Running Insight 7.1.19

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JULY 1, 2019

A BETTER RIDE How – and why – ASICS created a most un-ASICS-like shoe. / By Daniel P. Smith


SICS knew it needed to be better After years of standing atop the run specialty channel, ASICS dropped from its perch as other footwear players grabbed market share throughout this decade. By its own admission, ASICS became too conservative, too content and too married to legacy shoes. The brand stalled and it needed to modernize its approach with dynamic new products and a more energized go-to-market strategy. And that’s precisely been ASICS’ focus of late, a reality underscored by the February debut of a performance running shoe unlike anything else the Japan-based enterprise has ever produced.

More than two years ago, ASICS leadership began earnestly investigating a singular question: How might ASICS make running easier for the masses? Making the MetaRide

“It’s not about breaking world records, but rather how could we help everyday runners be more efficient,” says AJ Andrassy, ASICS global director of performance running sales. Long focused on consumer research, ASICS consistently heard people say they wanted running to be easier. The question, of course, was how that might be accomplished. That task fell heavily on the shoulders of ASICS’ Institute of Sport Science (ISS) in Kobe, Japan, an innovative outfit that

RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2019 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published twice each month, is edited for owners and top executives at running specialty stores and available only via email.The opinions by authors and contributors to Running Insight are not necessarily those of the editors or publishers. Articles appearing in Running Insight may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher. Divesified Communications, 121 Free St, Portland, ME 04101; (207) 842-5500.


birthed gel and handles ASICS’ internal product testing and creation. Running with the challenge, the ISS team began conducting biomechanical analyses around efficiency’s relationship to running footwear, dove into data and research studies, tinkered with key concepts like center of mass and forefoot drops and experimented with different hand-carved midsoles before determining that the solution needed to shift the center of mass to the rear foot, which would lock the ankle and reduce shock and save energy with each stride. After two years of extensive collaboration between ISS and ASICS’ Boston-based design team, seven prototypes, third-party testing at a university lab to examine the


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ASICS’ Better Ride (continued) advanced and innovative shoe to date” is a positive one. “Somehow,” Heyerly says, “ASICS has found the perfect balance between a durable and stable fit that is also capable of running fast.” T he ea rly feedback a nd intrigue the MetaRide has generated represent undeniable positives for ASICS, a brand longing for some marketplace buzz. “We have elite athletes wearing [the MetaRide], weekend warriors embracing it and now this technology is helping a wide range of runners enjoy running, which is what we’re all about at ASICS,” Galloway says. Sparking a Resurgence? After two years of extensive collaboration between ISS and ASICS’ Boston-based design team, and over 70 samples tested more than 300 kilometers, ASICS arrived at the MetaRide.

project’s energy-efficiency chops and over 70 samples tested more than 300 kilometers, ASICS arrived at the MetaRide. A most un-ASICS-like shoe, the zero-drop MetaRide sports a rocker-shaped last and 31mmthick stack height on the men’s model (30mm on the women’s version). “Some of our other prototypes were even more out there and, frankly, they needed to be because we started from the ground up here and looked at energy efficiency in a completely different way,” says Westin Galloway, ASICS global product line manager for performance running. Company leaders, in fact, have labeled the MetaRide one of the “most important innovations” in ASICS’ 70-year history. The MetaRide’s construction and design unapologetically 4

pursues improving efficiency through three critical phases in the gait cycle – ground impact, transition to toe off and swing phase – and was precision engineered to help minimize movement in the ankle joint, the area where most energy is expended. A New ASICS Experience

“This is a completely new experience from ASICS and we’re delivering a protection and efficiency story here that works,” Andrassy says. ASICS paired the MetaRide’s distinctive shape with bold aesthetics — a nearly all-black upper atop a vibrant cherry red midsole. Since dropping at the end of February at and select run specialty accounts, the $250 MetaRide has generated plenty of interest. On the Let’s Run forum, an

oft-visited spot among hard-core runners, comments largely challenged the MetaRide’s weight and price as well as ASICS’ motivations. While Road Trail Run’s Sam Winebaum similarly questioned the weight and price and identified some midfoot and forefoot nuisances, he nevertheless called the MetaRide “spectacularly crafted” and unlike any other heavy-duty trainer he had tested. He labeled the shoe’s upper “pure class” and said the MetaRide offered a “smooth, consistent, easily repeatable gait cycle with effortless toe off from rocker.” At the Columbus Running Company, a former Running Store of the Year honoree, Jacob Heyerly compares the MetaRide to models like the Hoka Clifton and the Nike Zoom Fly and says his experience with “ASICS’ most forward-thinking, technologically

