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THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM

MARCH 16, 2020 SEPTEMBER 1, 2021

TRAIL MIX Already a major product category for run specialty retail, trail running is looking to get even more wild in 2022.

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HAPPY TRAILS

Trail Running 2021

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t has been well-documented that U.S. consumers have been investing in outdoor products and experiences to navigate a more socially distanced lifestyle due to the pandemic. This behavior is not a flash in the pan and it is something from which run specialty retailers can benefit.

When we compare retail sales performance during the first six months of 2021 to a more normal 2019, we see that consumers have extended their interest in investing in outdoor gear beyond a momentary escape from lockdown, to a potentially powerful “new normal” where the active consumer

RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2021 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published monthly, is edited for owners and top executives at running specialty stores and available only via email.The opinions by authors and contributors to Running Insight are not necessarily those of the editors or publishers. Articles appearing in Running Insight may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher. Divesified Communications, 121 Free St, Portland, ME 04101; (207) 842-5500.

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is moving outdoors. The comparison to 2019 is an important caveat because, obviously, the first six months of 2020 were anything but normal. Stores were forced to operate in limited ways or were temporarily closed during stretches of time between March and June

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Cover photo and photo this page: Saucony

How trail running is capturing a new audience eager to try new experiences. / By Dirk Sorenson, NPD Group


NPD: Happy Trails (continued) Trail running shoes sold in sporting goods and specialty stores as well as the specialty e-commerce channel grew a combined 28 percent in the first half of 2021. 2020. By comparing today’s sales to 2019, the depression of sales due to lower store traffic is removed as a factor, and sales increases due to changes in consumer demand are revealed.

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captured higher growth rates. Understanding if sales are coming from a new consumer is a critical step towards nurturing trail running’s growth and predicting if this trend has legs beyond 2021. Through analyzing consumer receipts, NPD’s Checkout data is a valuable tool to understand who the trail running buyers are now and who they were prior to the pandemic. Checkout reveals some striking changes to the trail running consumer of 2019 compared to 2021. Two demographic changes stand out when looking at trail running shoes purchased in the first six months of 2019 versus 2021: • Sales have grown dramatically among the non-white population, with 31 percent of trail running shoes purchased by non-whites in the first half of 2021, up from 25 percent in 2019.

• While the most prominent age group purchasing trail running shoes remains those above 55 years old, this group now represents 41 percent of buyers, up five percentage points from 2019. An Older, More Diverse Customer By comparison, these shifts are not as dramatic for consumers of performance running and point to a major growth opportunity. Effectively, trail running opens opportunities to engage an older and more diverse population for the running industry. The running industry should ref lect on why those aged 55-plus may be purchasing these shoe designs. Versatility, use for walking and a desire to escape onto trails that may be less travelled and potentially safer environments are all viable factors spurring purchases. Using these themes for marketing

Sources: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, January-June 2019 vs. 2021 The NPD Group/ Checkout, January-June 2019 vs. 2021 © 2021 Diversified Communications

Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash

Desire for the Outdoors The heightened desire for outdoor activity is giving a boost to many outdoor-related categories, especially running, and the small yet growing segment of trail running is among the top beneficiaries. Based on point-of-sale data from The NPD Group, trail running shoes sold in sporting goods and specialty stores as well as the specialty e-commerce channel grew a combined 28 percent in the first half of 2021 compared to the same months in 2019. Within the U.S. athletic shoe market, this level of growth is among the highest NPD tracks. For comparison, road running shoe sales grew 18 percent during this time, a remarkable growth rate, but one that is only 64 percent of trail running’s growth. Across the top 10 footwear categories, only basketball inspired shoes (+64 percent), golf shoes (+39 percent) and spor t slides (+28 percent)

and merchandising campaigns may further increase sales to the 55-plus crowd. In addition, the running industry should deeply evaluate the appeal of trail running designs to a diverse community of purchasers. Diversity and inclusion are a keystone focus for many companies and to find that trail running shoes may be inviting new populations into running and outdoor activity is a powerful insight that should be leveraged. Underscoring all of this is the correlated growth being seen across outdoor products, pointing to a future where active Americans continue habits formed during the pandemic — namely to get outside often and embrace health and fitness activities. This may also suggest that the runner purchasing into the trail running category today is more concerned with the mental and physical benefits of running in nature and is now less focused on personal records. Having a new segment of consumer less engaged in competition opens opportunities to message differently and grow the overall consumer base for performance running. All of these changes present new opportunities to speak to new audiences with a refreshed motivation to play more outdoors. That trail running was an area of growth for the industry pre-pandemic and is now inviting new consumer groups to purchase points to a healthy future for trail running. n


Trail Running 2021

SELLING TRAIL

Retailers share their strategies for selling trail running — even when it isn’t necessarily top of mind. / By Daniel P. Smith

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t the conclusion of their operation’s marathon training program in Spring 2018, Fleet Feet Madison, WI, owners Matt and Jessica Anderson thought they’d take a shot and continue the ongoing routine of group runs,

albeit with a twist. Optimistic that trail running could become a greater part of the local vernacular in and around Wisconsin’s capital city, the Andersons plotted a trio of trail runs designed to introduce people to local off-road venues. Then, they spread the

word, hopeful they might get a few takers. To the Andersons’ surprise, 50 people attended the first trail run Fleet Feet Madison hosted at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in June 2018. “Completely unexpected,” says Matt

Trail use has soared of late across the U.S., including soaring gains in states like New Jersey, Illinois and Kansas that are rarely considered trail running hotspots.

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Selling Trail (continued) to popular mobile app AllTrails, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Wisconsin, Delaware, Kansas, Minnesota and Iowa – none of which sit top of mind among America’s premier trail destinations – all saw trail activity climb over 200 percent from pre-pandemic figures to recent times. (Turn to page 46 for the complete AllTrails list.) The mushrooming numbers of people hitting the trails across the U.S. presents a compelling business opportunity for run shops to deepen their ties with local runners, expand their audience and propel revenue through sales of less ubiquitous product. To capitalize on this opportunity, though, run shops must take intentional steps to promote participation and champion the trails — especially so in markets in which trail running isn’t embedded in the local athletic DNA. So, how might run shops tap into rising interest in the trails? Here are six good ideas:

In Wisconsin’s capital city, Fleet Feet Madison has intentionally placed a brighter spotlight on trail running through formal programs such as its Dairyland Dirtbags trail running program.

Anderson, who owns a second Fleet Feet shop in the Madison suburb of Sun Prairie. “It showed the interest was there for trail running, which was something we could build off.” O ve r r e c ent ye a r s, t h e Andersons have added a formal 10-week trail running program – the aptly named Dairyland Dirtbags – to their company’s arsenal while also shining a brighter light on trail running products in their run shops and actively promoting trail running as a dynamic alternative to the roads. 8

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“Trail running’s a growth area for us and something we believe can be even bigger,” Anderson says. Trail Running Surges at Retail Earlier this year, International Trail Running Association president Bob Crowley wrote in UltraRunning magazine that trail running has recorded 12 percent year-over-year gains globally for over a decade now while becoming younger and more diverse in the process. “There are no signs of that trend abating,” Crowley wrote. “In fact, the pandemic has only

accelerated interest in the great outdoors and trail running stands as one of several segments to benefit.” For many, the trails offer a healthy escape into nature and a welcome opportunity to detach from an increasingly digital world. For others, trail running is a more forgiving alternative to the roads and a way to spice up training. Whatever the driving reason, trail use is growing across the U.S. ­— and not just in trail running hotbeds such as Boulder, Moab or Flagstaff. According

1. OFFER A SIMPLE, NON-THREATENING INVITATION. Trail running can be a daunting adventure, which is why many run shops have developed entry-level programs designed to introduce athletes to the trails in small doses. This helps counter the idea that trail running is only for the ultrarunners. Ohio-based Second Sole has hosted numerous group runs to draw locals into the splendid, though oft-overlooked trail running environment in northeast Ohio. The short, social runs get people familiar with basics, like where to park, where to start, the courses and general safety. “The first step is making sure local runners know the trails © 2021 Diversified Communications


Selling Trail (continued)

One reason for trail running’s surge: it breaks up the monotony of the roads with different terrain and a sense of adventure. It’s something many run shops champion when discussing their trail running programs.

that are available,” Second Sole general manager Dylan Dombi says. In Pasadena, CA, Run With Us regularly hosts meetups at local trailheads. The shop’s Sunday Trail Runs feature three distinct groups for experienced and novice participants alike to embrace the trails: one group hits 10-plus miles, another runs six-to-eight miles and a third group hikes. Even along Colorado’s Front Range, the Berkeley Park Running Company doesn’t assume every runner is prepared to tackle the trails. On Aug. 16, for example, the fouryear-old run shop held a “Learn to Mountain Jog” event at North Table Mountain Park. The comparatively modest 4.3-mile jaunt included an invitation to post-run beverages at New Terrain Brewing Company. 2. DEVELOP FORMAL TRAIL RUNNING PROGRAMS. On Aug. 9, Fleet Feet Madison launched the latest installment of its Dairyland Dirtbags trail run training group. Capped at 30 people, the group meets once each 10

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week at different local trails through Oct. 10. Group coaches share tips on how to run the trails and also spotlight valuable gear. While the program typically culminates in a trail race, this fall’s session will conclude with a camping event and trail run. In Alabama, meanwhile, Fleet Feet Huntsville hosts three different trail running programs, including the soon-to-start, eightweek Rock Runners program that prepares participants to tackle the seven-mile Oak Park Challenge on Halloween morning. In the $100 program, athletes get advice and support from experienced coaches, a weekly group training run and clinics on topics such as trail safety, proper nutrition, choosing the right gear and avoiding injury. 3. TIE THE TRAILS TO SOMETHING BIGGER. The trails naturally spark deeper connections with the environment and, often, with oneself, something run shops have highlighted in different ways. Some stores, for instance, host plogging events that blend

