VOLUME 46 / ISSUE 10
PULSE OF THE OUTDOOR CONSUMER STUDY
A Market Insight Study from The SportsOneSource Group
Pulse Of The Outdoor Consumer SOS Research takes an in-depth look at the key shopping behaviors, influences, and motivators for America’s active outdoor consumer
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Outdoor Consumer Shopping Attitudes Outdoor Consumer Spending Patterns Outdoor Consumer Buying Decision Influences Where Outdoor Consumers Shop Brand Store Shopping Habits
»» »» »» »»
Online Shopping and Purchasing Patterns Social Media Influences and Habits Generational Attitudes and Behaviors Demographic Differences in Shopping Patterns
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THE FALL SPORTS ISSUE
GIVING BACK 6 Skechers Steps Up for Kids
Timberland's Lightweight Biker Jacket in Cocoa Photo courtesy Timberland
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SGB PROFILE 8 John Rogers, President Maine Running Company RETAILER FOCUS 10 Timberland’s Ready for its Close Up FEATURES 16 A Visible Run Opportunity Whether through fluorescent colors, reflective or glow-in-the dark technologies or actual lighting, scores of options are available to light the way for night runners. 22 Cleats Ready for Take Off 26 Equipped for Success The most advanced Football, Basketball and Soccer gear for players at retail in 2014 I am… SGB 40 Danny Abshire, Co-Founder & Chief Technical Officer, Newton Running 38 INDUSTRY CALENDAR
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Dancing with the Stars' Brooke Burke-Charset and Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers USA. Photos courtesy Skechers
Skechers Steps Up for Kids
"...the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more."
By Thomas J. Ryan
6 OCTOBER 2013
n 2005, just as his first child was starting middle school, Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers USA, became acutely aware of the need for a program in the South Bay area that would foster friendships between children with special needs and the kids near Skechers’ headquarters in Manhattan Beach, CA. Also seeing many young people looking for ways to volunteer and the possibility of using his local Jewish Community Center as a place to meet, Greenberg, along with his friend Rabbi Yossi Mintz, launched their own chapter of The Friendship Circle, at gotfriends. com, to support children with special needs. But the true inspiration for the program dates many years earlier. “When I was in elementary school, one of my classmates had special needs,” said Greenberg. “My teacher at the time asked if any students wanted to be his buddy to help him to class, sit with him at lunch, and keep an eye out for him. I volunteered, and after a while, we became friends. I believe this was a mutually rewarding experience. Not only did he gain a friend, but I did as well.” While looking to help kids with special needs, Greenberg also wanted to help his extended family at Skechers and his local community find an easier path to make a difference, recalling the positive impact volunteering had early on in his life. “Manhattan Beach is much more than our headquarters, it is our home,” said Greenberg. “And the people that work at Skechers are more than just employees. We are a team, friends, and extended family. And like me, many members of the Skechers team also live in this community, and their children go to school here. And if they don’t have children, they know someone who does. It is a very supportive and tight-knit community - both Skechers and Manhattan Beach and the surrounding cities.” Unlike the other 83 Friendship Circles, Greenberg and Rabbi Mintz decided to make their chapter nondenominational, to allow children and young adults into the program regardless of their spiritual beliefs and backgrounds. Currently, the Friendship Circle serves over 1,000 families of kids with special needs through programs in homes, schools and the community, utilizing 1,200 student volunteers from elementary school through college age. Within the first three years, the organization began attracting children and teen volunteers from all over the L.A. area, but there was one problem. To accommodate all of the children and young adults, additional programs and activities needed to be implemented. At the same time the recession hit in 2008, affecting the budgets of all philanthropies and schools. Greenberg not only saw a more pressing need to support children with special needs, but also to support local South Bay schools, whether in retaining key curriculum or improving class sizes, technology and high-quality programs. The broader reach in helping kids in schools also fit Skechers’ position as the number one footwear brand for children. Soon, the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk was born. “The Friendship Circle’s premise was about creating lasting and impactful friendships and the need to make a difference,” said Greenberg. “This idea could be extended to our education system. We saw schools in our community struggling, and while there were