The MetaRide’s promising debut stands as an encouraging development for ASICS’ Americas business, which saw its revenues drop some 15 percent in fiscal year 2018 amid weak U.S. sales. As the first shoe in ASICS’ new energy-saving franchise, the MetaRide’s concept car-like attributes will trickle into other new models and throughout the ASICS lineup. Galloway teases additional products with the MetaRide’s “efficiency concept” baked in, including a “takedown model” set to be released in the fall, while other features of the MetaRide will cascade into some of ASICS’ legacy models. The MetaRide’s heel clutch, for example, is weaving into the well-established Kayano stability model. Andrassy says the MetaRide “shows ASICS is serious about innovation” and eager to “win in running,” the brand’s unofficial 2019 rallying cry. To t h a t p o i n t , A S I C S © 2019 Diversified Communications

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ASICS’ Better Ride (continued) VP–footwear merchandising Ian Dickinson promises innovative technology that’s going to “shake things up in [the running] industry.” Science and Art

“The market is going to see unique things from us,” Dickinson promises. “We’re going to balance sports science, art and a progressive approach to aesthetics that represents what consumers are looking for.” But ASICS leaders understand there’s much work to be done, especially given the competitive battle for space on footwear walls. Arguably the most soughtafter brand in the run specialty channel throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, some running accounts have grown

accustomed to life without ASICS, or at least a slimmeddown assortment from the brand. In an effort to modernize its approach and get more eyeballs on the brand, ASICS has shaken up its leadership and integrated new blood into its enterprise, signed elite athletes such as Emma Bates and Allie Kieffer, inked a sponsorship deal with the Los Angeles Marathon and shifted its product segmentation structure to address three areas — Core Performance Sports, Sport Style and Performance Running, still the company’s largest business with more than $1.5 billion in global sales. The hope is that the efforts re-engage ASICS fans, including the running retailers who once fueled the brand’s rise.

Prior to his departure in February after nearly four years heading ASICS Americas Group, Gene McCarthy acknowledged that ASICS had slowly lost touch with the run specialty marketplace and assured that the nation’s running stores were “uniquely important to [ASICS].” Celebrating Its 70th

Celebrating its 70th year in 2019, ASICS continues to tout a re-energized focus on serving the channel and “rekindling” latent relationships. Dickinson, a former run specialty store employee in Atlanta, says ASICS is committed to partnering with running retailers, listening to their feedback on elements such as fit and technology and “getting the right product” into run shops.

“The market is going to see unique things from us. We’re going to balance sports science, art and a progressive approach to aesthetics that represents what consumers are looking for.” IAN DICKINSON, ASICS VP– FOOTWEAR MERCHANDISING

The MetaRide, a most unASICS-like shoe, represents a notable first step in the company’s attempts to turn its fortunes. Whether it sparks the company’s marketplace resurgence is yet to be determined, but it most certainly serves a tangible reminder that ASICS understands it needs to be better. n

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Dick Pond Crosses The 50-Year Line

Iconic Chicago area retailer continues the traditions set by its founder a half century ago. / By Daniel P. Smith


ack in 1969, Dick Pond was working as a buyer for Sears, then one of the nation’s premier retail powerhouses. “Lamps and giftware,” his wife, Lindy Pond, recalls. “He hated it.” A former All-American runner at Western Michigan University and high school track coach known for striding shirtless around his suburban Chicago neighborhood in redand-white split shorts, Dick longed to do something with running — his true passion. Dick connected with Onitsuka, the forerunner to ASICS. A new company in the U.S. market, Onitsuka’s fast-and-light footwear wasn’t as readily accessible as Adidas or Puma and Dick seized upon the opportunity. He packed his 1965 Chevy Malibu with the footwear he could corral from Onitsuka and then peddled the goods from the trunk of his sedan at high schools, colleges and Chicago area races. Thus, begins the energizing tale of Dick Pond Athletics, the suburban Chicago outfit that has planted its flag as the nation’s oldest running specialty store. Celebrating its 50th year in 2019, Dick Pond Athletics remains a family-owned operation with five retail locations and an unmistakable niche as a runner’s sanctuary. The Early Years If the trunk of Dick’s Chevy Malibu served as his first “retail” location, his Glen Ellyn, IL, home on Duane Street was his second, especially as Dick Pond Athletics’ inventory expanded to include footwear from Adidas, New Balance and Nike. Dick, in fact, was one of Nike’s first clients east of the Rockies and he began trading notes with Nike cofounder Phil Knight as early as 1972. The doorbell of the Pond family home rang daily – and often – with runners looking to get their footwear fix. While Kirsten Pond, Dick’s eldest daughter with Lindy, fondly recalls a parade of athletic teenage boys visiting the home, the consistent stream of