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Selling Trail (continued) running or walking with trail cleanup; others have tied sales of trail product, whether footwear or store-branded merchandise, to conservation or environmental causes. This Sept. 5, Two Rivers Treads in West Virginia has planned a “Take It to the Trails” event that includes a full day dedicated to promoting the benefits of being outside. The schedule includes a women’sonly trail run with Trail Sisters and a “Leave No Trace” workshop as well as a presentation on the healing power of nature. 4. GO FAR OUT. N o r t h e r n C a l i f o r n i a’s Healdsburg Running Company has combined a passion for running, food, drink and travel into its trail running camps, which pair captivating trail runs with intimate food and beverage experiences in California wine country. “As the world goes online, what will you go online with? I believe it can’t just be product, but special experiences that make you something unique and different,” Healdsburg Running owner Skip Brand says. On the weekend of Sept. 11, Run With Us will host its Trail Camp, which will include runs at the Angeles National Forest, camping at the Chilao Campground and battle-tested advice for completing an ultrarunning event. Another California running store, Fleet Feet Aptos, held a Trail Shark Adventures program that provided runners round-trip transportation to a supported trail run and gourmet meal. 5. INVEST IN THE TRAIL CATEGORY. For running retailers, it’s 12

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Run specialty shops like Second Sole in Ohio have invested in trail running footwear and actively promote their items on social media — one of the most effective ways to reach the diverse trail running crowd.

tough to promote trail running and reap the benefits of doing so without offering the product that makes trail running a more enjoyable and safe experience. When Dink and Suzanne Taylor op ened F leet Fe et Huntsville 18 years ago, Dink, an avid trail runner, made the conscious decision to carry trail product even though trail running was, at best, a niche local activity at the time. “We were betting it’d grow, and it certainly did,” Dink Taylor says. Today, customers travel to Fleet Feet Huntsville from upwards of 100 miles away to try and test the latest and greatest trail-running models. The store stocks more than 20 trail shoes from brands such as The North Face, Saucony, Brooks and New Balance as well as other trailoriented gear such as hydration

packs, belts and bottles as well as apparel. I n a dd it ion, F le et Fe et Huntsville sponsors key events from Running Lane, a local timing company that specializes in trail races. The sponsorships often include in-store packet pickups that expose participants to Fleet Feet Huntsville’s diverse array of trail products. “And there’s no doubt we get sales from that,” Taylor says. 6. PUT TRAIL RUNNING FRONT AND CENTER. At d i f ferent t i mes over recent years, Second Sole has devoted a table at the front of its stores to trail-oriented gear, including footwear, gaiters, hydration packs and nutrition. Some Second Sole stores also have an entire area dedicated to local trail maps that bring attention to area venues. When the Andersons

expanded their flagship Fleet Feet Madison store in 2017, they created a defined trail shoe wall backed by an outdoorsy graphic. Previously, Matt Anderson says, trail shoes would often be relegated to the bottom of the shoe wall. “Once we knew we were going to have more room, we found a way to highlight our trail footwear,” he says. “It piques curiosity and leads to conversation.” Trail shoe demo runs or GoreTex sample kits that show the technology’s waterproof qualities can also bring interactive attention to trail product, if not gear that can work well on the road during sloppy, cold or wet days as well. “You have to make it a call out,” Second Sole’s Dombi says. “It’s one important way to generate interest and get people talking.” n © 2021 Diversified Communications


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Trail Running 2021

Safety on the Trail Running stores can help equip and train trail runners with what they need to be safe. / By Allison Torres Burtka

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rail and ultrarunners often run long distances alone, sometimes in the dark. Certain safety precautions are a must depending on the circumstances, such as headlamps and reflective vests, or knowing what to do in the event of a wildlife encounter if they run in bear or cougar country. But what about the unthinkable — getting attacked by another person? It is this safety concern that leads many trail runners, particularly women, to carry personal safety tools, such as pepper spray and safety alarms that emit loud noises. Some also take self-defense workshops, whether they’re geared toward runners or the general public. This is where run specialty retailers can

be a part of the effort. With their expertise in product and their reach into the trail running community, these stores are in an ideal position to provide access to both the gear and the training that might help a runner avoid or fend off an attack. A Concern for Women Anyone running alone rightfully may have concerns about being attacked, but these concerns may be heightened among women, especially women of color. In fact, among members of the American Trail Running Association it is women of color who have most often raised specific safety concerns, reports Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the association. Take, for example, the fact that indigenous

women face disproportionately high rates of violence and murder and that the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis hits close to home for many. That inspired Verna Volker, a Navajo trail runner, to create the online community, Native Women Running. Because Volker often runs alone in the dark and has been followed before, she takes precautions — before she leaves she takes a picture of what she’s wearing and sends it to her husband and she tells him where she’s going and what time she should be back. Then, if the unthinkable happens and she doesn’t come home he will know where she was and what clothes and shoes she had on. She also carries self-defense tools. Volker has organized events to raise

Roar Training conducted a well-received self-defense workshop at the New Balance store in Boston earlier this year.

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Safety on the Trail (continued) awareness of the MMIW crisis and to raise money to fight it. “Due to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis, I felt like everybody was talking about awareness and no one was talking about preventive measures,” she says. So she started encouraging other Native Women Running members to take preventive measures. She partnered with the company, Go Guarded, which makes self-defense products such as a safety alarm and a self-defense ring knife, to offer a discount for members. Volker also partnered with Roar Training, which has provided two virtual self-defense workshops for Native Women Running members. Roar Training has already conducted Train Your Roar workshops at women’s running retreats, camps and running stores around the country, both in person and virtually, particularly during the pandemic. “What we train, first and foremost, is to be aware. Second is to avoid danger and that you can only do that if you’re using all your senses,” explains Rebecca Tolkoff, co-founder of Roar Training. “Three is to employ your voice and then the last possible thing would be to fight.” And make no mistake about it, they teach when it’s appropriate to fight. The workshops have been well received, Tolkoff says. “My favorite part is when you see someone realize that they have power within themselves. People aren’t socialized to have that,” especially women over 40, she says. The Train Your Roar sessions teach skills along with mindset, including reminding people to trust their gut and to be aware, 16

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Tolkoff says. “I think, in the age of cell phones and distraction and all these noise-cancelling headphones, we have lost that.” The Retail ‘Roar’ Running stores can help connect trail runners with safety training, but it’s important “to make sure you’re inclusive and welcoming,” Hobbs emphasizes. For example, women might be more comfortable asking questions in a women-only group. New Balance’s global flagship store in Boston hosted a Train Your Roar workshop as one of the weekly fitness events it hosted in early 2020. These events were “aimed at partnering with local community leaders with whom we worked to bring free fitness and fitness education events to our neighborhood in Brighton,” says store manager Ben Khouri. “Running parallel to our evening yoga classes and Sunday group 5Ks, the Train Your Roar seminar felt like a great way to round out our programming.” The workshop focused on women runners. “Everyone deserves to feel safe while running,” Khouri stresses. And even better, the workshop actually drew some new faces to the store. “Many of the customers we hosted were first-time shoppers in our location — many were new to the brand,” Khouri says. “Customers are looking for brands that are larger than product assortment and create a social or cultural value for the community. People are happy to support a store that supports the running community.” Training for Trail Safety Other training on how to use safety gear such as pepper spray

Verna Volker is a Navajo trail runner and the founder of the online community Native Women Running, which makes trail safety a priority among its members.

and self-defense knives might also be helpful. “Gear can range from many different items, but if you don’t know how to use it, or you are unaware of your surroundings and unprepared to defend yourself, that is a bigger problem,” Hobbs says. Tolkoff echoes that sentiment. “What we teach is, if you choose to run with a product or some sort of safety tool, be trained in how to use that tool and make sure it’s accessible. If you’re carrying some pepper spray in your water pack, it’s not going to help you,” she says. Also, “if you carry some sort of a weapon, are you prepared to hurt someone? Are you prepared for what that’s going to feel like?” Volker points out that training on how to properly use GPS watches so that someone else can track your whereabouts is also helpful. Many trail runners may own watches and phones

with such safety features, but not know how to use them. Building a Safe Community Although the purpose of training sessions is the training itself, an additional benefit is creating community, Tolkoff says. “When we teach a group, the group becomes cohesive. They’re going through something together. Whether they came with people they knew or they didn’t, they remember the other ones in their class,” she says. “I think that’s part of the running community — it’s making those connections.” Running stores a re certainly well positioned to create and build this kind of safe community. “Host myriad events that speak to different demographics. Make them accessible, welcoming and fun,” Khouri says. “At its best, a running store is a support system for those looking to achieve health and happiness.” n © 2021 Diversified Communications


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Trail Running 2021

All Things Trail Running Insight goes for a run with AllTrails’ Meaghan Praznik to find out how and why trail running is so hot.

