the market; from the

RABBIT Focus Shoe: Dream Chaser

The Shoe: The apparel brand’s first shoe, the Dream Chaser is an everyday trainer powered by Carbon Trax technology, a carbon rocker that energizes and stabilizes a run, while soft and sustainable materials ensure comfort. In addition, Flowstate ETPU Foam midsole offers lightweight cushioning and a blumaka insole. It also features a soft, recycled polyester knit upper and a secure heel, snug midfoot embrace and spacious forefoot.

MSRP: $160

Fast-R Nitro Elite 2 to the Velocity Nitro 3. These shoes have elevated our presence in the running space substantially and in 2025 Puma will get even faster. We’ll continue to evolve our franchises for both every day and race-day, with Nitro technology as the foundation of each of these new developments.” — Todd Falker, Teamhead Product Line Management, Run/Train Footwear

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REEBOK Focus Shoe: FloatZig X1

The Shoe: For FW24 Reebok is expanding the FloatZig franchise to meet the needs of all runners by launching new iterations that include the FloatZig X1 and FloatZig Adventure. Built for speed, the FloatZig X1 is a high-performance running shoe designed for marathon racing and long-distance training. Featuring a full-length carbon fiber plate between dual density foam layers, a deconstructed engineered mesh upper and outsole materials optimized to be durable yet lightweight, the model offers runners a responsive energy efficient ride with premium stability for long runs.

MSRP: $195

REVERE Focus Shoe: Los Angeles Walker

The Shoe: Revere’s Los Angeles Walker pairs intricate laser cut detail with airy perforations on a striking and articulated outsole. Combined with a cushioned arch support footbed, the Los Angeles Walker delivers sophisticated style and comfort.

MSRP: $139.95


Focus Shoe: Podflow W2

The Shoe: Ryka’s Podflow W2 features an upper made of breathable mesh with reflective underlays and includes environmentally friendly materials and internal components.

MSRP: $109.99

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SALEWA Focus Shoe: Wildfire NXT Mid GTX

The Shoe: Salewa’s Wildfire NXT Mid GTX is engineered for performance and comfort, offering cushioning, warmth and ventilation for approach, hiking and speed hiking. With a single shoe weight of 380g and a 10mm drop, they strike a balance between agility and support. The upper features a protective TPU rand, 3F system, Matryx high tenacity nylon and ripstop PE, while the Gore-Tex Phoenix lining and ePE membrane ensure waterproof and breathable protection. Equipped with a Vibram all-terrain Megagrip outsole and C.F.F. PRO footbed.

MSRP: $219.95

SAUCONY Focus Shoe: Triumph 22

The Shoe: A redesign of the Triumph 22 features the brand’s PwrRunPB foam, initially created for the Endorphin Pro but now tuned for daily mileage. The Triumph 22, with its responsive cushioning and comfort, is designed for the everyday runner, offering a wider midfoot that provides a balanced platform to accommodate more foot types. The engineered mesh upper is breathable, while the adaptive lacing system gives a secure fit. The modern silhouette and feel-good fit make it versatile and comfortable.

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SCARPA Focus Shoe: Spin ST

The Shoe: Scarpa’s Spin ST features a lug profile with Vibram Traction Lug Technology and is for muddy or snowy trails, obstacle-course racing and orienteering. It minimizes cushioning in favor of maximum traction and the Vibram Megagrip sole uses seven millimeter lugs. The upper – made with a 95 percent recycled fabric – features an extended ankle collar to keep the elements out.

MSRP: $179


Focus Shoe: GOrun Razor 5

The Shoe: The Skechers GOrun Razor 5 is a lightweight, durable and neutral running shoe that delivers a responsive feel due to Skechers Hyper Burst Pro TPU cushioning. The Razor 5 also boasts Hyper Arc technology and a removable Arch Fit insole system for podiatrist-certified arch support. The Goodyear Performance outsole offers rubber technology for enhanced traction, stability and durability.

MSRP: $130

A Look Ahead: “In 2025, Skechers is raising the bar with the introduction of a new range of technical running shoes that leverages our most premium technologies like Hyperburst Ice, Hyperburst Pro, carbon-infused plates and Goodyear rubber. The new collection combines signature Skechers comfort and performance, making it an invitation for runners of all skill levels to lace up and get their miles in.” — Greg Smith, VP–Product Development and Merchandising.

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SPIRA Focus Shoe: WaveMax

The Shoe: Spira’s WaveMax has a midsole geometry and features its WaveSpring technology that provides dynamic forefoot energy return and assisted propulsion during the running gait cycle.