The Dick Pond Athletics in Park Ridge, IL, is one of the company’s five running stores in suburban Chicago. Other retail locations sit in Carol Stream, St. Charles, Lisle and Hoffman Estates.

guests unnerved Lindy. “We’d have people knocking on the door at 10:00 p.m. and it was just me with three girls at the house if Dick wasn’t home,” she says. “That’s why we got a Doberman.” As Dick’s high school clientele matriculated into the collegiate ranks, a mail order business blossomed as coaches and athletes from across the Midwest and, later, the entire U.S. began calling upon Dick Pond Athletics for running footwear. Even Vermont-based author Jim Fixx, whose 1977 opus “The Complete Book of Running” is credited with helping launch the nation’s jogging revolution, found Dick Pond. On the cover of his best-selling book, Fixx wore a pair of red Onitsukas he had purchased from the running retail pioneer.

In time, the running shoe business overtook the Pond family home — and family time. The basement became a makeshift warehouse hosting rows of shoe boxes Dick and Lindy would wrap and then pile in the kitchen for a UPS driver. Dick did his buying at the kitchen table, frequently tabbing Lindy to select shoe colors. The couple’s three daughters, meanwhile, grew up sorting metal track spikes into sandwich bags, addressing envelopes, folding brochures and lacing shoes. “Even when the family was watching TV at night, we had shoes in hand,” Kirsten recalls. As the running boom took flight in the 1970s and then surged into the 1980s, so, too, did Dick’s retail operation grow.

© 2019 Diversified Communications





Dick Pond Celebrates 50 (continued)

Dick Pond was an All-American collegiate runner at Western Michigan University before turning his competitive drive on the running retail world. He founded his namesake running retail shop in 1969 and directed it until his passing in 1991.

In August 1985, Dick moved his burgeoning retail store out of the family garage – one he had initially earmarked for a boat – and into a small warehouse space along an unpretentious industrial strip in nearby Carol Stream, IL. In doing so, Dick introduced a more traditional retail store – albeit one that only operated from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weeknights and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Three years later, Dick opened an outlet in a Lisle, IL, strip mall, about a 25-minute drive from his Carol Stream unit. Being the Boss Lindy says her husband relished two things: dealing with the sport’s purists, principally athletes and coaches, and operating his own business. “Dick liked to be the boss and didn’t necessarily take direction 10

well from others,” Lindy admits. When Glen Kamps came to work for Dick in 1985, the company’s first full-time employee, Kamps jokes that he was only allowed to wipe the floor and feed the dog. “Dick had to take care of every customer,” says the white-haired Kamps, a gregarious soul who would later come to represent Dick Pond Athletics to an entire generation of Chicago area

runners — so much so that people think Kamps is Dick Pond. Though running emerged as a more mainstream recreational activity throughout the 1980s, teams and tracksters continued to drive Dick’s success. In the late 1980s, Lindy recalls Chicago Marathon race director Carey Pinkowski bringing a crew of elite Russian athletes to Dick’s Carol Stream warehouse for goods. “When Dick was with athletes and the coaches, that was his heaven,” Lindy says. Dick Pond Athletics not only carried running trainers, but also track and field specialty shoes for events like the pole vault, high jump and discus. With a mix of entrepreneurial foresight and pragmatic thinking, Dick also began stocking wrestling gear. Like running, wrestling was an individual sport with hard-tofind product. Plus, Dick already had accounts with major wrestling players such as ASICS and Adidas to streamline ordering. “More than anything, though, it was a way to get cash between the cross-country and track seasons,” Lindy acknowledges of Dick’s foray into wrestling, which remains a pillar of the Dick Pond Athletics’ business. The Turning Point In January 1991, Dick was diagnosed with leukemia, an unexpected diagnosis for a man who looked as chiseled and fit

as any of his contemporaries. He passed away the following September, one day before his 53rd birthday. “The end came fast,” Lindy says. With no life insurance and three kids in college, Lindy faced sizable debt from medical bills, including a bone marrow transplant the couple’s health insurance provider refused to cover. Working full time as a career counselor while also teaching part time at a local college, Lindy questioned her future. Opportunistic buyers, meanwhile, presented offers. “But selling the business would have been like selling Dick,” she says. “The only option was to make it work.” Along with Kamps, who assumed many of Dick’s daily roles, including working the retail store and making school visits, Lindy charted a path forward. The first step was doubling down on mail order, which, at the time of Dick’s death, represented 70 percent of the company’s revenue. Lindy and Kamps produced a four-page color catalog identifying available products and sent it to every cross-country and track coach they could find in the U.S. “Mail order was the logical step to grow the business and it really carried us forward,” Lindy says. By the late 1990s, Lindy and Kamps moved Dick Pond Athletics deeper into brick-andmortar retail, eager to capitalize on a booming running marketplace and the Chicago area’s dense, active population. The company added stores in the city’s northwest and western suburbs. “If we had a chance to meet people face to face, it just made © 2019 Diversified Communications


Dick Pond Celebrates 50 (continued) from customers about visiting the house in Glen Ellyn or buying their first pair of shoes from Dick at their high school,” Kirsten says. “That history is a wonderful part of our story.” But company leadership acknowledges it’s a different era. Mail order, once the majority of the company’s business, now represents about 20 percent of sales and Dick Pond Athletics’ retail stores face stiff sense to do it,” Kamps says.