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he growth of trail running in America has been well documented and no organization is more on top of the trend than AllTrails, the fitness and travel mobile app used in outdoor recreational activities. So Running Insight went to AllTrails’ head of communications Meaghan Praznik for an inside look at just how the activity has grown, who is fueling this growth and where it goes from here. Running Insight: From everything we have heard and read trail running and hiking has exploded in popularity during the pandemic. What is your view personally and professionally of that? Meaghan Praznik: This is true. The industry certainly has exploded during the pandemic. And it makes sense — people are not only looking for ways to safely stay physically healthy, but are also looking for ways to support their mental health during what has been an incredibly trying 18 months. So why have they turned to the trails? The trails and the outdoors are one of the few places we can achieve both mental and physical health in a safe manner, all while maintaining social distance. AllTrails is seeing over three times the amount of usual trail traffic across the globe as more and more people look to the outdoors. So has the outdoor business and run specialty taken advantage of this? The outdoor industry is certainly experiencing a reawakening. Yet I think we all would agree that for as inclusive as the outdoor industry is, there are many barriers to entry and, unfortunately, many gatekeepers. Ironically, the pandemic’s limitations have forced many new entrants outside, which is great. Yet, we also can’t ignore that 18

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A competitive Ironman athlete, AllTrails’ Meaghan Praznik certainly feels at home on the trails.

increased trail traffic and lack of education have also led to overrun trails, excess litter and overwhelmed land managers. How can the industry help resolve this? It is important that thought leaders, agencies and brands work to help increase access for all and educate new entrants on how we can be good stewards of the land. There is an important balance we need to strike here — the more people we can get excited about the outdoors, the more people we can get excited about conservation.

Do you have any anecdotal examples of this growth? As a trail runner myself, I’ve seen the growth with my own two eyes. While the trails I run are busier, they also aren’t packed like some of the most famous trails in the country. In perusing AllTrails social media and inbound user emails, communication is certainly up and we see more people talking about using our app to help find new places to go, the need to get outside for mental health and how the outdoors has been a mainstay during turbulent times.

© 2021 Diversified Communications


Any personal tales from the trail? Several months ago, after nearly two years of not seeing my parents, they were able to fly out for a visit. I took them to Muir Woods National Monument so we could hike among the Redwoods. Muir Woods is usually busy, but this exceeded any previous visit. Multiple parking lots were filled with cars and massive camper vans — clearly of people who decided to check off bucket list outdoor experiences by car instead of plane. Visitors were lined up at the gate to get in and the park was more crowded. Can you share some of the data and research AllTrails has done in the past year that documents this growth? Last year we did a study with RunRepeat on the state of hiking because of the pandemic. The results are interesting. (For excerpts of that AllTrails research, turn to One More Thing on page 46.) How has AllTrails positioned itself and its services to benefit from and promote this growth? First and foremost, we’ve certainly had to grow our team. We’ve more than doubled in size to keep up, even building out entirely new teams to help support the demand. How does that benefit the hiker and trail runner? One of the things that makes AllTrails unique is that we take a two-pronged approach to our content. While our content – trails, reviews, photos – is user-generated, we also realize that accuracy is key when it comes to staying safe in the outdoors. Because of this, we 19

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have an entire team dedicated to verifying the accuracy of our UGC. This level of handcuration is also just one of the ways we are working to help break down some of the barriers to entry to the outdoors and answer the tried and true questions — Where do I get started? Where do I go to find trails near me? We’ve had to significantly grow this team in order to keep users safe and help people find more ways to get outdoors. Anything else new this year at AllTrails? We’re also working on several new features that will help get people even more excited about hitting the trail. More to come on that. We recently revamped our in-app navigation tool (Navigator) to create a more seamless and intuitive experience so people can hit the trail with confidence and never stress about missing a turn or losing their way when exploring new routes. What unique trends have you seen in regard to trail running and hiking? The growth rate of people hitting the trail isn’t just skyrocketing on the weekend, as is typical for trail activities. People are actually hitting the trail at an even higher YOY rate during the week. Why do you think this everydayof-the-week trend is happening? Trail running is no longer just an activity people plan for the weekends. It’s become a tried and true means to help maintain mental and physical health on a daily basis in the midst of an unprecedented year. It’s become clear that with more

people working from home, trail enthusiasts are able to trade in their work commutes for morning, lunch and evening hikes and trail runs. Is this becoming a year-round trend? AllTrails has typically been a seasonal company that follows the sun, with our busiest time of year being the late spring-early fall. This was completely flipped in its head last year, as winter trail activities skyrocketed in popularity. November, 2020 was one of our highest performing months to date, with the majority of our activity coming out of the Rocky Mountains during a cold and snowy winter. Is there any indication that people who were “regular” runners have taken to the trails more during this pandemic period? It’s hard to look at our data and make this specific assumption with certainty, but given the increase in activity one would have to guess that many of these new users have converted from road to trail. As a road and trail runner myself, I personally watched many road runners switch to trail during a year when many races were canceled and training plans were put on hold. People wanted to try something new, something that wouldn’t be as hard on the body and, again, find a cathartic outlet. What can run specialty retailers do to benefit from the trail running experience? AllTrails was founded to help democratize access to the outdoors and to help give people peace of mind before heading out. One of the things we hear

all the time is, “I want to go outside. I know it’s good for me. But I just don’t know where to get started.” The same thing probably occurs at a store when someone is buying trail shoes and gear. Yes, this happens at retailers, too. Customers purchase new trail running gear, but then don’t know where to go to put it to use. With AllTrails, runners can find the trail that’s perfectly suited for them, their ability and their new gear so they feel confident, have a good experience and keep coming back to the outdoors. Gear is a very essential part of the planning process when hitting the trail, but gear coupled with a tool that helps you find the right route for your ability is gold. Are retailers taking advantage of the opportunity? Some, but there is always room for improvement. AllTrails is available for free and is a great way to search for and explore new trails. We love partnering with retailers to help develop the entire customer experience. Have you personally hit the trails more often in the past 18 months or so? Absolutely. As a competitive Ironman athlete with a nonexistent season last year, my coach and I switched it up to try something different, work on my weaknesses, build up my base and keep injuries at bay. Racing is back in some capacities this year and trail running still remains a core part of training because of all of the muscular endurance and aerobic benefits it provides in a more low-impact format. n © 2021 Diversified Communications


Trail Running 2021

Sisters for Life Trail Sisters partners with Life Time to grow female participation in trail running.

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fter entering into a partnership earlier this year with Trail Sisters aimed at increasing female participation in trail running, Life Time is putting its money where its heart is by providing five women with grants that will help them get out and be their best on the trail. The unique partnership with Trail Sisters, the women’s trail running community whose aim is to increase participation and opportunity in trail running through inspiration, education and empowerment, kicked off in July at the Leadville Race Series Silver Rush 50 weekend, the 50-mile run event that Trail Sisters found Gina Lucrezi has won twice, in 2014 and 2017. The partnership brings the two organizations together to create educational content and resources on topics such as awareness, gear and conservation through digital experiences and at in-person events with local Trail Sisters run groups. Together, the organizations tap into Trail Sisters’ 35,000-plus network of women runners across the country to foster community, connection and empower women to feel comfortable hitting the trails. The most visible part of the partnership so far has been the awarding of five Trail Sisters Coaching Grants presented by Life Time to support

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“What I’ve learned over my five years running Trail Sisters is that if someone is educated on a topic and really understands it, then they feel empowered and have the ability to help other people out.” Gina Lucrezi, Founder, Trail Sisters

women looking to get into the sport. Recipients of the grant will receive training throughout the year from Life Time run coaches. This grant ties together both Trail Sisters’ and Life Time’s mission of growing the sport and providing opportunity for everyone. As part of the grants, Life Time is providing five women with 10 weeks of coaching by the official Leadville Race Series coaching partner, Boundless Coaching and a free entry to the 2021 Austin Rattler Run distances on November 6. “What I’ve learned over my five years running Trail

RUNNING FOR THEIR OWN LIVES

Life Time and Trail Sisters recently awarded five Coaching Grants that provide training throughout the year from Life Time run coaches and a race entry into one of Life Time’s fall running events. The awardees are: • Yuen C., New York, NY “I would like to have someone to bounce off what I should or shouldn’t be doing, to hold me accountable and push me further than I would do myself. I would like to see if I could improve my time as I age.” • Sarah E., Colorado Springs, CO “I would hope to gain the wisdom to be a stronger runner. I know that there is more to running than just running, to be good at it. I need coaching on how to be a strong

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Sisters is that if someone is educated on a topic and really understands it, then they feel empowered and have the ability to help other people out,” says Lucrezi. “There’s a lot you can do if you’re an empowered person — it makes you feel confident and like you can take on anything. Giving people free access to help them grow their skill set and feel strong mentally, physically and emotionally can really set someone on their path to do anything in life. “Our goal is to generate more educational content for the trail running community to enjoy and learn from, while also

runner, one that is smart about their training. I believe personalized coaching would provide me confidence both on and off trails.” • Robyn F., Philadelphia, PA “I hope to be able to take my running up a notch. I usually pick a random run plan from the internet, but to have live coaching that is personal to me and my goals would be amazing. I hope to continue to be a better runner.” • Mari B., Portland, ME “I have been a runner for a long time, but always deflect with ‘I’m not competitive, I

empowering them to participate and embrace opportunities,” Lucrezi adds. Next up, Life Time will serve as the presenting sponsor of Trail Sisters’ first-ever run event, the Women’s Trail Half Marathon in Buena Vista, CO, on Sept. 11. Billed as “the nation’s only Healthy Way of Life brand,” Life Time delivers an athletic resort experience and provides a healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment experience that goes beyond fitness to encompass the entire spectrum of daily life. For more information: www. lifetime.life. n

don’t like to race, I just run to finish” and have never really dared to bet on myself and see what I could do. I’m not getting any younger and I just think if I had the right guidance, I might be able to get around my self-doubt.” • Rebecca A., White Oak, PA “I hope to refocus my trail running and find the love of attaining a goal for myself through coaching. I am a great cheerleader for everyone but myself. Coaching would be something for me to focus on, strive for each week, challenge myself and find the joy of being proud of myself again.”