MSRP: $139.95

TEVA Focus Shoe: Trailwinder

The Shoe: Designed for the active hiker who uses the trail as their gym, the Trailwinder marks Teva’s entrance into the Short and Quick Hike category. The shoe addresses the need for a style that bridges traditional hike and trail run options, without the overbuilt features. Trailwinder features the Navilock internal fit system to secure the foot and tighten/ relax based on wearing occasion, while the foam footbed provides cushioned underfoot responsiveness long-lasting comfort and tiered traction lugs on the outsole provide grip on trails. The topo lines on the upper and the canyon crevasse embedded in the outsole under the heel tie back to Teva’s heritage — born in the canyon.

MSRP: $130

THE NORTH FACE Focus Shoe: Summit Offtrail TR

The Shoe: The Summit Offtrail TR with BOA by The North Face has a Boa Fit System featuring dual-dial Li2 to deliver micro-adjustable, multi-directional fit and is engineered to perform in tough conditions.

MSRP: $199

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TOPO Focus Shoe: Specter 2

The Shoe: A high-performance, max-cushioned trainer designed for up-tempo, long-distance running, the Specter 2 has a 37 x 32 mm platform that features an additional two mm of cushioning. The new lightweight, full Pebax Powered midsole delivers more energy return for a fast and responsive ride. Strategically placed rubber on the outsole offers durability and traction in high abrasion areas and the recycled mesh upper provides a secure, lightweight fit with optimal breathability. Launching August 2024.

MSRP: $165


Focus Shoe: CXT-2 Trainer

The Shoe: The Tyr CXT-2 Trainer is an updated edition of its first piece of footwear, the CXT-1 Trainer. With an improved TPU wrap-around that adds stability for training and powerlifting, the updated platform gives added durability during exercise. An enhanced anatomical fit from a new mesh knit upper provides more mechanical stretch and conformity to each individual’s foot.

MSRP: $150

A Look Ahead: The Tyr CXT Flow, launching January 2025, will deliver comfort, workout tech and style.


Focus Shoe: Maikoh

The Shoe: The Maikoh by Ulysses features high-resistance nylon rip-stop vamp, a claw grip directional grip full length rubber sole prearranged for ice spikes and an adaptive patented EVA foam midsole.

MSRP: $180

A Look Ahead: Ulysses Running will adopt a more sustainable approach launching the Extend The Life (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse) campaign starting from SS25 on all models and colors. The first step to reduce pollution is to Extend The Life of a product and produce less of it. The message based on reducing waste by reducing production will push runners to rely on fewer, yet more durable shoes. The brand’s effort will be starting by using 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials for the uppers and progressively use recycled material in the more critical midsoles/outsole assembly.

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UNDER ARMOUR Focus Shoe: Velociti Pro

The Shoe: Part of Under Armour’s Velociti silo, the Velociti Pro is a tier below its Velociti Elite 2 (SS24 intro) and is a training shoe for workouts or key long runs. It shares some of the tech and then has some key differences for separation. The upper utilizes Warp technology, like the Velociti Elite, but in a slightly different package. The midsole is made up of three components: a top layer of supercritical Pebax foam, a bottom layer of Flow, that also serves as the “outsole,” and in-between is a TPU

injected plate that provides a bit of rigidity and propulsion.

MSRP: $160

A Look Ahead: 2025 for Under Armour Run is going to be about furthering a new silo strategy that started in 2024 – focusing on Velociti and Infinite. There will be updates to key franchises in both silos throughout the year, bringing new daily trainers and race day solutions to the line.

VEJA Focus Shoe: Condor 3

The Shoe: Veja’s Condor 3 road running shoe is made in Brazil. It combines R&D and bio-based materials for cushioning, lightness and durability. It’s made to be a go-to shoe for easy runs and daily training. Its breathable upper is made in engineered mesh from 100 percent recycled polyester and a thinner shoe tongue increases comfort. The stack height is 37mm in the heel and 29mm in the forefoot. It will be available in four new colors for Fall/Winter 2024: Full Black, Full White, Gradient Calcaire Nautico and Light Grey Black Gradient.

MSRP: $200

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VELOUS Focus Shoe: Skyline

The Shoe: The Skyline by Velous Footwear is designed with recovery and comfort in mind. The Velous Tri-Motion technology promotes natural foot motion to help speed up recovery and provide stability, arch support and forefoot flexibility with a lightweight, seamless upper that helps keep feet dry and cool. MSRP: $119.95

A Look Ahead: Velous is working on a full product continuum of recovery footwear for all activities and weather conditions as well as prints and new colorways of existing best-selling recovery sandals. Velous will also be adding an adjustable slide version of itds new Active Collection. Coming in Spring 2025: the Vernonia Slip-On with an MSRP of $129.95.


Focus Shoe: Primus Lite III

The Shoe: The Primus Lite III by Vivobarefoot features a minimalist design moving naturally through wide-ranging training disciplines and building strength. Designed with experienced barefoot cross-trainers and those new to barefoot performance in mind. The vegan design uses breathable, recycled polyester. MSRP: $170



Focus Shoe: XTER

The Shoe: VJ Shoes XTER launches this fall as a version of its Ace shoe, without the spikes. This waterproof shoe is designed running in the rain, slush and light snow.