fundraisers on a very local level, as a vested business in the area, we believed we could bring together these groups to impact a larger demographic.” Since its inception in 2009, the Friendship Walk has raised $1.9 million. Last year, the Friendship Walk boasted over 8,000 participants, and 10,000 are set to walk on October 27 this year. Produced by Skechers USA and co-produced by The Friendship Circle, the event involves a 3.4-mile walk from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Hermosa Beach Pier and back. Its appeal has been boosted by the early support of some of Skechers’ celebrity friends, including Dancing with the Stars’ Brooke Burke-Charset and Hall of Fame baseball legend Tommy Lasorda, who have attended every walk and serve as ambassadors. Along with numerous kid-friendly activities, the walk is followed by the annual World Famous Pumpkin Races at the Manhattan Beach Pier. But Greenberg believes the camaraderie and cause are the main driver of the event’s ever-widening appeal. “The Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk brings friends from near and far together to make a difference and to feel a part of something bigger,” said Greenberg. “The uniqueness about the Skechers Friendship Walk is the way the cause impacts those involved. Everyone can benefit from improvements to education. Everyone can relate to the need for friendship and kindness.” While quickly becoming a signature event each fall for South Bay locals, the Friendship Walk also gained awareness on the national level through sponsorships from companies like Nickelodeon, its title sponsor since 2012. Last year’s event brought visits by SpongeBob, Dora and he Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “Nickelodeon is an iconic network that has captured the attention of children, teens, and families for many years now and will continue to do so for years to come. To have support from a network that revolves around children is amazing and we wouldn’t have it any other way.” Other sponsors include many of Skechers retail partners, including Zappos.com, Ross, Rack Room, DSW, Marshalls, WWS, Journeys, Finish Line, Foot Locker and many more. Said Greenberg, “Each contribution has enabled us to expand our charitable offerings to over 60,000 children.” But much of the event’s success comes from Skechers’ internal team of event organizers, whom Greenberg said have learned over the years to be “patient yet persistent” in seeking progress. “In our first year we had over 2,000 participants and raised $220,000,” noted Greenberg. “Being our first year, we were extremely proud of our accomplishments, but knew we could do better because we knew the need was greater. We still had programs to fund, teachers’ jobs
to be saved, and many more children to accommodate. So at times not being able to tackle all of our goals right away is somewhat discouraging, but we now know that we won’t get any closer to our goals unless we continue to persevere.” He added, “Each year we’ve surpassed the last, increasing our numbers as the time goes on. Yet within every year, there are more hurdles to tackle and additional goals to be set. We are proud of how far we have come, but know we have much more to do.” The Friendship Walk and The Friendship Circle complement many other charitable causes Skechers’ supports, which includes a breast cancer awareness shoe. A particularly successful program recently was the BOBS from Skechers’ charitable shoe program, which reached its five million pair donation mark this summer. Skechers donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of BOBS purchased. Lauched in 2011 specifically for women, BOBS expanded in spring 2012 with men and children's styles. “Through BOBS, we are providing new shoes to children in need in the Philippines, Indonesia, Haiti, Uganda, Honduras, Croatia, and numerous other countries around the world,” said Greenberg. “And we have been donating in the United States, providing relief efforts for recent natural disasters, as well as outfitting children in entire school districts, at summer camps, and at homeless shelters.” The success of BOBS has only further reinforced Greenberg’s belief in the twoway benefit of making a difference. Backed by the success of the Friendship Walk, The Friendship Circle’s reach continues to expand to reach more lives. “This organization pulls together citizens of all stages of life: students, parents, teachers, therapists, professionals, businesses, city officials, and more - and helps us discover our commonality in humanity, rather than the competitive race we often find ourselves running every day,” said Greenberg. “As the author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. wrote, ‘Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.’ I believe this is true for myself, and for those involved in the Skechers Pier to Pier Walk.” ■
John Rogers President, Maine Running Company By Thomas J. Ryan