© 2021 Diversified Communications


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Trail Running 2021

Igniting inov-8

Wayne Edy is back and eager to grow inov-8’s presence in the U.S. trail running market. / By Daniel P. Smith

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t’s a new day at inov-8, one of the globe’s premier outdoor footwear brands and one eager to make deeper inroads into the increasingly competitive U.S. trail running marketplace. After leaving day-to-day operations of inov-8 in 2012, ceding control first to private equity and then to Japan-based Descente, Wayne Edy has returned to lead the company he founded in 2003 and bootstrapped to international acclaim. With Edy back at the helm, the U.K.-based brand has captured quite a few headlines of late. The Terraultra G 270 claimed trail running shoe of the year awards from the likes of Runner’s World UK, Women’s Running and Road Trail Run in 2020, while the Trailfly Ultra G 300 Max, the world’s first shoe featuring a graphene-enhanced midsole and two other patent-pending technologies, earned Trail Running magazine’s Innovation of the Year award. Fueled by Nobel Prize-winning scientific efforts at the nearby University of Manchester, graphene has become a particularly notable piece of inov-8’s innovation story. Though among the thinnest materials known to man, graphene is nevertheless 200 times stronger than steel. In an alternative to the carbon fiberinfused super shoes capturing the market’s attention, the graphene-rich G-Fly foam present in the Trailfly Ultra delivers 25 percent greater energy return and retains its optimum levels of underfoot rebound and comfort over greater distances. A graphene-infused outsole on models like the Terraultra G 270 and Trailfly Ultra, meanwhile, provides intense strength and grip on trails. Edy recently sat with Running Insight senior writer Daniel P. Smith to discuss his return to inov-8 and his plans for the brand. 24

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What brought you back to inov-8? It’s a brand I founded and I, of course, want the best for it. When I was the 100 percent shareholder, I could influence it and make all the key decisions with myself and my team. As soon as I sold some of the shareholding, though, I was no longer in position to do that. The brand’s got a fantastic team, really good positioning in the marketplace and I just thought under my guidance and ownership again, it would have that best chance longer term to really scale to its full potential. How important is trail running to inov-8 and its future? Our main focus is off road. If we look at the road category, it’s just very competitive with

major brands in there. We have specifically targeted ultrarunning as a new category that we really want to get some traction on … and we feel we’re well positioned to take a leap in that category. How does inov-8 execute on that trail running focus? We’ve got great DNA within the product and one of the most important bits of technology is that we’re the only company in the world making graphene outsoles and midsoles for running shoes. Rubber has been around for over 100 years and there have been incremental improvements over the years, but we’ve managed to achieve 50 percent improvement in grip over standard rubbers, 50 percent improvement in durability and in

© 2021 Diversified Communications


excess of 50 percent additional stretch by blending rubber with graphene in a very particular way. We’re the first company to be able to achieve this and we’re one of the first companies to really commercialize graphene in a consumable product. That’s going to be one of the key cornerstones of our uniqueness going forward and a story we want to share. And there’s a sustainability element to graphene as well, right? Absolutely. We get performance enhancements with graphene and that’s so important for us — the grip and the interaction between the athlete and the terrain they run on whilst not inhibiting one’s natural biomechanics. But there’s also a sustainability position, which has been important to us from the earliest days of the brand. Rather than focusing on shoe recycling, we’re putting our effort into longevity. Can you explain that a bit more? If we can get a shoe to last twice as long with a highquality, innovative outsole and midsole, then we reduce the impact a product can have on the environment because it’s lasted twice the life. So, it’s about delivering performance and longevity, giving that runner the best experience, the best grip, the best comfort, the best breathability and a product that lasts as long as possible. How important are run specialty retailers to inov-8’s goals? In the lifecycle of the brand, we lost some momentum on specialist retail and I’m keen to get that back. We see specialist 25

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run as critical to our goals and we want to grow our specialist retailer distribution, particularly in North America. Consumers want to be able to go and try on product and get good advice, and you can get the best of this through specialist retail. What’s the sales pitch for run retailers? As a brand that’s not over distributed and one that’s got a unique story – one that isn’t just about marketing, but is actually backed up by products and independent reviews – we feel we’re attractive to specialist retailers, and we want to work with them. And if you look at how the marketplace is changing, specialists tend to be looking for brands that are more exclusive and have a good story, so I think we’re ideally placed for that market. While inov-8 enjoys a strong, loyal following in the U.K. and elsewhere in the world, it has struggled to gain traction in the U.S. What do you think has hindered the brand’s growth in the U.S. and how do you plan on attacking that? It’s about spreading the word. The more people that try our product will realize what a great experience it is and they’ll spread the word. We’ve already developed the product and, of course, we have ongoing developments. Now, it’s getting the team out there to speak to the retailers. A lot of specialist retailers are now contacting us again because they’ve read up and seen the good reviews we’ve been getting. We’ve got a lot of key athletes wearing our product. We’re getting more media exposure. We’re working our way up the ranks.

Wayne Edy founded inov-8 in 2003 and bootstrapped the company to some early success. After leaving the brand’s day-to-day operations in 2012, he returned last year and looks to propel its continued development.

What has you most excited about where inov-8 is headed? It’s building on the technology we have, growing the team and the brand to its full potential. I believe inov-8 can very easily be a $200 million turnover business because once people try our product, they tell 10 other people and we get that loyal following. Where does the sustainability story come in? The sustainability piece is important, even more important to our type of consumer than a lot of others because ours spend their time out in the wild and the countryside. They want to be associated with brands that

honor the environment and we feel that we have close alignment with our end users on that. What can run shops expect from inov-8 moving forward? I can say we’re building. We already offer the most comprehensive range of outsoles for the different types of terrain. Then, we offer a combination of different midsoles and fits. So, we have the most important components in place and we’ll build out from that using the best technology that’s available. There’s going to be innovation coming in from all different areas — at least two big innovations each year across the categories. n © 2021 Diversified Communications


Trail Running 2021 The Education of ...

Tony Post

From runner to entrepreneur, the Topo founder knows what it takes for life on the trail. / By Daniel P. Smith

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fter a competitive running career and executive experiences with Rockport and Vibram, Tony Post struck out on his own back in 2012 and launched Topo Athletic. In the nine years since, Topo – a name drawn from Post’s college nickname – has steadily made deeper inroads into the run specialty marketplace and earned a loyal following among runners with its distinctive performance running footwear for the road and trail. In building up his Massachusetts-based brand, Post has leaned on a rich array of personal and professional experiences, 26

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including some hard-earned lessons. The Topo founder sat with Running Insight senior writer Daniel P. Smith to detail his journey to establish and evolve his ascendant footwear brand. Chapter 1: A runner is made Though Post enjoyed an active and athletic childhood growing up in Colorado, he did not get into running until his freshman year at Tulsa University at the suggestion of a classmate. He was immediately hooked by a sport that made him feel “light and fluid.” Armed with a rudimentary training program, Post won both the mile and two-mile

races at a school intramural meet during his sophomore year. Encouraged by the feat, he also felt himself at a life crossroads. Having never been east of Oklahoma and eager to experience more of the world, he took a year off of school. The first six months, he saved money from working two jobs. The next six months, he drove around the U.S. in an old MG. He camped. He read. He explored. He ran. “It was an important time in my life that helped shape me,” Post says. He returned to Tulsa in the fall more focused. He won the mile at a regional AAU race, a victory that caught the eye of the Tulsa track coach. “I know you won, but I don’t think you’re much of a miler,” Post recalls the coach telling him, “but I’ll bet you could run a good 5K.” Post joined the team as a walk-on and later earned a partial scholarship to run cross-country and track for the Division I school, where he specialized in the distance events and notched a more-than-respectable 3:49 in the 1500-meter run. Chapter 2: Practical knowledge After earning his degree in rhetoric and American literature from Tulsa in 1981, Post ventured to Boston to see how far he could take both his running career and a relationship with a girl. While he would marry the girl – 38 years and counting – he had more difficulty finding bliss as a runner. Training with faster and more experienced athletes, Post pushed too hard, too fast. Over 13 workouts each week, his weekly mileage soared over 100. The aggressive increase in

© 2021 Diversified Communications


Topo has found success with road models such as the Phantom 2 (left) and especially on the trials with innovative releases such as the MTN Racer 2.

both distance and intensity left him tired and regularly battling hip, foot and leg injuries. “Looking back, almost all of these injuries were related to over training,” Post says, though he admits the common practice of wearing shoes that were too small, especially for racing and speed training, “definitely didn’t help.” As a junior skier and high school golfer, Post actively monitored his equipment’s role in training and performance. For instance, he studied the design and materials of skis and boots, seeking insights on how distinct elements might impact speed, control or feel. As a runner, that curiosity remained. “It was important to me to understand how shoes could help improve the experience — not just for racing faster, but allowing you to train harder,” he says. Chapter 3: The calling In 1984, Post, anxious to learn more about how shoes were made, landed a customer service job at Rockport, then an enterprising 13-year-old company aiming to bring athletic shoe sensibilities to the brown shoe world. A year in, Post moved into brand marketing and, later, became Rockport’s first product 27

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manager for men’s shoes. Post traveled to shoe factories around the globe. He visited with last makers, bottom makers and mold makers. He picked the brains of material suppliers, designers and engineers. He studied things like last shaping and skiving materials for better assembly. He learned how different types of shoe construction suited a particular model or idea and discovered how slight alterations in manufacturing operations like heel lasting or heat setting could impact fit and feel. “Back then, brown shoes used much less foam than athletic shoes, so you had to be more precise in design, engineering and fitting,” Post recalls. “It’s a different mindset from folks who came up through the athletic shoe side, where more foam or painted leather seemed to be the answer to everything.” Post relished his spot in an iconoclastic organization that looked to tear down the brown shoe category’s status quo by making casual shoes driven by function, comfort and lightweight materials. That reality shined when Post ran the 1992 London Ma rathon in 2:49 wearing a pair of Rockport