Dick Pond Athletics opened its location in Park Ridge, IL, in 2012. At right, Dick Pond Athletics leadership today includes (left to right) Lindy Pond, Kirsten Pond, Sam Senner and Glen Kamps.

In 2005, two of Dick and Lindy’s daughters – Kirsten, an immediate care physician, and Sam Senner, a certified public accountant – left their respective careers to join the family business. They pushed for a more modern operation — more collaboration, more hands-on planning and more data analysis to drive the business. They installed a point-of-sale system in retail stores, ditching the company’s long-held reliance on pen and paper, introduced a frequent buyer program to fuel repeat business and unveiled a team rewards program to strengthen ties with local schools. “We’re trying to make decisions that keep us in the game,” Senner says. Lindy believes Dick would be shocked to learn that she retained ownership of the retail operation after his 1991 passing, but far more surprised that Kirsten and Senner re-entered the family business after crafting their own professional lives. “He’d be surprised, yes, but 12

also proud that they see the business as a part of them,” Lindy says. “I know the girls are 100 percent invested in this and that makes me feel blessed.” Charging Into the Future Today, Dick Pond Athletics leans into its history, its deep connections to the sport and celebrates its self-proclaimed heritage as America’s oldest running shop. Its stores feature team jerseys from local running programs, signage that shares company history and black-andwhite photos of Dick donning his Western Michigan singlet. In the Park Ridge, IL, store, for instance, a six-foot black-andwhite wall graphic behind the register shows a gassed Dick breaking the tape at a meet. “We regularly hear stories

competition from some three dozen running stores in metro Chicago. “Once upon a time, we were the only game in town. Now, far from it,” Kamps says. “Once upon a time, Dick could load the car with one style and outfit a team of 50 boys from his trunk. Now, that’s a pipe dream.” Those shifting realities have pushed Dick Pond Athletics to double down on outreach and community-based initiatives. In addition to sponsoring local races, hosting regular fun runs at its stores and overseeing an all-inclusive, 300-plus member racing team, the company’s Team Bucks program reinvests in local running programs while its popular Walk to Run program helps novices gain their footing in the sport. The Walk to Run

program at Dick Pond Athletics’ St. Charles, IL, store routinely has more than 100 participants each session. The company has also been involved with special needs athletes, corporate wellness programs and a local “Biggest Loser” competition. “We’ve made the conscious decision to be face-to-face, hands-on and to celebrate those trying to improve their lives through running,” Kamps says. “Fortunately for us, there’s not a shortage of people wanting to be healthy and we’re excited to help more people discover running as a way to improve their health.” Notably, the company has worked to expand its customer base beyond runners, including outfitting hospital employees in apparel and footwear. It’s a strategy Dick could’ve never envisioned during his lifetime, but one that honors his entrepreneurial spirit. “In 1969, we sold shoes to runners. In 2019, we’re selling health to everyone,” Kamps says. Those efforts have earned results and recognition. Last yea r, Dick Pond Athletics received the Ubuntu Award for Community Service at The Running Event in Austin, TX. And earlier this year, the company scored another 50 Best Running Stores nod, cementing its place as not only one of America’s running retail patriarchs, but also one of its best. “We’d all like to think the business can keep on going another 50 years,” Kamps says. “We’re blessed with such a strong history, super dedicated employees, loyal customers and people invested in keeping this alive that we hope to be running for another 50 years.” n

© 2019 Diversified Communications

New Balance Goes 3D Footwear brand launches TripleCell, a premium 3D printing platform.


ew Balance this week launched a platform, created with 3D printing technology from Formlabs, that delivere components that are closer to traditional performance cushioning than ever before. This new platform, called TripleCell, launched with the 990 Sport on June 28. The FuelCell Echo will lanch September 15. Both feature TripleCell technology, with the expected retail value of $185 and $175, respectively. In 2017, New Balance and Formlabs, a Massachusetts-based provider or 3D printing systems, entered into an exclusive relationship to develop high-performance materials, hardware and a manufacturing process for athlete footwear. Through this relationship, a new proprietary photopolymer resin was created called Rebound Resin. Rebound Resin is designed to create springy, resilient lattice structures with the durability, reliability, and longevity expected from an injection molded thermoplastic. 14