MSRP: $175

Focus Shoe: GPS

The Shoe: Xelero’s GPS is lightweight, stability running shoe, featuring a Guidance Propulsion System to guide the foot into a neutral position. This shoe is suited for both supination and pronation runners, providing stability and injury protection. Available late 2024.

MSRP: $219.99

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XERO SHOES Focus Shoe: Dillon Leather

The Shoe: Xero Shoes Dillon Leather is the newest in the brand’s Dillon franchise. This iconic silhouette is designed with a full-grain leather upper for versatile wearability and a comfortable calfskin lining makes for a fine next-to-skin experience. The Dillon Leather is designed with Xero Shoes’ signature barefoot/minimalist elements, including a wider, foot-shaped toe box and zero-drop, non-elevated heel.


Focus Shoe: The Nose

The Shoe: The Nose is a lightweight, more generalist approach shoe for the crag, mountain approach and trekking. Designed for comfort and versatility on a variety of surfaces, it’s tactile and sensitive yet stable, with to-the-toe lacing and Zamberlan’s X-Active Fit last. The Vibram Password outsole with Megagrip provides precise feel from the smooth climbing zone at the toe, while self-adjusting and self-cleaning lugs underfoot offer adaptable traction for general hiking. The Hydrobloc suede upper is meshlined, ensuring breathability and water repellency.

MSRP: $240

MSRP: $130

A Look Ahead: Xero Shoes will continue to expand its core product franchises by adding styles to its Scrambler hiking and trail running franchise. The brand is also highlighting exclusive color stories in its performance categories and a capsule collection for casual shoes and sandals.

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Special Report: Pickleball

Extra Pickles, Please!

Running specialty retailers take a closer look at the opportunities and challenges in selling the pickleball category.

For the third straight year, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America, having grown 51.8 percent in 2023, and an incredible 223.5 percent since 2020, according to SFIA’s 2024 Topline Participation Report. The research also found that pickleball, with 13.6 million participants, is now nearly the size of outdoor soccer (14.1 million participants).

In fact, the updated 2023 Association of Pickleball Players (APP) Pickleball Participation Report states that it’s far bigger, with 48.3 million adults having played the game during the 12 months ending in March 2023. That study also reveals that the average age of pickleball players is 34.8 years, considerably younger than previously assumed, highlighting the growth of the sport among the 18-to-44 set.

Need more: Okay, in its 2023 State of Pickleball Report, the SFIA estimated that roughly 25,000 courts at a projected cost of nearly $1 billion would need to be built to meet the demand for pickleball in the U.S. Looking ahead, the pickleball paddle market alone – which was estimated at $152.8 million in 2021 – is forecasted to grow at 7.7 percent CAGR through 2028.

retailers also trusting them for pickleball purchases,” says Tom Webb, CMO of the APP. While attending The Running Event in Austin, TX, last November, he saw that “the interest levels from running retailers in pickleball was phenomenal.”

He adds, “It’s a new revenue possibility, so it’s not surprising that it’s growing.”

Getting Into the Game

The types of consumers apt to shop at run specialty stores for pickleball products are as broad as the range of people who run. This includes runners looking to try a new activity as well as pickleball players seeking retailers that carry pickleball products.

But, the billion-dollar question remains, where do all of those picklers (yes, that’s what they are called!) buy their paddles, balls, shoes and gear? The answer just may be — run specialty shops.

Because with numbers like these, it’s no wonder that retailers both within and

outside the sporting goods industry are eager to get a piece of the pickleball pie. For running specialty stores in particular, interest in the pickleball market is growing and the early adopters are benefitting from their investment in the category. After all, in many ways it is the same customers they are already serving using the same specialty retail sales approach.

“Running and pickleball have many similarities and both require specialist assistance for people to purchase the products that are right for them, so it’s not surprising to see people who trust running

“Running and pickleball share many similarities, in particular the fact that once people start, they’re hooked, but there’s not one single audience type who is more or less likely to come in and shop,” says Webb. “If a store carries a good range of products to suit all needs, they’ll attract a decent range of pickleball customers.

“That said, with the massive increase in pickleball offerings from big-box stores, perhaps the first-time pickleball player is more likely to shop there,” he adds. “But as soon as they want to improve their game, they’ll look for specialists and that’s where a trusted local run retailer can come in.”

Leading the charge in the run specialty space is certainly Whirlaway Sports Center in Methuen, MA, which has built a solid pickleball business and the expansion is ongoing. It serves as a model – and a cautionary tale – for specialty retailers

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SFIA estimates that 25,000 pickleball courts need to be built to meet the growing demand in the United States. Photo: Selkirk Sport

considering picking up the paddle.