In mid-September, Fleet Feet, Inc., the leading franchiser of running specialty stores, announced a partnership with John Rogers, owner and president of Maine Running Company that will lead to the conversion of his two stores into Fleet Feet Sports stores. Fleet Feet Sports, which now has 112 locations across 34 states, gained a strong regional operator and foothold in upper New England while Rogers saw the opportunity to align his business with a national brand and tap into the resources and support that come with being a part of the franchise. Rogers originally opened Maine Running Company in Portland in 2005 and added a Brunswick location in 2009. Prior to founding Maine Running Company, he worked in various product and marketing executive positions on the vendor side, including stints at Reebok and Mizuno. In 2005, Rogers helped form and serve as a board director for the Independent Running Retailers Association. As a competitive runner, Rogers qualified for both the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, while also posting PR's of 4:04 Mile, 14:02 5K, 29:20 10K, 48:45 10 Mile and 2:18:02 Marathon. Here, Rogers talks with SGB about making the decision to partner with Fleet Feet, the overall rash of consolidation overtaking the run specialty world, and other challenges facing the industry. How did the Fleet Feet partnership come about? Conversations began in early 2013 when I had the opportunity to work with Ed Griffin, Fleet Feet Syracuse and Luke Rowe, Fleet Feet, Inc., at a number of vendor meetings and the discussion was always about how to get better, the challenges that face our channel, and how do we partner with each other to solve them. Out of that came a mutual respect and philosophical alignment that Independents and Fleet Feet had a lot more in common than differences. With consolidation, product commoditization and the issues taking place with customer retention, we were better off aligning versus trying to get better separately.
8 OCTOBER 2013
No, I was actually looking at ways to get better operationally and culturally, empower employees to drive relationship selling versus transactional selling and provide a better and more complete instore experience for our customers.
Were you looking for a partner?
Why did you ultimately partner with Fleet Feet? Because Fleet Feet allows us to maintain our independent uniqueness within our market and community, while providing resources to forge new ideas, provide support and grow of our business. It also provides a succession plan and long term continued local ownership. How does partnering help Maine Running Company? Fleet Feet provides our employees with more tools and opportunities for growth and continued staff training. Also, they provide updated and improved training group programs, gift cards that can be used at Fleet Feetâ€™s nationwide and the relevancy, support and resources of a national brand, but at a local level.
There will be economy of scale benefits, such as website development, hosting and in-store signage. Training program benefits, such as coaching certification and insurance. Continued online webinar and tutorial training for staff, as well as in store, on site training by Fleet Feet. Operational, financial and backroom management is available through Fleet Feetâ€™s CFO In A Box, which is a significant benefit for owners who need that expertise. Finally, the Fleet Feet culture of networking, exchanging ideas and franchisee input into everything they do, can only help us get better.
Can you outline all the benefits that you expect?
Maine Running Company is already heralded for its customer service and community outreach? How, if at all, might the partnership help your customer relationships? The biggest benefit to our customers will be resources to create a culture of relationship versus transactional selling and a better experience.
Footwear is a significant percentage of our business and by having our employees create a more complete in-store experience with crossover sales of accessories, apparel, bras, hydration, nutrition and injury prevention is going to help us grow. Will this help Maine Running Company expand? Our plan is to create a better experience for our customers and community, with a greater focus on customer acquisition and retention and to grow our current locations. Any concerns around the change from Maine Running Company to Maine Fleet
Clearly the biggest issue is brand conversion and ensuring our customers and community trust that local ownership and dollars stay in Maine, which is why we have up to 36 months to convert the brand. We have already started the process with transparent communication to key running influencers, our top customers, email list and social media base. We also had a town hall running community meeting to explain and answer any questions. The key is being transparent and having your entire team on message about the transition and how it benefits the running community. To date, we’ve received positive response to the conversion.