“TripleCell will deliver the industry’s pinnacle expression of data to design with seamless transitions between variable properties underfoot,” says Katherine Petrecca, New Balance GM, Innovation Design Studio. “This new, cutting edge, digitally manufactured technology is now scaling exclusively within New Balance factories in the U.S., further establishing us as a leader in 3D printing and domestic manufacturing. “Formlabs has been an integral partner to bring this to life,” she adds. “We’re really going to be able to disrupt the industry not only in performance, but also in athlete customization and speed to market.” “3D printing is changing how companies approach manufacturing, with this announcement New Balance is pioneering localized manufacturing,” says Dávid Lakatos, chief product officer at Formlabs. “By eliminating the dependence on molds and direct printing for both prototyping and production, their team shifts from months to hours in the

development and production cycles. “We’re moving towards a world where design cycles are closing in on the whim of the consumer and it’s exciting to be on the frontlines of this with New Balance.” New Balance chose the 990 Sport to launch the TripleCell platform to reimagine a classic and venerable silhouette. TripleCell technology in the heel seamlessly delivers the cushioning experience found in the classic style, but is 10 percent lighter than the 990v5 and maintains the Made in the USA designation. The New Balance Innovation Design Studio dropped TripleCell into the forefoot of the FuelCell Echo based on the growing focus of forefoot technology and the learnings taken from the recent launch of the FuelCell platform. The 990 Sport with TripleCell is Made in the USA at the New Balance Lawrence factory and the FuelCell Echo with TripleCell is assembled in the USA. n

© 2019 Diversified Communications

Good Vibes at Fleet Feet

Report from the annual Fleet Feet Conference: Numbers are up. / By Mark Sullivan


nyone looking for evidence as to the health of the run specialty business would have been thrilled to be at Fleet Feet Inc.’s annual conference, held last week in Carlsbad, CA. The energy, accolades and good vibes flowed and CEO Joey Pointer provided the numbers to back it all up. 2019 sales are projected to reach $230 million, up from $210 million in 2018 for the franchisor, which now has 186 stores in 37 states. Fleet Feet is also making major investments in growing its online business and using digital marketing to drive traffic to its stores. “The retail business has never changed this fast and it will never change this slow again,” Pointer told the assembled franchisees and vendors as he took them through Fleet Feet’s plans to become a “transformational, rather than a transactional retailer.” The two centerpieces of that plan are enhancing the in-store experience and building brand loyalty and driving store visits through digital marketing. A Fleet Feet App that was introduced in February already has 100,000 users nationwide. Much of the chain’s in-store focus centers on its Fit ID process, which includes 3-D scanning of customers’ feet. To date the chain has captured more than 1.3 million customer foot scans and used 100,000 of them to develop the fit and design new Karhu shoes, which Fleet Feet sells exclusively in


the United States. Many of those store owners in attendance rocked the green Karhu Ikoni (in photo), which they said privately was the best shoe developed by Karhu since the exclusive partnership was signed in late 2016. Pointer took great pride in pointing out that various aspects of Fit ID have been copied by Road Runner Sports, Nike, New Balance and Stride Rite, which has introduced a fitting process for children at Zoos. Fleet Feet is also determined to increase its apparel business in the coming year. The conference featured the rollout of Zelus, a line of basic apparel that will be sold only at Fleet Feet. And more than 20 stores in the Fleet Feet group are now selling Lululemon apparel through arrangements with their local Lululemon stores. The conference also featured quite a bit of conversation about Fleet Feet’s footprint in the digital landscape. While most

retailers talk about their “digital strategy,” Brent Hollowell, the chain’s CMO, takes a different viewpoint. “We don’t have a digital strategy, we have a brand strategy,” Hollowell said. Over the past year, Fleet Feet has increased its number of digital impressions to 186 million, up from 40 million the previous year. Hollowell also touted the chain’s app, which features two different ways for consumers to interact with the brand through their phone. The first is what Hollowell describes as a “spend and get” aspect whereby consumers earn $15 in store credit for every $150 they spend. The second aspect allows consumers to earn “miles” by running and participating in Fleet Feet store events such as pub runs and clinics. The “miles” are measured by interfaces with Strava and Garmin and then customers can use the miles to bid on experiences provided by

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Fleet Feet (continued) key Fleet Feet partners, such as trips to the London Marathon and the ability to travel to the Swiss Alps and build and live in a yurt. The app also allows stores to create their own local experiences and tie in with businesses in their hometowns, such as yoga studios and coffee shops. “Our goal as a brand is to be Hyperlocal with scale,” Hollowell said. The link between the stores and the digital marketplace is the brand’s website. Orders from the website are fulfilled by 103 of Fleet Feet’s stores. Average delivery time is 1.6 days, according to Hollowell, and this past year there was less than a one percent error rate. “That speaks to the pride and attention to detail our stores have.” n