“I’ve seen how the category has grown — and our business has grown even more,” enthuses owner David Kazanjian. “I stock over 400 paddles and 800 court shoes, so I’m committed to the category. We continue to learn and grow every day, and we’ve grown with pickleball for the past three years.”

He adds, “We offer a demo program and have picked up a few new lines, but there are over 100 brands out there. We can’t carry everything, so knowledge is important.”

Whirlaway’s pickleball customers include some runners as well as some tennis players crossing over. Additionally, “there are a lot of kids out there playing pickleball and it will be a high school and collegiate sport soon and could be in the Olympics in the next eight years,” Kazanjian predicts.

“Pickleball appeals to the person who never played sports and also to pickleball players and other athletes, both young and old — there are no limits,” he points out. “It has a strong social aspect, people can get good at the sport quickly and the success keeps people intrigued. Exercise plus fun is a winning combination.”

Meanwhile, Fort Walton Beach, FL-based Run With It is also deep into pickleball and began carrying the category way back in in 2020. In 2023, Jeff Harris, who owns the business with his wife, Dana Harris, purchased a building with room for a single indoor pickleball court.

“This past year has been fantastic for the pickleball category,” Harris tells Running Insight, explaining that they

opened the new store location in February, 2023 and the indoor pickleball court opened that April. Once the court opened, Run With It really began blowing out previous sales figures as people were so excited to have a regulation indoor court available.

“What we found is that the court really acts like a loss leader, as it is very inexpensive to rent but it brings so many people into the store so they purchase footwear, pickleball paddles and accessories as well as apparel,” Harris explains. “It is an entirely new customer base for us.”

Plus, “the category grew 200plus percent last year. Again, this was driven by the indoor court that brought in new customers and for the most part it is entirely word of mouth.”

As for his pickleball clientele, Harris says, “We do have some crossover between running and pickleball, but most of our

customers are veteran pickleball players who have never had a local store to utilize and there are lots and lots of new players to the sport that need all the gear to start playing.”

Pickling in the Desert

Newer to the pickleball scene is Glendale, AZ-based Tortoise & Hare Sports, which began carrying footwear, paddles, balls and accessories in August, 2023. “We are happy with where our pickleball business sits and don’t have any plans to expand beyond where we currently are, except for potentially adding ASICS court footwear next January and going deeper in the footwear quantities we carry,” says coowner Nathan Hohenstein. His shop is adjacent to the Sun City retirement communities, where pickleball is the main sport and social activity, and they have identified and targeted those customers for years with their everyday athletic footwear

and apparel offerings. “They’d been asking us for a while to carry specific footwear product, which we were happy to test and trial with our most loyal customers,” explains Hohenstein, adding that “the pickleball category has given us another way to serve our customers and community.”

Hohenstein believes that customer service and knowledge help his store stand apart from the competition.

“There are several tennis/ pickleball stores that have popped up in our area and they also do a fine job servicing this customer. The main differentiator we’ve been able to communicate is around our product knowledge and fit process where these racket shops don’t have any expertise.”

He adds, “Much of the pickleball footwear product from the brands we carry have unique fit attributes and material choices – from rubber overlays to outsole design – so the conversations at the fitting stool can be nuanced and give us an opportunity to explore other needs of these customers.”

For instance, many of these people play pickleball but also have morning walking routines, so it gives the shop a chance to work across categories and present them with a complete and tailored solution to their needs.

This past January, Tim Ketron, owner of Athletic Outpost in Walnut Creek, CA, decided to bring in some pickleball shoes “because we were getting multiple daily calls requesting pickleball product.” His customers come from all over the area and many of them tend to be older.

Similar to Tortoise & Hare, they are located near a high-end

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Run retailers around the country are adding pickleball – paddles, accessories and, of course, shoes – into their merchandie mix. Photo: Selkirk Sport

Extra Pickle Please! (continued)

retirement community where pickleball is very popular. Athletic Outpost also sells footwear to other walkers and runners that are interested in the sport, so there’s some customer crossover. He notes that the store’s sales of pickleball shoes are about equal to those of trail shoes.

Although the pickleball footwear business is good, Ketron has no plans to expand into other categories. “Our store is only about 700-square feet, so we don’t really have the space to add more product. We carry ASICS and New Balance, so we’ll keep it to that and maybe add another model from ASICS.”

Meanwhile, Racquet and Jog, which operates three locations in Texas (Longview, Rockwall and Texarkana), added pickleball in the past year.

“It’s been great. People are coming to us to buy paddles and we’re trying to carry higher-end

product, including Selkirk and Head,” says Katin Curtis, marketing and website manager.