How does your role change? I’m fortunate to have great partners and an empowered management team. We all have our specific roles with business partner Bill Galbraith focused on finance and backroom operations and GM Maggie Poisson, on the day-to-day retail operations. Obviously, Bill and Maggie’s roles can’t be understated as they both contribute enormously to our success. I will continue to focus on product assortment, in-store merchandising, marketing, and community out reach, vendor relations and business development. I plan to continue in this role, with a greater emphasis on creating a culture of empowered employees to manage and create better experiences for our customers. I will also
continue to be a strong advocate of providing greater operational education opportunities for independent specialty running stores. In today’s changing market landscape, running stores have to become better operators and be better at customer retention. I will continue to focus on that through the IRRA, as well as Fleet Feet. How does the structure work? Fleet Feet provides a service, just like any employee does. Fleet Feet essentially works for their franchisees. We are paying a fair royalty, but did not pay a franchise fee to convert. The royalty is basically a wash for the economy of scale benefits, resources and services provided. Fleet Feet basically provides a service to us and we own the company.
How do you see footwear trends shift-
Footwear is constantly evolving with vendors continuing to get better. Minimalism has dissipated and is more prevalent in training and cross fit. The new geometric technologies being created by Hoka One, the Brooks Transcend and New Balance Fresh Foam will certainly have an impact on the natural running category, which, in my opinion, is still fluid in its evolution.
There are a lot of new and bigger
We were approached by both national and regional entities, as other successful stores have been. However, I believe strongly in the locally owned and operated model versus the locally managed model because it allows us to be more connected with our customers and community. This is core to the Fleet Feet model and will continue to set us apart. This philosophical alignment with Fleet Feet and the assurance of long-term local ownership continuity was a maDid you talk to Running Specialty Group or others?
jor factor in our decision. What do you think of all this consolidation as well as the attention from The Finish Line, Foot Locker, Dick’s Sporting
Consolidation was inevitable, especially with run specialty being a strong growth and profit area in the retail sector. With that attention also comes product commoditization, meaning you can get running product anywhere. We have a changing customer with ever changing purchasing habits. We have to evolve with that market and focus on creating a better, more complete experience for our customers, as well as learning better ways to acquire, retain and service them. The Fleet Feet locally owned operator model is different in that it allows you to maintain your independence and uniqueness in your market, while having the resources to get better and evolve with those changes.
Goods and others being paid to run specialty?
brands paying more attention to the space. Do you see a shakeout? More importantly I see greater commoditization with product available in more places than ever. Price escalation is also an issue for everyone. I think the shakeout will occur due to these two issues more than anything, as certain brands and models reach critical mass. It is a healthy time for innovation as we have to create greater value with features and benefits and the only way to do this is with better technology. A newer phenomenon is these mud runs, glow runs, color runs, zombie
We’re not a big supporter of “For Profit” races. It is creating new runners but it also takes away from a multitude of local nonprofit races. Even though these events donate to various local causes, they need to be more transparent regarding where those dollars are heading outside each local market.
runs, etc. What’s your take?
Do you have any advice to others exploring either a similar
What’s your outlook for run special-
Every market, owner and store is different… it’s really about where you are in life and what you want to do long term. I never question someone’s decision to sell, but just look at all the options, how it affects your employees and community and do what is best for yourself and your business.
partnership or even selling?
Run specialty had a rare rough spring? What do you think
Honestly, it was weather driven. We have caught up with Year-to-Date versus Year Ago numbers, so the dollar spend shifted.
It is going to be a roller coaster for the next 24 to 48 months, with consolidation and the other issues facing run specialty occurring. The opportunity is to get in front of the challenges of consolidation, commoditization, customer acquisition, and customer retention and get better at every facet of your business, while continuing a strong connectivity with customers and community. ■
10 OCTOBER 2013
Timberland’s Readyfor its Close I Up By Thomas J. Ryan
Timberland unveiled its relaunched Fall collection and celebrated the 40th Anniversary of its classic yellow boot at an event in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in September.