Brooks nabs two vendor awards, but ‘it’s complicated’ The best line of the conference came from Brooks CEO Jim Weber, who upon receiving the “It’s a Privilege to Serve” award for Outstanding Customer Service said “It’s complicated.” Of course, Weber was referring to the massive delivery snafus Brooks encountered starting late this spring with its shift to a new distribution facility in Indiana. “It’s a move we had to make to get better and we will get better it’s just taking longer than we thought.” Brooks VP Mike Billish echoed Weber’s sentiments, saying “my commitment to everyone in this room is to get this ironed out and I’ll be on a plane to Indiana Sunday night to work on it.” The voting on the Customer Service Award and other vendor honors took place in April, just before Brooks made the move to the new facility and the delivery problems began. Speaking after Weber, Fleet Feet CMO Brent Hollowell said “Are we happy with Brooks right now? Hell no, but we believe in them as a long-term partner and are rooting for them to get back on track quickly.” Other award winners at the Conference: Operational Excellence Award: New Balance Marketing Partnership Award: Hoka One One Emerging Vendor: On Accessory Vendor: Superfeet

Footwear Vendor: Brooks First inductees into Fleet Feet Hall of Fame Chris and JD Denton, Fleet Feet Davis Jan and Pat Sweeney, Fleet Feet Sacramento


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Hemp-Derived Sarco Skin Unveiled Arcanum Sports Performance Launches First-to-Market CBD Kinesiology Tape, Sarco Skin.


rcanum Sports Performance , the hemp-derived CBD sports supplement company, has released Sarco Skin, billed as “the first-ever kinesiology tape infused with a full-spectrum hemp extract with 5mg of hemp-derived CBD per strip.” Arcanum’s first-to-market Sarco Skin product can be applied directly to support unstable as well as injured areas of the body and can alleviate symptoms of overuse and discomfort in as fast as five minutes. Sarco Skin’s patented ingredient formulation includes menthol to promote blood flow and full spectrum hemp cannabidiol extract to aid in recovery and performance. Sarco Skin offers up to eight hours of localized, transdermal relief to the affected area and can remain on skin for up to four days of adhesion time. “After listening to our customers and their needs and injury issues, we saw a huge need for a kinesiology tape infused with CBD,” says Tyler Mintz, COO of Arcanum. “Our Sarco Skin product is the first-of-its kind and will provide relief for athletes and anyone

dealing with aches and pains during any level of activity. Sarco Skin takes the proven benefits of traditional kinesiology tape to a whole new level,” he adds. According to 360 Research Reports, recent research a indicates future growth in this sports product category, with “the worldwide market for kinesiology tape expected to grow at a CAGR of roughly 8.5 percent over the next five years, reaching $290 million in 2024, from $180 million in 2019.” Arcanum’s Sarco Skin kinesiology tape lifts the skin off injured tissue while cannabinoids ease pain receptor activity, helping to lessen the aches that come after strenuous activity and promoting muscular support. While the skin is lifted, a channel for fresh blood and lymphatic fluid is created, which brings oxygen and nutrients to the affected area. The menthol works synergistically to increase blood flow and provides a cooling effect that is activated with physical activity and sweat. Sarco Skin is sold in packages of eight strips, each offering five mg of CBD and

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“After listening to our customers and their needs and injury issues, we saw a huge need for a kinesiology tape infused with CBD. Our Sarco Skin product is the first-of-its kind and will provide relief for athletes and anyone dealing with aches and pains during any level of activity. Sarco Skin takes the proven benefits of traditional kinesiology tape to a whole new level.” TYLER MINTZ, ARCANUM COO

measuring 2X10 inches. Strips can be cut to accommodate any size needed. Sarco Skin can be purchased online or through one of the company’s preferred retail partners for an MSRP of $40. Arcanum products are dedicated to fitness enthusiasts who care about what goes into their bodies. Arcanum utilizes cutting-edge technology and innovation in the field of hemp-derived CBD coupled with unique delivery mechanisms to upgrade sports performance and recovery. All Arcanum products are non-GMO, gluten-free, pesticide-free, sulfate-free and made in the U.S.A. and grown on organic farms. The company was founded and run by a family of athletes who are passionate about alternatives to traditional medicine. In conjunction with biochemists and professional athletes, each new product is rigorously tested for the highest efficacy. A portion of every Arcanum purchase goes towards PTSD Veteran Athletes, Riverdeep Foundation and the Dunafon Foundation. n