“We also carry court shoes and it’s been worth the investment so far.” Additionally, the business is active in the local pickleball community, sponsoring a few players as well being involved in various running and pickleball events.

“Runners are our main clientele, but pickleball is on the rise. Many runners want to try something new and we also see crossover between tennis and pickleball,” says Curtis. “We’re always looking to expand.”

Pickleball Challenges

While getting involved in the pickleball category is certainly tempting, it’s not for every running specialty store. One of the main concerns is that pickleball product technology is constantly evolving, sometimes leaving retailers in a bit of a pickle as

they struggle to keep up.

“Pickleball has been perceived as, ‘bring it in and it will sell,’ but it takes a lot of knowledge,” says Kazanjian. “It’s tricky to dabble, so you have to commit to it. The technology changes so fast – sometimes in less than a year – so you have to stay on top of it and also be cognizant of the competition, including online.”

He also points out that because more pickleball complexes and venues are being built – some of which have their own pro shops – the landscape is becoming more competitive. For this reason, “Knowledge is key, and you have to have staff members that can talk pickleball.”

Harris concurs. “We are constantly changing and expanding our product selection. You have to do that as the sport as a whole is growing so quickly and the technology is changing so quickly that popular styles and brands lose favor with the customer when cutting-edge technology is released by new and upcoming companies.”

He warns, “You find a brand or model that sells so quickly that you can’t keep it in stock, but when you increase inventory, you get stuck with the product as the customer base moves on to newer technology.”

For Ketron at Athletic Outpost, it’s been smooth sailing. “We haven’t really had any problems. We understand how to fit a shoe and we haven’t had any returns. In terms of fit, it’s not that different from selling running shoes,” he says.

Due to the extreme summer temperatures in Arizona, Tortoise & Hare faces a different type of problem. “Thus far, pickleball appears to be a

very seasonal category for us, so we are figuring out how to adjust the flow of product to match demand in the busy season, but not be too over-inventoried as it slows down in the summer,” says Hohenstein.

Tips for Success

“Just because you’re great at selling running shoes doesn’t mean you’ll be great at selling other categories,” warns Kazanjian. “You have to have a little passion for the sport — customers will ask a lot of questions. Make sure you don’t dabble — take it seriously and make the commitment.”

“Just the same way a running retailer isn’t going to apply a generic product approach to their customers, the same is true for pickleball and that requires specialist knowledge,” says Webb. Knowing what sort of footwear to recommend, and the types of paddles that are bestsuited to specific customers is going to be critical in building a reputation as truly knowledgeable and trustworthy. That will attract customers and increase revenue.”

Webb also advises running retailers to play the sport, or at least have staff members who do.

“The sooner you are engaged with the local pickleball community, the sooner you will start building your customer base,” he says.

“Join Facebook groups and actively seek out the pickleball players in your area. It’s not a case of ‘build it and they will come,’ you need to go courting them — let them know you’re here, tell them you want to help them, tell them where to find you, and then they’ll come.” n

54 © 2024 Diversified Communications
One piece of advice: Play the sport before trying to sell it in your running store.


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In the kitchen with ...

Doug Thielen

Chief Marketing Officer, Selkirk Sport

Are you seeing more interest in pickleball from run specialty shops and do you anticipate further growth?

Doug Thielen: In the last year, more retailers than ever have expressed interest in pickleball equipment. Target just made waves with an in-store pickleball display and along with Target, our products are sold in numerous big-box stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Costco. As pickleball continues to surge in popularity, more specialty retailers are getting involved with the game. The growth over the last 18 months has been tremendous — we’ve experienced demand at numerous specialty events, including The Running Event and the PGA Show – and we anticipate this trend and our partnerships within the industry to continue growing.

What’s driving the growth of pickleball at run specialty?

The primary factors are community, fun and trust. Running stores are the hub of the running community and the staff at these shops are the de facto ambassadors, gurus, coaches and facilitators of fun. These shops are known for their knowledge and what

better way to get your pickleball questions answered than by an expert you already trust?

And the next step is …?

As pickleball grows, athletes and recreational competitors are finding the sport while bringing their active lifestyles with them. It’s a natural evolution that runners will fall in love with pickleball and that pickleballers will find a sense of belonging within the running community. Pickleball provides a low-impact alternative for runners, enhancing agility and speed, which complements traditional endurance training. The social nature of pickleball is reflected in the running community [in which runners] support each other as they reach their personal goals.

Are you seeing crossover between running and pickleball consumers?

Yes, there’s a significant crossover. Many runners are incorporating pickleball into their fitness routines for its competitive, yet fun, nature. As an ultrarunner and former triathlete myself, I love the intersection of these two sports and communities. From a fitness perspective, pickleball is a fantastic activity to add to my active recovery

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Special Report: Pickleball
Selkirk’s Doug Thielen says exposure to pickleball at The Running Event last year has spurred growth within run specialty stores across the country.

days because I can still dynamically move, just in a different way than my time on the trail. This crossover is driving demand for sportspecific gear and accessories in running stores.