DresSports that incorporated ingredients of running shoe technology. “Even though our shoes were often considered unattractive or even ugly, they were comfortable, light and innovative for their time,” Post recalls. “We didn’t try to appeal to everyone, but for those people who got the concept, we provided them with something they really loved.” That business philosophy – being okay not being all things to all people – stuck with Post. “Focus on a particular customer and find ways to deliver a Topo founder Tony Post embraces competition in sport and in business.

better experience to those people so they can become passionate about your brand,” he says. Chapter 4: Entrepreneurship A f t e r a 15 -ye a r r u n at Rockport, Post was named president and CEO of Vibram USA in 2001. As a supplier of rubber outsoles, Vibram worked alongside footwear companies of diverse sizes, strategies and approaches and Post soaked in their varied perspectives. He also savored the Italian brand’s long-term approach and its unrelenting focus on craftsmanship, quality, performance and longevity. In 2005, Post helped lead Vibram’s foray into the running market with FiveFingers, an attention-grabbing, barefoot-like design that challenged conventional construction with its thin, flexible outsole and individual toe slots. It was radical and groundbreaking, mysterious and controversial, but boldly demonstrated that running shoes could break wildly from traditional formulas. “We helped pave the way for new ideas like Altra and Hoka and others,” Post asserts. Still, Vibram’s FiveFingers wasn’t his running shoe — and © 2021 Diversified Communications


Tony Post (continued) Post hungered to create footwear that hit on the performance characteristics he considered most vital: a low heel-to-toe drop that encouraged a more natural mid-foot strike, a roomy toe box combined with a secure waist and heel and top-shelf components that delivered comfort, performance and durability. “I wanted the shoe to feel light and like a natural extension of the body,” he says. “I didn’t want any gimmick for marketing’s sake, only technology that improved the experience.” Chapter 5: ‘Topo’ Does Topo In 2012, Post left Vibram and launched Topo, imagining a differentiated performance running brand that could break through in a challenging, competitive marketplace. Though some assumed Topo would be a minimalist shoe company given Post’s leading role in bringing Vibram FiveFingers to market, Post himself appreciates cushioning. “I knew there was a market for natural running shoes with some level of cushioning and protection,” he says. “That’s where we saw the opportunity for Topo.” Even before developi ng Topo’s first prototypes, Post set the company’s values around fit, comfort and low heel-to-toe drop (settling on 5mm, 3mm and some zero-drop options) to propel natural movement. “Shoes won’t fix you,” Post says. “I wanted to make shoes that help you become stronger and stay active your whole life.” Post and his earliest associates worked on the brand’s first last shape for months. They pined over details such as toe box size, heel fit, weight and materials. The initial last – an undeniably 28

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In less than a decade, Tony Post has grown Topo Athletic from an idea into a credible and accelerating performance running brand.

unconventional concoction – featured a curved featheredge, a more rounded calcaneus and less rake in the toe shape. Topo introduced its first three models in 2013, all of them split-toe (or tabi fit) shoes that isolated the big toe, a key stabilizer in running, walking and hiking. While Post was all in on the split-toe design, a concept long utilized in Japanese footwear and employed by Nike and others on various occasions, consumers were not as enthusiastic. Though Topo’s earliest footwear earned high marks for its lightweight cushioning and natural, low-drop feel, the split toe failed to gain traction. Post quickly – and painfully – realized his error and acknowledged that Topo would need a more

conventional toe shape to survive. “Consumers just weren’t ready for it, and I should have known better than to put all our eggs in one basket,” Post admits. Topo sold off its inventory and retooled. “There were many days back then that I wasn’t sure we could survive such a big miscalculation on my part,” Post says. Chapter 6: Always evolving Somehow, Post says, Topo retained many of its earliest dealers and the company endured. It listened to customers. It continued learning, experimenting and tweaking its footwear. Post encouraged the cross pollination of ideas and opinions to forge a stronger company and, even more, better product.

Over recent years, Topo has found success and acclaim with road models such as the Ultrafly and Magnifly as well as trail models like the Ultraventure and MT. It has unveiled compelling updates with models such as the MTN Racer 2 – “The best trail shoe we’ve ever made,” Post boasts – and the Phantom 2, a recent release that delivers more cushioning than any other Topo shoe to date. The company also features a compelling slate of recovery and hiking footwear as well led by the Rekovr and Trailventure, respectively. “Just like runners, the goal each season is to get better,” Post says. “In every part of our business, we ask ourselves, ‘What did we learn from the last season? The last year? How can we grow from that knowledge to make ourselves and the company better?’” In fact, when asked about his favorite shoe or the most important model in the Topo lineup, Post always shares the same reply: “The next one.” That, after all, will showcase Topo’s company-wide commitment to continuous reflection, growth and improvement. “I’m always focused on ‘the next one,’ but I am also proud of the shoes we make today,” Post says. And, much as he learned at Rockport, Post is not interested in trying to be everything to everybody. Rather, he stands focused on pushing Topo to excel and lead the natural footwear niche. Others, he says, can be the lightest, the most cushioned or the most aesthetically daring. “The goal is to make every Topo work for that consumer we have in mind,” he says. n © 2021 Diversified Communications


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Have questions about attending or exhibiting? Contact Christina Henderson, Executive Director, at chenderson@divcom.com. Produced by:

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On the Trail

TRAIL TECH

Running Insight editors pick some of their favorite trail shoes from 2021 and 2022.

to dels on o m l b i l car lt tra -bui raditiona s, e s o ole urp th t rst p ound wi treaded s fi e h f t like not e of s on d agility, out parts i X D SL:P ability an ce worn terials. a and t l la d e ing s and rep pan of m pe d S i v e o s, th d pr the shoe tter lifes shoe ance an g r be tle n i rm nn man ieces fo o u f s r i r e d d roa nd p ble p ty to nd in ally flexi the abili e parts a u o f only X with est of th amic L:PD re comm l for dyn esigned er S d o d st th ria an m a o l e l s t t r d l a e u a e ill o Spe arbon fib x DFX m :PDX is ich w e L c t h i S h w b t r e i , W Ca ert , th x ins tably duce intro lates. No e Carbite p th fiber e-using r e whil

he res t u t a e f lso shoe bed. It a g n i foot r. runn Max sole and its uppe 0 0 3 d s i s G m es. ro Ultra ) on its ion – ac challeng y c fl n l d 0m eg Bla Trai (481 e Alps r vents an ont f its n o i M a t n e h 8 n o editi mou g from T distance Inov $190 ited famous : m P pin i l R thon st nc map MS a o l y m B b mara a t ’s d r n t e e l o r p A M of Euro nspi ing u s – i ers tackl e ht n g i i l e h our unn cont or trail r has f gned Desi 30

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da g an -Tex n GTX i n 0 o 5 re i cush res a Go oof Ultra a r t t fi x u t e a 5 pr Dyn 59.9 oe with X fea al water ith 1 T $ G : P sh 50 tion dw MSR running Ultra an addi ombine e h ole l t i r c , outs A tra table fit brane fo volume a c mo m for shoe ippy Po stem. com le Fit me m u r g m i a ib x ” sy cing Invis . The ma ole and a L er ble ids barri ioned m e “Invisi h h t s a cu with ines b m co

© 2021 Diversified Communications


La Sportiva Bushido II GTX MSRP: $169 An expansion of the brand’s Bushido, the trail shoe offers the addition of Gore-Tex to make it a waterproof/breathable model for colder weather or sloppy running conditions. Slip-on construction wraps the foot like a sock without compressing or exerting pressure points, while the outsole lug design wraps the midsole to provide traction. Frixion XT V-Groove2 dual-compound rubber provides grip on wet or dry terrain and the padded tongue is ergonomic, breathable and stays in place with its gusseted construction.

Merrell Agility Peak 4 MSRP: $130 This cushioned, grippy trail runner offers protection on the most rugged trails, updated with a slightly thicker midsole made of the lighter weight FloatPro foam and a new Vibram Megagrip outsole for grip on rock. Other features: Jacquard upper; integrated lacing system for a glove-like fit; gaiter D-Ring; protective toe cap; external rear sling locks in the heel; rock plate for protection; and FLEXconnect dual-directional flex-grooves in the midsole for enhanced ground connection.

Saucony Endorphin Trail MSRP: $160 The Endorphin Trail takes Saucony’s race-ready Speedroll technology off-road for the first time, delivering a propulsive running experience in a lightweight yet maximally cushioned shoe. It also features a lofty bed of PWRRUN PB cushioning, wrapped in a net mesh for added durability, along with a quick-fit trail sleeve that give added protection from dirt and debris.

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© 2021 Diversified Communications


Scarpa Golden Gate Kima RT MSRP: $179 Scarpa’s most technical running shoe, the Golden Gate Kima RT combines a mid-foot stabilizing system with a carbon-fiber midsole plate that provides rock protection, torsional stability and thrust response. Above the carbon plate, Scarpa uses medium density EVA cushioning for support, while underneath the plate, low density EVA allows for cushioning and adaptation to changing running surfaces. A 22/16 stack height strikes the right balance between cushioning and precision.

Salomon Ultra Glide MSRP: $140 The Ultra Glide is made for allday comfort with as grip, fit and lightweight comfort. Offset is 6mm; Weight: (m) 9.1 oz (w) 7.7oz.