© 2019 Diversified Communications

running shorts Balega Aims to Eliminate Hot Spots with New UltraGlide Sock for Friction-Free Running


alega aims to eliminate the most common ailment among runners with its new UltraGlide sock. Many runners struggle with hot spots, a pre-blister state that can lead to the formation of a blister. The UltraGlide is specifically designed to prevent hot spots with Balega’s friction-free technology. Key UltraGlide features include: • Strategically placed, varied density cushioning pads, designed to protect the most vulnerable weight-bearing areas of the foot from blisters. • Balega’s proprietary Drynamix fibers wick moisture away from the skin, reducing the friction potential and mechanical stress in the heel and ball of the foot, keeping feet

OS1st Launches Custom Calf Sleeve

OS1st has launched a Fleet Feet branded performance calf sleeve. “In this Amazon/ Online shopping world we live in, branding becomes that much more important for our brick and mortar retail partners. Our unique 22

cool and dry. • Friction-free yarn that wraps around the first metatarsal head to the first toe joint to account for bunions or arthritic deformities. • A natom ica lly-shaped lef t /r ight

digital printing process gives us the ability to help our retailers keep their brand in front of not only their current customers but potential customers.” says OS1st president Josh Higgins. The OS1st Custom Fleet Feet calf sleeve is built with the same features and benefits as the inline OS1st CS6 Performance Calf Sleeve, including 20-30mmHg compression, Compression Zone Technology for Achilles and calf stabilization, 400 needle construction, moisture wicking microfiber yarns and a silver antimicrobial. “The other great benefits are that we can do this without changing the efficacy of our medical grade product and do it at a low cost with low minimums,” Higgins adds. The Fleet Feet branded performance compression calf sleeves are available now directly from OS1st or Fleet Feet. Yaktrax Debuts Quick Trax

Yaktrax is making it easier to safely stand up to winter with the new portable Quick Trax ice traction device, which provides an easy, low-cost and portable solution to the dangers of walking around in icy and snowy

construction with seamless toes to minimize exposure to blisters. • Heel tab to protect skin from blisters commonly caused by the friction of footwear near the Achilles tendon. The snug arch bands provide support and a compressive fit while ventilation panels offer breathability. The cushioned V-shaped band on top of the foot offers relief from shoelace pressure and the double tab liners hold the sock securely in place. Unique to all Balega products, these socks are hand inspected for quality and feature a handlinked toe closure system for a seamless, non-irritating fit. The new UltraGlide socks will be available August 1 and will retail for $16 MSRP.

conditions. Yaktrax Quick Trax will retail for $8 and will be available online and at specialty retail stores September 1. The Quick Trax features two tungsten carbide steel spikes per foot to provide traction on icy and slick surfaces and can be easily stretched over any type of footwear. One size fits most women’s size 6 to men’s size 12.

© 2019 Diversified Communications

running shorts Mizuno Unveils XPOP in Wave Sky Wave Knit 3


izuno recently debuted a floating run experience with new XPOP foam technology in its latest shoe introduction, the Wave Sky Waveknit 3. With additional enhancements to the Waveknit upper technology, the combination of XPOP and Mizuno Foam Wave provides cushioning and an added floating feel for runners. Designed for the style-conscious, highmileage runners seeking extra comfort underfoot, the Waveknit 3 packs a dualcombination of cushioning using Mizuno Foam Wave and XPOP. A Waveknit upper construction allows for a stable hold, yet flexible fit that supports natural foot movement through its dynamic sock-like fit. Constructed without reinforcements in the midfoot,

the wave vectors seen throughout t he Wave Sk y Waveknit 3 work as hold a reas, compensating for the stretch in other areas of the knit to maintain the proper support. “The Wave Sky Waveknit 3 is the showpiece for Mizuno innovation with our latest technologies, Mizuno Foam Wave and XPOP, delivering the utmost in premium performance comfort,” says Chuck Couch, Mizuno USA VP–running. “We challenged ourselves to enhance the already-comfortable Waveknit

Brooks Launches Old Glory

Transition Zone gets the runner from heel to toe quickly. The Old Glory version of the shoe takes cues from iconic USA imagery and colors with a navy star print on the right shoe and a red stripe print on the left. The Adrenaline GTS 19 features Brooks’ GuideRails holistic support as well as softer cushioning underfoot with a combination of new DNA Loft and BioMoGo DNA. The shoe delivers a modernized fit with engineered mesh and 3D Fit Print on the upper. Suede is used on the Brooks logo and collar lining. Red- and white-striped laces and stars on the tongue introduce American flag imagery. In the apparel collection, the Pacesetter Short Sleeve for men and Pacesetter Tank Top for women along with the Pacesetter Hat showcase a one-of-a-kind “Stars and Strides” graphic while the Pacesetter Crew uses blue designs and red stars to celebrate the USA. The Old Glory Launch 6 sells for $100, the Adrenaline GTS 19 for $130, the Pacesetter Short Sleeve for $34, the Pacesetter Tank Top for $34, the Pacesetter Crew Sock for $16 and the Pacesetter Hat for $76.