What sorts of products do you recommend running specialty retailers carry?

To cater to all players’ needs, it’s imperative to offer a variety of products, but we’ve seen running specialty retailers do well by selling intermediate and advanced products. Additionally, our wholesale staff does an amazing job setting up our running retail partners for success, ensuring they have the product knowledge and know-how to exceed customers’ expectations.

Is Selkirk planning to expand its offerings or develop particular products or collections for running stores?

Selkirk is excited to continue its growth within the specialty sporting goods retail space. We are developing new products, including a highly anticipated line of pickleball court shoes, designed to meet the unique needs of pickleball players and fit seamlessly within the specialty sporting goods retail environment.

You can’t play pickleball in running shoes, right?

It is advantageous for running specialty stores to offer pickleball-specific court shoes because running shoes are not ideal for pickleball.

Traditional running shoes are designed to support the heel-to-toe movement used for running, whereas pickleball shoes are designed to support the lateral movements and quick directional changes executed during a game. Running shoes also do not provide the same grip as a pickleball shoe, so they can be dangerous to wear during high-intensity matches. Offering a court-specific shoe gives retailers another opportunity to drive additional traffic and purchase incidents.

What do you currently offer running specialty retailers regarding merchandising?

Selkirk continues to develop innovative merchandising options for our retailers, including display stands and informational signage, to educate customers about our products. Understanding the importance of effective merchandising in the running space, we aim to equip our retail partners with all the necessary tools and information to empower them for successful sales.

What advice do you have for running specialty retailers that are interested in the pickleball category?

There are a number of pieces of advice I can give. First, for retailers looking to enter the pickleball market, it’s crucial that your staff is well-educated about the game. Hosting demo days can greatly enhance staff knowledge and customer

engagement by allowing both to try equipment and learn the basics first-hand.

Next, incorporating pickleball into your offerings can diversify your product range and attract a broader customer base. This fast-growing sport has a robust community aspect that can increase store traffic and customer engagement. Even including a few key product offerings – such as a couple of paddle brands, balls and paddle accessories –can pay dividends in terms of growing your customer base.

Then, successful retailers often incorporate programming that connects directly with the community. Whether setting up a test court in-store or hosting a booth at local tournaments, these strategies enhance retailers’ reputation as knowledgeable and reliable equipment providers. Additionally, we’ve heard of stores offering lessons or mixing up their weekly run club locations to start or end at a pickleball court for a little friendly competition post-5K.

Any final thoughts?

Running, especially trail running, has such a strong community aspect that I find relates to pickleball. It’s really unique and equally as infectious. From a retail perspective, the local specialty running shop is the hub of that community and runners are always looking for another reason to stop by. I love that specialty retail can be the intersection of these two communities — to not only grow both sports, but also foot traffic. n

“Running stores are the hub of the running community and the staff at these shops are the de facto ambassadors, gurus, coaches and facilitators of fun. These shops are known for their knowledge and what better way to get your pickleball questions answered than by an expert you already trust?” — Doug Thielen
57 © 2024 Diversified Communications

Women In a Pickle

EnpowHer Pickleball founder KaSandra Marie Gehrke provides insights about the female market.

Professional pickleball player and instructor KaSandra Marie Gehrke, founder of EmpowHer Pickleball, is on a mission to create an inclusive pickleball community for women. The organization’s women’s-only camps, clinics and retreats are designed to foster athletic excellence as well as personal growth and confidence.

But Gehrke’s involvement with the sport doesn’t end there. She also serves as pickleball manager with PHIT America, where

her primary focus is to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles for children.

“Together, these roles allow me to make a significant impact by encouraging more people to take up pickleball, fostering a love for the sport and advocating for healthier, more active lifestyles through my partnership with PHIT America,” she tells Running Insight

When it comes to running specialty retailers selling pickleball, Gehrke is an enthusiastic advocate. “The popularity of

pickleball has been surging, especially among women of all ages,” she says. “This sport is not only fun and engaging, but also provides excellent cardiovascular exercise, making it a natural complement to running. By offering pickleball products, retailers can attract a broader customer base and meet the evolving fitness needs of their clientele.”

Gehrke finds that women are looking for ways to stay active and healthy. “Pickleball offers a fantastic blend of social interaction,

Women just want to play pickleball — and KaSandra Marie Gehrke thinks that run specialty retailers can help them take it to the next level in 2024.

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Special Report:

mental challenge and physical activity, making it an appealing option,” she says. “By catering to this interest, running specialty stores can enhance their product offerings, providing everything from paddles and balls to apparel and accessories specifically for female athletes.”