n late September, Timberland invited 350 influencers, stylists, editors and retailers to hipster central, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to get a peek at its new brand direction and “Best Then. Better Now.” marketing campaign. Leading up to the campaign, Timberland held several smaller events for tastemakers in New York and LA. These events supported the marketing campaign, paying homage to the 40th anniversary of the launch of Timberland’s iconic “yellow boot” and its authentic outdoor roots. The campaign’s print and TV ads feature dramatic sunrises, beautiful mountain scenery, and other rustic outdoor elements, giving a subtle nod to Timberland’s New England roots while style remains the primary focus. The brand’s reputation for craftsmanship is also played up with close-ups of the brand’s signature quad-needle stitching, and background swatches of leather and canvas. But the campaign also brings out rising young Hollywood talent – Justice Joslin, Marlon Kates and Kassidi Batt – to speak to the new stylish side of Timberland seen in a wide range of versatile new collections that fuse the brand’s classic styles with a contemporary aesthetic. The effort also trumpets the relaunch of Timberland apparel in an overall effort to better capitalize on the brand’s potential as a head-to-toe outdoor lifestyle brand that also translates smoothly to city dwellers. The range includes a heavy emphasis on leather jackets and waterproof outerwear as well as plaid work shirts and denim bottoms. Timberland’s apparel business was licensed to Phillips-Van Heusen for many years. When VF Corp, the parent of The North Face and Vans, acquired Timberland in September 2011, they reacquired the license and aided in the redesign. To reach the Millennial consumer, Timberland is partnering with a global set of diverse trendsetters and influencers to get the message out. Those efforts include, “Into the Trees,” a mini-magazine and film short curated by The Rig Out’s Glenn Kitson, featuring fashion blogger Mordechai Rubinstein and photographer and artist Noah Kalina. The digital pieces tell the history of Timberland in a visually stunning way, juxtaposing urban life and the rugged New England wilderness.
At the Timberland launch event in Williamsburg, from left to right, Jim Davey, VP of global marketing, Timberland, Chris Pawlus, senior global creative director and creative director women's footwear design, Timberland; and Patrik Frisk, president, Timberland.
Timberland is also launching “Mark Makers,” an initiative that connects the brand with style-forward tastemakers – including bloggers Christina Caradona and Natalie Suarez and artist Richie Culver – who bring their personal style to the fall 2013 collection via video and imagery. Digital content has already started running across Timberland’s social media channels. Jim Davey, VP of global marketing, Timberland, said the new campaign was informed by more than two years of consumer insight into the brand and basically serves as an invitation for consumers to rediscover the Timberland brand. “It reminds people that the 40-year heritage behind our original yellow boot is here to stay, but also surprises them with a fresh, new, fashion-forward direction,” said Davey. “We’ll always be inspired by our heritage, but this campaign puts the spotlight on the new Timberland.” Here, Davey discusses the evolution of the campaign with SGB and Timberland’s emerging style.
12 OCTOBER 2013
Can you elaborate on what your research told
Consumers have an extremely high emotional connection around the classic elements of the brand. That’s quality, authenticity, outdoor heritage, toughness, ruggedness, etc. We get so much credit for that. It comes up again and again. But what they wanted to see more of was style - more relevant, trend-right style that still was consistent with our DNA. And they just wanted to see the brand out there. They hadn’t heard from us enough and they wanted to see the brand portrayed in more ways than simply the ‘yellow boot’ and things they might need when the weather got bad. brand?
For the Fall 2013 season, we’re introducing boots for men, women and kids that take cues from our classic silhouettes, but offer a modern look, eco-conscious fabrics and performance innovations. Our new apparel line is also a big part of our advertising. One of our consumer insights was that they love us as a boot brand but when we showed them all
What type of products?
Dozens of boots hang from the ceiling at the Timberland Workshop at its launch event in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
the new head-to-toe things we’re doing – we call it toe-to-head–from boots and great outerwear to sweaters, hats belts and bags, it changed their view on what the brand could be. And they said, ‘Hey, we want to see more of this because this is a brand that could fit into our daily lives.’” We’re also focusing on our women’s collection, which shows a new face of the brand. We have great tall leather boots that perform and look great in or out of the city. So how is the marketing message changing?