In celebration of the Independence Day holiday, Brooks Running this month launched its Old Glory Collection, which includes footwear and apparel designed to celebrate the Fourth of July and summer running. New designs inspired by the United States flag adorn the Launch 6, Adrenaline GTS 19 and the Pacesetter Short Sleeve, Crew Sock and Hat. The Launch 6 (in photo, women’s model) features a new engineered, one-piece mesh upper and internal bootie for a breathable and lightweight fit. The shoe’s BioMoGo DNA midsole and rebounding rubber outsole offer a springy feel underfoot while a Midfoot

technology released in 2018 by combining it with XPOP to deliver a shoe that allows natural movement, leverages both comfort and style and also provides the high-performance fit and quality expected in our footwear.” The Wave Sky Waveknit 3 retails for $160.

UA Joins Transrockies Run

Under Armour is partnering with the Transrockies Run, a three- or six-day stage race traversing the continental divide between Buena Vista and Beaver Creek in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. UA becomes the title sponsor beginning with the 2019 event, also known as “Summer Camp for Big Kids,” in August. The route covers 120 miles through the spectacular Colorado Rockies with stunning fourteener views all along the route. At the end of each stage, runners gather in camp to recover, socialize and celebrate. With a capacity of only 350 runners, the event sells out every year.

© 2019 Diversified Communications


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running results

By Brian Metzler


Impressive Depth at Grandma’s Grandma’s Marathon has long been one of the best marathons in the U.S., but this year’s race on June 21 turned into a mini version of the California International Marathon (CIM). How does that make sense? Well, just as CIM has become the go-to winter race for top American amateur runners trying to make their mark, Grandma’s was the marquee race for chasing Olympic Trials and Boston Marathon qualifiers. The race was marked by an exiciting finish that saw Boniface Kongin (2:11:56), a native of Kenya, holding on to edge out American Andrew Colley (2:12:13), who trains with Zap Fitness in Blowing Rock, N.C. In all, 26 men

ran faster than the 2:19 Olympic Trials barrier, while 45 women came in below the women’s Olympic Trials standard of 2:45:00. American Nell Rojas, of Boulder Colo., was the runaway winner in the women’s race, lowering her PR by more than 3 minutes while winning in 2:28:06 in what was just her second marathon. What’s perhaps most impressive is that 509 runners broke the 3-hour barrier and 937 ran 3:20 or faster—and the vast majority were Americans. Say what you want about U.S. running participation declining and runners slowing down, but Grandma’s Marathon proved that the pulse of the American running scene is still about runners striving to run fast like it was all the way back to when the first running boom exploded in the mid-1970s.

Adidas Boston Boost Games

It’s been four years since the last Adidas-sponsored Diamond League track meet in New York City, but Adidas has continued to make its presence felt in U.S. with the Boost Boston Games. In this year’s event on June 16, more than two dozen pro track races and a handful of elite high school events were held on the roads and a specially constructed five-lane track running along Boylston Street. While athletes with other brand sponsorships competed, it was mostly a showcase of top Adidas track athletes. Ryan Schoppe (4:09.2) and Heidi Nielson (4:46.4) won the the boys’ and girls’ high school Dream Mile races, respectively, while Ryan Martin (10.58) and Tianna Randle (11.72) won the high school Dream 100 events. In the men’s elite mile, Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski (3:57.4) outkicked hard-charging American prodigy Drew Hunter (3:57.6) and British Olympian Chris O’Hare (3:57.6). In the women’s elite mile, Nikki Hiltz (U.S.) 4:31.6 outran Violah Lagat (Kenya) 4:32.6 and Dominique Scott (4:32.8).

Goucher Humbled in Trail Debut in Leadville Much was made about Kara Goucher’s decision to enter the world of trail running. She had talked about it for years and the day last winter she announced she had entered the Leadville Trail Marathon, there was a story on and plenty of hype from her new footwear sponsor, Altra Running. All along the two-time Olympic runner took a humble approach, knowing she had plenty to learn about how to train and race on the trails. To her credit, she trained as hard as she could on the often-snowy trails of Boulder last winter and showed up in Leadville on June 22 in good shape. But in the race, she went out hard – too hard she later admitted and paid the price over the final third of the race. She wound up 6th overall in 3:54, but was well behind the women’s winner, Tara Richardson’s 3:22. Goucher vomited several times and thought about dropping out but persevered to the reach the finish.

© 2019 Diversified Communications

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