What Women Picklers Want

She also strongly believes that the pickleball category represents a significant area of growth for running stores, simply because as more women embrace pickleball, the demand for high-quality products will continue to rise.

“Retailers who tap into this market early can establish themselves as go-to destinations for all things pickleball, thereby driving new sales and fostering customer loyalty,” Gehrke says. “In essence, expanding into pickleball products not only aligns with the fitness goals of many women, but also presents a strategic opportunity for growth and diversification for running specialty retailers.”

Although pickleball participation is starting to trend younger, women ages 50 to 70 still comprise an important piece of the market and they shop for pickleball products in a variety of places.

“This demographic tends to look for high-quality, reliable and accessible options. They typically shop at specialty sporting goods stores, online retailers, local pickleball clubs and community centers, major sporting goods retailers, as well as at pickleball tournaments and events,” says Gehrke.

However, she points to run specialty stores’ unique ability offer high-quality products,

expert advice and a supportive community environment that enhances the overall pickleball experience.

“Running specialty stores are staffed by knowledgeable professionals who understand the importance of proper footwear, apparel and equipment for optimal performance and injury prevention,” she says. Plus, they provide personalized recommendations and often carry premium brands, making them a reliable source for gear that helps maintain an active lifestyle.

“From my own experience, running specialty stores are centered around promoting an active and healthy lifestyle, which aligns perfectly with the interests of older women engaging in pickleball to stay fit, healthy and socially connected,” she continues.

“For the EmpowHer Pickleball community, the personalized customer service ensures that older women receive the attention and assistance they need, whether it’s finding the right paddle, apparel or accessories. These stores also foster a sense of community through events, clinics and group activities, allowing older women to connect with like-minded individuals and participate in local events.”

Selling the Sport To Women

To better sell pickleball products to women of all ages, Gehrke recommends that running retailers create dedicated sections that highlight the sport’s benefits and appeal, with an emphasis on women’s-specific products. Engaging displays with clear signage, educational materials

highlighting the health benefits of the game, and demonstrations and trial opportunities can attract interest, too.

“Hosting in-store events, clinics or meet-and-greet sessions with local female pickleball players can also foster a sense of community and encourage women to explore and invest in the sport,” she recommends. “Most importantly, build relationships with people like me who are helping to foster a supportive community for women to engage in and enjoy this sport.”

In serving older women, running retailers should understand this demographic’s unique needs and preferences. “Women in this [50-70] age group often seek products that prioritize comfort, support and injury prevention, which may differ from the typical running gear,” says Gehrke.

“Additionally, retailers need to create a welcoming and inclusive store environment, offer personalized customer service and provide educational resources about pickleball. Effective merchandising that highlights the benefits of specific products for older women, coupled with staff knowledgeable about pickleball, can help overcome these challenges and better serve this growing market segment.”

In the grand scheme, says Gehrke, “the sense of camaraderie and connection formed on the pickleball courts is invaluable, contributing significantly to the sport’s appeal among women. It’s not just about playing a game, it’s about building friendships, boosting confidence and creating a positive community that extends beyond the courts.” n

“Pickleball offers a fantastic blend of social interaction, mental challenge and physical activity, making it an appealing option. By catering to this interest, running specialty stores can enhance their product offerings, providing everything from paddles and balls to apparel and accessories specifically for female athletes.” — KaSandra Marie Gehrke
59 © 2024 Diversified Communications


Christina Henderson,

Event Director, The Running Event and Switchback, provides insight

into the June 2025 debut of a new outdoor trade gathering.

Switchback, the education and business gathering for the outdoor industry, will host its first stand-alone gathering June 16-18, 2025, in Nashville, TN. The inaugural Spring Switchback builds on the momentum of its Fall event, which launched in 2022 as a specialty outdoor showcase at The Running Event (TRE). Over the last two years, the event has experienced robust growth in attendance from outdoor retailers, media and brand leaders.

Switchback’s Spring format will be built to support outdoor needs through the same four pillars seen at previous events — learning, discovery, connection and celebration. The gathering will provide a robust schedule of forward-looking conference programming and peer

learning that will be applicable and valuable to multiple business levels and positions.

Switchback’s educational sessions, networking events and exhibition space will all be hosted within a dedicated portion of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, a spacious yet comfortable setting with 12 restaurants and an attached premium hotel. With all attendees staying and meeting in a single location, the focused and efficient environment will enable both private planned meetings as well as serendipitous run-ins.

Upcoming dates and locations for Switchback include Austin, TX (Switchback at TRE, November 19-21 2024); and Switchback in Nashville, TN (June 16-18, 2025).

Why launch Switchback as a standalone event?

Switchback is building on the positive momentum of the fall gathering at The Running Event (TRE). Over the last two years, the event has experienced a lot of growth in attendance from outdoor retailers, media and brand leaders in the outdoor space. Interest in Switchback at TRE has grown to the point that it needs to expand beyond TRE. At the same time, it’s important TRE continues to be run-focused, so that we’re best-serving the run specialty industry.