Oxygen Actives O2 Explorer MSRP: $129.99 Touching all running bases, the O2 Explorer is a multi-use running shoe built for road to trail. A durable Vibram antislip outsole pairs with the company’s proprietary Oxygen Impact Dual Cushioning System, where tiny air chambers naturally expand as the foot lands. To return the downward energy these air chambers recoil and release the energy. It even has a cool hidden Security Shoe Pocket that stores money, credit card or a key.

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© 2021 Diversified Communications


VJ Shoes Ultra MSRP: $170 VJ’s first cushioned shoe constructed for the trail, the Ultra is made for distance, with comfort provided by a wider toe box on top of the cushion. A blend of an EVA midsole and VJ Grip featuring 100 percent butyl rubber, the Ultra also features a new, breathable upper with improved durability with the custom mix of Kevlar and nylon fibers.

Tecnica Magma Mid S GTX MSRP: $190 New for Spring/Summer ’22, the Magma Mid S GTX is a versatile, lightweight midcut hiker, designed for hikers and runners who prefer a quick pace on the trail but also require steady grip for technical rocky scrambles. It is as stable, grippy and durable as a sturdy hiking boot, but its materials and construction make it fast and versatile like a trail runner. The anatomically shaped last more closely matches the shape of the foot, delivering a precise fit out of the box that can be even more dialed in with the integrated lacing system. Norda 001 Designed for runners by runners, Norda’s flagship product, norda001, utilizes bio-based Dyneema fiber to enhance performance and sustainability in a lightweight construction. The upper is seamlessly constructed with Dyneema fabric, which benefits from the intrinsic properties of Dyneema, billed as the world’s strongest fiber — it is engineered at the molecular level to provide high strength, low weight, waterproof and breathable properties.

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© 2021 Diversified Communications


SOCKS APPEAL

Sock sales skyrocketed during the pandemic as retailers found ways to sell more of this high-margin product. / By Carly Russo

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hen most people look for a silver lining in the impact of the COVID19 pandemic, very few will think about socks. But as strange and counter-intuitive as it may seem, run specialty retailers know that statemandated safety protocols that could have significantly hurt business actually presented a new sales opportunity. Simply put, they sold a lot more socks. That’s because keeping customers safe has been a priority once in-store shopping returned and, being the creative retailers they are, stores found creative ways to boost sales while maintaining customer safety protocols — which generated more product exposure and big sock sales. “Early on in the pandemic, when we weren’t sure about how the virus was being spread, we required customers to change into new, clean socks when they came in to try on shoes,” says Tiffany Piotrowicz, owner of TerraLoco, Rochester, MN. “As a result, our sock sales grew immensely.” And even thought TerraLoco has since stopped requiring sock try-ons, “because we have so many try-on socks for people, we are still seeing high sock sales,” she says. A similar approach has been taken in many run specialty stores to ensure customer safety during the fit process, which as a result continues to lead to higher sock sales. “At the beginning we required a purchase of a sock to try on shoes as Connecticut had a no-tr y-on, no-dressing room policy,” explains Megan Searfoss, owner 34

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of Ridgefield Running Company, Ridgefield, CT. Her solution was to partner with a key vendor that allowed the store to discount the sock 50 percent to get customers into it. “After restrictions were lifted we continued the requirement, but added the opportunity to let the customer use a try-on sock from us,” Searfoss adds. The upside: “Most take the sock at 50 percent off and end up buying more, if not at that moment then later.” Getting the sock on the customer’s foot is certainly the key to success in sock sales. Using socks as a safety measure in trying on shoes has completely changed the game in how retailers are introducing them to runners. “Socks are so, so easy to sell when customers try them on,” says Piotrowicz. TerraLoco does a BOGO deal with most of its socks, which means that people are

typically buying four or more pairs at a time. “As soon as a customer puts on a try-on sock and they say, ‘Oooh, these are so nice,’ we steer them towards the sock wall and tell them about our specials.” These sock promotions are a common practice for retailers looking to provide the opportunity to purchase multiple pairs, especially for high-tech socks that typically come with a heavier price tag. “There are occasional people who balk at the price, but with our everyday promotion of ‘buy three get one free’ most people will give them a try,” says Jane Alred, owner of 1st Place Sports, with five stores in northeast Florida. High-tech might mean high price, but they offer benefits to runners’ feet and optimize comfort with features such as moisture wicking fabrics, odor control and blister-resistant technologies. The best way to get runners to see past the price tag is to simply explain the advantages of high-tech versus low-tech. “We talk to them about the importance of a tech sock and typically after they try it, they understand,” says Searfoss. A corresponding sales method is taken by a Virginia-based run retailer who believes comparing the importance of shoes and socks together compels runners to want to learn more about the design and quality of high-tech options. “Materials are moisture wicking, help prevent blisters, lifetime guarantee, comfort and look, etc., are all used in our sales pitch depending on the customer,” reports Ray Pugsley, owner of Potomac River Running

© 2021 Diversified Communications


with nine stores in Virginia. “We often say, ‘If you are going to put in the time and effort to get a great pair of shoes, you should also give as much consideration towards the right socks.’” Education is Key Not only is it important to educate customers about the unique qualities and design of high-tech socks, but it’s also vital to implement the try-on strategy during the sales process in order to get runners to truly feel the difference. “Having try-on samples is the no brainer,” says Kristen Manske, manager of Varsity Sports, Baton Rouge, LA, who gives her sock suppliers a lot of credit for providing samples to give to the customers during the pandemic. “Then they are hooked,” she adds. Alred agrees that getting sample socks on feet is the best strategy in getting runners to understand the benefits of hightech socks. “Asking runners what type of sock they prefer – cushioned, lightweight, tab, quarters – and giving them one to try on with the shoes helps them understand the difference in tech socks,” she says. While COVID-19 certainly disrupted many apparel categories as people worked from home and demand dropped, socks managed to maintain their importance to runners and run retailers alike. The pandemic produced the ideal opportunity for people to pick up a new hobby or sport and running benefitted — as did the socks all of these new runners needed. “We are seeing a whole new 35

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demographic of customers. Most of these are new runners, walkers and just everyday people looking for comfortable shoes and it has opened the door for the sock conversation,” reports Manske. And as socks became more of an upsell for run retailers, they have earned a more prominent place within the store to capitalize on this demand. As a result, retailers are strategizing placement to make sure runners are getting the best sock to pair with that new pair of running shoes. “The sock wall is usually merchandised near the shoe wall, but we make sure it gets its own special look,” says Pugsley, who organizes socks by brand and then by style and color within each brand section, just like the nearby shoe wall. Like Pugsley, Manske says that product placement is necessary in bringing attention to socks. “We have an entire sock wall,” she says. “Well, we actually have multiple walls — a section for thick, thin, therapeutic and multi-packs. Our store is small and the socks are all around the store, but mostly close to the shoes.” Socks on Display Bringing the attention towards shoes is a great way to catch runners’ eyes when it comes to socks, but sometimes the socks alone are enough to make for a captivating display, which can get the conversation going. “It is something new to talk with customers about — something small that is often overlooked but can play a huge part in overall fit and comfort,” Pugsley says. “Plus, certain

For the latest and greatest in socks for run specialty, turn to page 36. styles and colors can add a fun and eye-catching element to the store.” Though socks are a good conversation starter when getting to know a runner’s comfort and style needs, retailers report that they love showing runners socks because they are a great add-on sale as well. “It’s a nice margin enhancer, and opportunity to up the UPT,” says Searfoss. However, some sock brands have gained enough popularity to avoid becoming just an add-on sale. With some prominent brands taking the forefront, runners may gravitate towards retailers who carry well-known brands. “We sell Smartwool, Balega, Injinji and Feetures,” says Piotrowicz. “We will occasionally have some of the major brand socks such as Saucony or Brooks. Injinji is my personal favorite. Balega is a great option for those that don’t like the tighter fit of many of the Feetures Elite socks. Smartwool sells better in the winter, but we move them pretty much year round.” These brands offer options that cater to runners’ specific needs, which makes it easier when they come into the store and already know which brands will suit what they’re looking for. “Feetures, Balega, Swiftwick and Smartwool are our four main brands — we also carry

our own branded socks from Sky Outfitters, CEP socks, and On socks at smaller levels,” reports Pugsley, who points out that each of these brands are great quality while also offering something slightly different so customers have a variety of fit and feel. Maintaining a varied selection with different fits and feels is important, but sometimes when brands offer too many selections it can hurt retailers. “My message to all brands, including sock makers, is to not make them in so many colors,” says Piotrowicz, who maintains that it is difficult to keep even basic colors in stock. “So when someone goes online and sees that their favorite sock comes in a fun stripe, for example, which we don’t have, we lose the sale to online. “It’s extremely frustrating, especially now when so many things a re backordered or delayed but can be found on the brands’ own website.” Losing sales to online sites has been common for brickand-mortar stores during the pandemic and in order to keep customers walking into their door retailers feel that the brands need to amp up the appeal and work together with their run retailer partnerships. “Partner with your run specialty accounts to get the sock story out better so customers come into our stores already wanting them,” says Pugsley. “We do a great job in-store sharing why technical running socks are great, but in the age of digital marketing, online and social media, how can that story get out more broadly to create even bigger excitement, awareness and demand?” n © 2021 Diversified Communications


SOCKS 2021

BALEGA Balega Support Socks are for runners looking for support without having to wear a compression sock. The extra support bands surrounding the ankle and arch are constructed to create a non-restrictive, cradling fit that enhances comfort. The sock features oval cushion ankle protection pads that prevent ankle clipping and silicone grip pads that stop any foot movement. MSRP: $18 Advice for retailers from Paul Perrone, Global VP, Business Development. “Have a well-articulated fit process your whole team follows. Ideally, that process introduces the sock as a key element to finding the proper shoe. If the sock is presented as an afterthought once the shoe has been determined, the customer is much less likely to purchase.”