We’re always going to be a brand that goes hiking and we’re always going to be a brand for work. But what we’re thinking through is how do we do that with this filter of an outdoor lifestyle brand? On retail shelves, we definitely want to be portrayed as a brand that you can take on the trails and handle the tough chores in. But at the same time we’re also looking through it to make sure it has a great style and an all-day versatility quality to it. In other words, you can certainly do all the stuff you always expected with Timberland but there’s a new look and a new style. So if you show up in the city after a long day doing work or on the trail or whatever it is you do outside, you don’t have to change. We’ve got the kind of lifestyle products that can get you through the whole day instead of just being so functionally oriented as in the past. What did your research tell you about your connections to the urban community?
That audience will always be a hugely important piece of the brand, particularly with the yellow boot. And that continues to be a focus for us. But what we found as we looked at all the different communities that have connections with Timberland – whether it’s hikers in Europe, the hip hop community in the U.S., hipsters in Manchester, or the kids in Tokyo – they’re all looking for the same thing. And that’s authentic, outdoor gear that can get them through any occasion, whether the weather is awful or they just want to look fantastic on a night out or during their day. Ultimately it comes down to that authenticity that folks are looking for. Timberland Earthkeepers® Tenon Bomber Photo courtesy Timberland
McIntyre Mid Waterproof Boot
Chillberg Waterproof Mid Boot
Ryker Waterproof Boot
Mortise Bomber Jacket
Front Country Hiker Jacket
Can you tell us about the apparel relaunch? It was under a licensed agreement for the past few years, so we took a year off and are relaunching in fall 2013. We’ve got a much clearer Timberland brand positioning now in terms of what we want to stand for in being both an apparel and footwear brand and what it should deliver in both style and performance as well as in green elements. So that was one reason we felt it was the right time. Our International Design Center in London has always done a great job developing a strong apparel business overseas to show us its potential here. And we also have the support and leadership of VF on our side now, and they’re one of the biggest, apparel makers in the world in terms of sourcing and manufacturing – there’s no one better. So those three things told us it was time to now add that to the Timberland look and become a true head-to-toe brand. Where is it launching? It’s a limited collection launching in higher-end independents. We’ve also got a two-year exclusive with Nordstrom at the department store level. We’re starting really tight from a very premium place. But what we’re finding is when consumers see the new apparel collection, it immediately changes their mind about what the brand could be and how it can fit into their lives. So it certainly is going to be a great business for us but also in terms of what the brand looks and feels like, it’s hugely important to all the marketing that we’re doing. Can you elaborate on the digital efforts around the campaign?
Wilmington Long Snorkel Jacket
Trailspar Cargo Shirt
14 OCTOBER 2013
There are two elements to it. One is that we can’t be the only ones telling our story, especially when it comes to style. We haven’t always been a brand people look to first for style trends, and we see these partnerships as an opportunity to shift that. So it was important that we collaborate with some folks who have a real point of view on style and can take their equity and combine it with what we stand for. The second element is to come up with a new story for consumers, which is what we did with “Into the Trees” and “Mark Makers.” “Into the Trees” is a mini-magazine and a film short created by The Rig Out, which is a UK-based magazine and blog. It tells the story of Timberland and it juxtaposes urban life in the rugged New England wilderness to offer a great microcosm of “Best Then. Better Now.” It brings out the idea of the rugged and the almost gritty lifestyle that Timberland has been known for but also brings it out in a way that enforces the new style and talks to you about the idea that we could be a brand for the city and for the country. And again, they have great social networks to get the story out and to tell people as well.
That’s going to do a lot in how we show up with women. When we’re talking to influencers, bloggers and stylists, they take our product, style it, and integrate it into their own outfits in a way that we could never do ourselves. The results are these fantastic looking styles that provide a sense for women of how Timberland can be integrated into their everyday looks. Again, it’s not only great content but they already have great digital and social networks that we can tap into.
What about Mark Makers?
Why the digital focus? More than ever before, we’re focused on digital engagement to speak to and connect with today’s millennial consumer. We’ve found that most of our brand stories work well across countries and cultures, so digital also helps us create a globally consistent brand message. And the main place that we’re finding a lot of engagement is in the social media world. In the last year we were on Facebook and a little of Twitter. Now we’re on all the big platforms with specifically curated content, whether it is Pinterest, Tumbler, Vine or YouTube. Wherever the Millennials are getting information about brands and connecting with people online, that’s where we want to be. How is Timberland appealing to Millennials?