Based on conversations with our community, partners, brands and retailers, as well as the data at hand, it’s clear there’s a need for an event that unites the outdoor

industry. By creating a twice-yearly gathering, Switchback is also welcoming the many outdoor industry members who have lapsed from attending industry events over recent years. Ultimately, the goal of Switchback is to support the outdoor industry and the people who comprise it.

Why Nashville?

From the start of our location search, Nashville was the clear choice. It’s centrally located and easily accessible for both retailers and brand reps in multiple regions, while at the same time offering a fun destination many people are excited to visit.

The venue (Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center) also had availability that aligned well with the industry calendar, making Nashville a combination of the right time, right place.

Who is the show for?

Switchback is for outdoor brands, retailers, media, organizations and associations. In the exhibit hall, we’ll have brands

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News ...

spanning footwear, apparel, hiking, camping, trail running, hydration, nutrition, accessories and more. Most attendees will be outdoor specialty retailers, mainly US-based, covering a range of experience levels — everyone from entry-level employees to store owners.

What are your expectations for this first year?

We’re already so excited by the interest and support of brands, retailers and partner organizations we’ve spoken with and expect the inaugural standalone Switchback to deliver on business, new connections and top-tier education. Our team and I know there will be a lot to learn from Year One, especially as we look ahead to the future of the gathering. As always, we’ll keep learning and listening to the industry as we build Switchback. At the end of the day, our mission is to create value and support the outdoor industry, and we believe we’ll successfully deliver this in Year One.

What can attendees expect to see at Switchback?

As an attendee, you’ll experience three full days of business, learning and peer networking. Expect many educational sessions to select from, fun networking events and receptions and lots of time in the exhibit hall to discover new products and meet vendors. There will be a lot going on at Switchback and we will communicate all the event happenings and logistical details in the months before the event.

We have to ask this question, as we both know it’s something the outdoor industry will be asking: Are trade shows still relevant?

It’s a good question — and the answer is yes. I strongly believe in-person connection will never lose its value. Industry gatherings spark new opportunities, foster idea sharing and build relationship. Without these gatherings, industries lose the innovation and intangibles that only happen in these face-to-face environments. Trade shows are evolving, sure, but they’re more relevant than ever.

And speaking of that, does the outdoor industry need a new B2B event? The ones that exist seem to be struggling.

It’s clear to our team and to our outdoor industry partners that there’s a need for a new B2B event — but it must be much more than that to deliver real value.

A very intentional mix of education, business and networking will make Switchback a can’tmiss, one-stop opportunity. We asked outdoor industry members what they’re looking for in a B2B event and it’s clear there currently isn’t one gathering that offers it all in one central location.

What makes Switchback different from other current shows?

Switchback is a fresh approach to B2B outdoor gatherings. One of the largest differentiators between Switchback and other industry events will be the learning opportunities available. Switchback will offer dozens of educational sessions for outdoor specialty executives, business owners, managers, buyers, associates and more. The central location in Nashville will also be conducive to networking and an intimate, community feel.

We’ll ensure we’re remaining

relevant and valuable by holding year-round conversations with industry members and actively listening to the community’s needs.

Are you concerned about the impact of the June dates on other shows in the same time frame, like regional rep shows and Grassroots Connect?

We realize June is crowded — and that’s because it’s the right time for buying conversations and sourcing product. To create the most valuable event possible for all industry members, the right timing is crucial.

Again, our goal with Switchback is to support the outdoor industry, which of course includes as many industry groups and associations as possible. As we look ahead to the future of Switchback, we want to collaborate with these organizations and ensure we’re supporting the industry as a whole.

Why did you choose dates that overlap directly with Outdoor Retailer in 2025?

As mentioned, June is a really important time for the industry. To best-serve brands and retailers, we felt it was essential to hold Switchback in June. The specific date selection, however, was a result of limited venue availability in that timeframe.

Have any brands or retailers committed to the show?

We had a great response from the brands and retailers we spoke with ahead of the announcement, with many committing to show on the spot. Once we have contracts signed we’ll be able to share more, but it is fair to say that some key brands in the outdoor space are excited to return to a national gathering once again. n

“Switchback is a fresh approach to B2B outdoor gatherings. We’ll ensure we’re remaining relevant and valuable by holding year-round conversations with industry members and actively listening to the community’s needs.”
— Christina Henderson
61 © 2024 Diversified Communications
Produced by: 2024 registration will open mid-July. SAVE THE DATE The Running Event 2024 NOV 19 – 21 / AUSTIN, TX Receive the latest TRE event news + updates: Stay in-the-know about #TRE24 by following @therunningevent on social media.

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