CEP

The Run Compression Sock 4.0 features new directional air channels in the foot, mesh structure in the calf and ventilation zones in the toe for maximum moisture management and comfort. MSRP: $59.95 Advice for retailers from Jared Finney, Director of Sales. “Don’t hesitate to bring up compression socks and sleeves during every shoe fitting. The benefits of compression are universal and can be applied to someone trying to complete their first 5K, an aspiring marathoner or a professional that spends hours a day on their feet. Most customers do not know compression can help them recover faster, fend off injury or reduce pain from prolonged sitting or standing.”

DARN TOUGH • Women’s Checkpoint Micro Crew Ultra-Lightweight Running Sock. This micro crew (top photo) is a shorter, more concise take on the traditional crew height — it peeks just above the top of a standard hiking boot. Featuring a fit that doesn’t slip, bunch or cause blisters, this sock is fast drying and odor resistant and is made from a breathable Merino wool. MSRP: $20 • Men’s Tempo Micro Crew Ultra-Lightweight Sock. The targeted cushioning of the new Tempo men’s running sock balances lightweight performance with micro crew coverage. Knit with climatecontrolling Merino wool, it features a redesigned flex and arch support. Moisture-wicking and odorresistant, the micro crew doesn’t slip, bunch or cause blisters. MSRP: $20 Advice for retailers from Jake Largess, Brand Manager. “Educate consumers on the thermoregulating benefits of Merino wool, plus the importance of a comfortable sock that has the durability for runs and fits right. Socks are just as important as running shoes.”

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SOCKS 2021

DRYMAX The Hot Weather Hawks Special Edition was created in conjunction with elite ultra runner and JFK 50 Mile winner Hayden Hawks. The sock combines Drymax fibers with actual ePTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) fibers to limit heat caused by friction. PTFE has the lowest coefficient of friction of any fiber, making it optimal for keeping friction low between the skin and sock. MSRP: $26 Advice for retailers from Martin Hernandez, Specialty Sales Manager. “Sell something unique. Break away from technologies available at big-box stores and major retailers. Stop being so fashion conscious and find technology that actually fulfills your customers’ needs and fixes their issues. They will reward you by coming back time after time.”

FALKE RU Trail stabilizes the ankle by a knitted bandage, which minimizes the risk of twisting. The quick-drying functional material keeps feet dry and the medium cushioning ensures sufficient padding while maintaining protection against blisters through reduction of pressure points and fiber mix. MSRP: $22.95 Advice for retailers from Kevin Hirsch, Director of Sales. “Feeling is believing. The way we make and fit our products is different from everyone else. Placing the socks on feet makes all the difference.”

LE BENT • In collaboration with Australian ultra-trail warrior Lucy Bartholomew, Le Bent used its Definitive Fit System to help develop the high performance, low profile Ultra Light ¾ Crew sock. The sock has been constructed to provide maximum breathability, comfort and a stayin-place construction. MSRP: $24 • Ultra-light meets ultra-low profile in the Run Ultra Light Micro (in photo), which is constructed off the company’s Definitive Fit System to offer a precise fit coupled with the Merino blend that provides moisture wicking, breathability, odor control and itch-free comfort. MSRP: $18 Advice for retailers from Evan Blake, Marketing Manager. “Pairing socks with shoes is a tried and tested method for ensuring people are provided the option to purchase a quality sock to complement the purchase of a performance shoe. Whether it’s pairing a performance shoe with an ultralight sock or a light cushion sock for extra impact protection, spending the extra time to add incremental support for the user will inherently add incremental growth to the footwear category.” 37

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SOCKS 2021

OS1ST • WP4+ Wide Wellness Performance Sock. Offered in noshow and crew, the extra wide wellness sock (top photo) provides wide feet with a custom fit and feel. Features moisture-wicking, soft bamboo charcoal, cushion for impact arch support and seamless for extra blister protection. MSRP: $13.99-$15.99 • AC4 Active Comfort Sock. Built with bamboo charcoal cushion and Skin Thin technology for run comfort, along with double tab, seamless, silver-ions for odor, custom woven for moisture wicking. MSRP: $13.99 Advice for retailers from Stephanie Lee, Marketing Manager. “Make socks a part of the fitting experience by training employees to not only pair customers with the right shoe, but also the right sock. That’s the reason behind our Socks with Purpose — each sock has a clear benefit for your consumer so you can not only meet their needs with a great shoe, but also the sock that you pair with it.”

SMARTWOOL Performance Run Cold Weather Mid Crew Socks are a Merino blend and have mesh zones designed to keep feet warm during winter runs. With a run-specific profile and Smartwool’s 4 Degree elite fit system, with two elastics for greater stretch and fast recovery, these socks stay in place at every turn and up every hill. MSRP: $21.95 Advice for retailers from Corey Stecker, Head of Global Sales. “Every new pair of shoes sold should be sold with a fresh pair of socks. Forget the try-on bin. Grab a fresh pair off the wall for the customer to get fitted. Guaranteed happy feet.”

SOCKGUY Channel Air socks feature four channels of air mesh and five channels of padded cushioning for a combination of support, moisture control and comfort. This ultra-plush line of socks also has an arch support to help reduce fatigue for runners. MSRP: $10.95 – $12.95 Advice for retailers from Michael Foley, President. “We’re noticing that customers are looking for something fun and different to put on their feet. White and black socks can be boring, so look for some color, pattern and fun to increase sales and inspire impulse buys.”

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SOCKS 2021

SWIFTWICK Flight XT features AnkleLock technology that supports ankles during repetitive movements and uses GripDry fibers that grip to shoes to minimize slipping. The medium cushion and compression provide comfort during high-impact movement. MSRP: $19.99 Launching in Spring ‘22, the Flight XT Trail features the same support runners get from Flight XT, plus the addition of Merino wool, which moves moisture away from feet. Advice for retailers from Jason Barlow, Account Representative. “Talk about what language your associates are using with their customers and when they bring socks up in the fitting process. Socks should be introduced very early in the conversation and the simple question, ‘Have you ever used (insert product here)?’ is an easy but powerful question to introduce most any category of products in your store.”

WRIGHTSOCK • Winter Run Anti Blister Sock. The 2022 Winter Run Anti Blister (top photo) sock blends the warmth and breathability of wool and the comfort and fit of synthetic. With an outer layer made from up cycled wool (RWool) and an inner layer made from Repreve. MSRP: $16 • Coolmesh II. 2022 Coolmesh II updated using Repreve post-consumer recycled fibers — two bottles worth of plastic waste are transformed into anti-blister socks. Available in tab, low quarter, quarter and crew lengths. MSRP: $16 Advice for retailers from Russ Coillot, Director of Sales and Marketing. “To sell more socks we suggest adopting the 300 percent rule — 100 percent presentation to 100 percent of the customers 100 percent of the time. And presentation can mean just taking a pair off the wall for each customer to experience along with shoes. Making sure to put a new sock on the foot of a customer will dramatically increase your overall add-on sales — nothing feels better than a new sock in a new shoe.”

ZENSAH The Calming Sleep Sock is the cozy, ultra-soft sock designed to help runners fall asleep faster and get a better, more restful sleep. Made with Merino wool, they are thermoregulating to keep runners cool when it’s hot and warmer when it’s cooler. Yarns such as Merino, Tencel and nylon create a breathable blend, ideal for extending sleep time and enhancing sleep quality. MSRP: $20 Advice for retailers from Ze’ev Feig, Founder and CEO. “It’s all about starting with a quality product. If you know this product is the best in the game, the next step is explaining that to the customer.”

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© 2021 Diversified Communications


Get Ahead at #TRE21!

New workshops and expanded conference will give retailers and race directors the knowledge they need to advance in 2022.

This November 30 – December 2, the running industry will come together in Austin, TX, for the 15th annual The Running Event. With more opportunities for learning, networking, and business than ever, #TRE21 is gearing up to be the can’t-miss event in run specialty retail. What’s new and noteworthy for 2021? Interactive pre-conference workshops—free for conference pass holders—will offer forwardlooking training on recruitment, marketing, and merchandising from industry experts.

WORKSHOP DETAILS • Reset, Reframe & Refocus to Retain and Recruit a High Performing Team: Piper Abodeely, MA, PCC, Pivotal Transitions Coaching and Consulting. This hands-on workshop invites leaders to identify what they need to do at a cultural level to create competitive and innovative strategies to recruit and retain the best talent. Participants will walk away with a renewed vision, compelling plan and proven strategies to navigate the future of business. • Building Your Marketing Strategy for More Customers, More Often: Melissa Meyers, Upper Quadrant. This interactive session focuses on email, paid social media, web experience, influencers and customer journey and will explain the “why” behind digital marketing and share updated insights on ROI tracking and metrics. Participants will gain actionable items to implement in 2022! • Put Your Best Retail Foot Forward in 2022 — A Store Reset and New Merchandising Ideas: Holly Wiese, Retail Scientist, 3 Dots Design. This workshop will start with a broad overview of foundational merchandising best practices and retail layout concepts and then take a deep dive into new ideas for implementation. Participants will gain new perspectives, ideas and tools with which to make an immediate impact on their visual merchandising and store presentation.

Pre-conference workshops will give #TRE21 conference attendees the relevant, applicable tools to improve and grow their business. Make sure to secure your spot: although it is free for pass holders, pre-registration is required!

Learn more here: https://www.therunningevent.com/workshops/

Early Bird pricing ends September 20! Visit therunningevent.com to lock in your preferred access at a discounted rate and join us in Austin! 40

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UNLOCK YOUR CUSTOMERS PERFORMANCE SECRETS! Powered by our EXCLUSIVE AI RUN ALGORITHM, Digitsole Pro is your in store and mobile digital partner to objectively measure running biomechanics in real world settings. • Run and walk analysis • Remotely monitor running with our Digitsole smart insole • Discover rich biomechanical data to guide discussions for best footwear and Plantar Fasciitis, Hallux Valgus and Achilles injuries.

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running shorts Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Partners with Heineken WANT A BEER AFTER YOUR RUN? Then the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series is for you with a new partnership with Heineken that makes the beer brand the Official Non-Alcoholic Beer Partner. Wait? “Non-alcoholic?” Yes, the new partnership will feature the Heineken 0.0 Beer Garden at the Finish Line Festival of Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series events through 2022. Runners and spectators at every tour stop will have the opportunity to sample Heineken 0.0, an alcohol-free malt beverage, as they rest and recover at the finish line. The pa r tnership will also feature Heineken 0.0 as the new title partner of

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the 2021 Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series events in Virginia Beach and San Diego taking place on September 4-5, and October 23-24, respectively. “With a history of supporting sports leagues around the world, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series is the perfect way for Heineken to continue to support athletes at every level,” says Pattie Falch, marketing director, partnerships and consumer experiences. “Since the debut of Heineken 0.0, runners have been able to enjoy a refreshing, alcohol-free option on race day and beyond and we can’t wait to offer a celebratory cheers to all the runners once they cross the finish line.”

© 2021 Diversified Communications


running shorts New Balance Partners With The Renewal Workshop NEW BALANCE HAS PARTNERED with The Renewal Workshop (TRW) to launch what it is calling New Balance Renewed, a program aimed at extending the life of imperfect or returned items, helping to keep them out of landfills. In addition, the program offers a way to shop renewed product that is guaranteed to meet quality standards. T he Renewal Workshop, based in Cascade L ocks, OR, helps outdoor and apparel companies reuse and resell clothing. Th rough TRW’s six-stage, zero-waste process, garments are sorted, graded, cleaned, repaired to like-new standards, inspected and verified to joint quality standards, then given a TRW certification. Each item’s impact is measured to illustrate consumers’ tangible difference by purchasing a

On Going Public

With the st a r p owe r of Ro g e r Federer, a stable of established and up-and-coming world-class runners and athletes and some of the best and most popular running shoes on the market, On has taken a step many anticipated for many months and recently filed for an initial public offering in the U.S. According to its prospectus filing with the New York Stock Exchange, sales in the first six months of 2021 43

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New Balance Renewed product. “Bringing on iconic brands is a part of TRW’s partnership expansion plan,” says Nicole Bassett, co-founder. “With

this launch, New Balance Renewed becomes a driver of renewing products and launching re-commerce in the athleticwear sector.”

rose 84.5 percent to $345 million On has applied to the NYSE for the symbol ONO.

the ASICS brand and products resonating so well with consumers across categories from running to tennis,” says Richard Sullivan, president and COO of ASICS North America. “The growth across our owned and partner channels has been significant and we will continue to strategically navigate our brand going forward.” ASICS’ performance run category grew by 51.8 percent in the United States year-over-year for the region buoyed by the success of models like the Gel-Kayano and Gel-Nimbus Also at ASICS, in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month, ASICS hosted a Virtual Blue Jean Mile, an amplification of the world record setting race from ASICS elite athlete Johnny Gregorek in 2020. To honor the world record, ASICS donated $40,625 and $26,400 was raised by participants for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of NYC.

ASICS Reports Strong Second Quarter Results Continuing a trend of impressive quarterly results among running shoe brands, the second quarter of 2021 for ASICS North America (ANA), which includes the United States, Canada and Mexico, continued to see strong growth from nearly every channel across the region. Collectively, the North America region experienced a double-digit quarterly sales increase year-over-year. Specifically in the United States, ASICS showed quarterly double-digit year-over-year increases from the Run Specialty, Strategic Partners and Sporting Goods channels and a quarterly triple-digit year-over-year rebound in the Family channel. “We are proud to continue seeing

© 2021 Diversified Communications


running shorts Under Armour Hovr Mega 2 Clone, Roll Recovery Massage Tool, Coros Watches, Superfeet Adapt Insoles

UNDER ARMOUR UA HOVR MEGA 2 CLONE. The newest member of the UA Hovr running shoe family offers maximum cushioning for comfort. With a 32mm stack height, the UA Hovr Mega 2 Clone is for the runner who wants the most protection for their training. With the new running shoes, transition from landing to toe-off feels smooth with an exposed UA Hovr foam outsole through the midfoot and forefoot pressure zones, providing a soft and pillowy yet responsive ride.

ROLL RECOVERY R8 PLUS MASSAGE TOOL. Roll Recovery, the maker of recovery and athletic performance products, has launched the R8 Plus massage tool, the latest addition to the R8 and R8 Custom lineup. The new specialty recovery tool features adjustable deep tissue massage force for enhanced ease-of-use and encompasses a patented, hidden mechanism in the frame with an adjustment dial to increase or decrease the compression massage force. The addition of the adjustment dial to the R8 Plus reduces or increases the force as needed.

COROS PACE 2 GPS SPORTS WATCH, ELIUD KIPCHOGE PACE 2. Coros Wearables, makers of performance sports wearables, recently unveiled several new products, including the Vertix 2 GPS Adventure Watch and the Eliud Kipchoge Edition of its award-winning PACE 2 GPS Sports Watch. These two new styles celebrate the best of running and the outdoors, furthering partnerships with twotime Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist and world marathon record holder Kipchoge along with new Coros Pro climbing legend Tommy Caldwell. • The Vertix 2 (top photo) is equipped with Dual-Frequency GNSS Chipset for accuracy, communicates with all five major global satellite systems simultaneously. MSRP is $699.99. • The Eliud Kipchoge Edition Pace 2 showcases the Kipchoge’s favorite Coros products while embracing the colors of his native Kenya. Special packaging features Kipchoge and a note to the user. MSRP is $249.99 with just 5000 units being produced.

SUPERFEET ADAPT RUN INSOLE. Superfeet has introduced its Adapt Run Collection of insoles — easy to wear and easy to run in, these insoles represent an evolution of Superfeet technology as an alternative to the firm foundation of traditional Superfeet, with a soft, flexible feel that’s made to feel like part of the running shoes. These cushioned running insoles are available in two different arch heights: Adapt Run with a thinner profile and lower arch, and Adapt Run Max with a deeper heel cup and higher arch profile. The Adapt collection’s patented Adaptive Comfort Technology design flexes with the foot for efficient heel-to-toe turnover. A responsive forefoot zone blends cushioning and rebound for maximum energy transfer.

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running shorts Hoka Opening Retail Pop-ups in NYC, LA TAKING THE NEXT STEP IN THE evolution of the brand, Hoka is opening its first brick-and-mortar bi-coastal popups in New York City (Flatiron District) and Los Angeles (Melrose) on September 1. Breaking new ground, new consumers and Hoka brand fans alike will experience the brand in-person since each location will double as a hub for an array of all Hoka products. Hoka has engaged its base via directto-consumer as well as other wholesale channels for 11 years and the company explains that this is the official introduction of “the first 360-degree Hoka retail experience.”

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The pop-ups boast secure 3D foot scanning devices by Volumental, providing insight into fit and comfort while intuitively suggesting individual styles. The experience is complete with smart lockers, enabling customers to start the day for a run or enjoy the store hands-free. Customers will also be able to purchase exclusive apparel, previously available only on hoka.com. The pop-ups will incite a two-way conversation with customers, maxim izi ng t he oppor t un it y to i nteract wit h t he product, lea r n about it i n a physica l s et t i ng, a nd u lt i m at ely embrace its benefits before purchase.

OrthoLite’s Barrett Receives Two Ten’s A.A. Bloom Memorial Award Two Ten Footwear Foundation has named OrthoLite founder and CEO Glenn Barrett as the 2021 recipient of its prestigious A.A. Bloom Memorial Award for his commitment and longstanding dedication to the footwear industry. The award will be presented at the Two Ten 81st Annual Gala scheduled for December 1, 2021 at New York’s Pier 60. The A.A. Bloom Award recognizes an individual who has given greatly to the Two Ten Footwear Foundation through his or her initiatives.

© 2021 Diversified Communications


Trail Running 2021

ONE MORE THING

There has been a surge in trail running and trail use across America. Check out these remarkable stats courtesy of AllTrails. 10 STATES THAT SAW THE HIGHEST JUMP IN TRAIL USE 1. New Jersey: 226% 2. Delaware: 224% 3. Connecticut: 219% 4. Kansas: 215% 5. Massachusetts: 212% 6. Minnesota: 211% 7. Iowa: 208% 8. Illinois: 205% 9. Wisconsin: 202% 10. (tie) Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Rhode Island: 195% 10 VENUES THAT SAW THE HIGHEST JUMP IN TRAIL USE 1. Allamuchy Mountain State Park (New Jersey): 504% 2. Turkey Run Park (Virginia): 468% 3. Norvin Green State Forest (New Jersey): 466%

Photo: Getty Images, courtesy of AllTrails

4. Rockefeller State Park Preserve (New York): 408% 5. Bigelow Hollow State Park (Connecticut): 397% 6. Clarence Fahnestock State Park (New York): 387% 7. Schooley’s Mountain Park (New Jersey): 380% 8. Hidden Valley Preserve (Connecticut): 367% 9. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation (New York): 367% 10. Day Pond State Park (Connecticut): 362%

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Profile for Running Insight

Running Insight 9.1.2021  

Running Insight 9.1.2021  

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