Timberland has 83 percent brand awareness across the U.S., which is fantastic. That’s behind only Nike and Adidas when you look at footwear brands. So everyone knows the brand, they just don’t know our new story. They know the classic story of the yellow boot and the outdoor, rugged heritage and the quality. And they probably remember it from their high school years or different times of their life. But they haven’t seen that head-to-toe brand that’s based on a new style and a versatility that can get them through their day. And so they know us but they may not know our new story yet. ■ Opposite page: Earthkeepers® Trenton Boot in Tobacco Forty Leather
BEST THEN. BETTER NOW. TIMBERLAND.COM
Run Opportunity Whether through fluorescent colors, reflective or glow-in-the dark technologies or actual lighting, scores of options are available to light the way for night runners. By Thomas J. Ryan November is known nationally as American Diabetes Month. It’s also National Adoption Awareness Month, National American Indian Heritage Month and to a small but hungry few, Sweet Potato Awareness Month. But most importantly to the running community, November is National Running Safety Month. With the sun setting earlier and rising later amid daylight savings time, more runners are out at dawn or dusk, or even running in pitch black night. Unfortunately, those are the times of day when runners are most vulnerable on the road. According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: »»
Nearly 4,432 pedestrians (walkers, runners and hikers) died when hit by cars in 2011 – or one every two hours, an 8 percent increase from 2009; Nearly three out of four (70 percent) pedestrian deaths occur during the nighttime. Between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays was deemed the most dangerous time walk on the road; and Ten percent of all on-road pedestrian fatalities were related to pedestrians not being visible to drivers.
Gabe Maricich, men’s apparel product line manager, Brooks Running, believes the need for runners to be seen better in lowvisibility conditions is being boosted by the popularity of a wide variety of races, including nighttime races like the Firefly runs that start at 9:00 p.m. Evening and night running has also become a go-to in hot climates in at other times of the year.
16 OCTOBER 2013
Photo courtesy Asics
But with the jump in runners in general over the past decade and the daylight-hoursshrinking challenge, many Brooks employees “have witnessed and been in close calls while running in low-light conditions, so we knew there was a critical need for reflective, high-visibility apparel for runners.” That inspired the development of Brooks’ Nightlife apparel line, and scores of accessories, apparel and footwear options that have arrived on the scene in recent years to help runners avoid car collisions. “Having a car that you’re not sure sees you and comes at you head-on is a scary prospect - and it reinforces our belief, both on a personal level and as a company, that we need to create a versatile range of visibility products that keep runners lit or reflective from multiple points on their body,” said Brent Hollowell, VP of marketing, Nathan, Saucony Sonic ViZi PRO Jacket the running accessories provider. Hollowell believes the safety message is getting out to the running community. He added, “Wearing reflecSaucony first introduced its expansive VIZI PRO line in 2009 and O'Malley said the tive and active LED at different points on your head, your arms, extension fit Saucony’s goal of offering solutions to runners. He said, “What we do is solve your legs – body parts in motion when you’re running – will better runners’ problems and one of the main problems we saw is that if you’re up early in the outline the human form and distinguish you from a wild animal, a morning or running after work, you need to be seen.” street sign, or something else.” The brand also found many solutions in the marketplace only worked when car lights June Angus, president, Amphipod, Inc., another leading run- hit some reflective material that could be as close as 10 yards away but that often cuts it ning accessories provider, says major improvements in the func- too close. tionality, fit, performance fabrics, application methods/retroIn addressing visibility, Saucony first looks at chromaticity, which is a measurement reflective materials, and aesthetics of visibility vests and clothing of relative visibility of a garment with some colors reflecting light and others absorbing have made it even more viable for runners, who years ago, would them. O'Malley pointed to surprisingly notable differences between similar colors, such never have considered putting on a reflective vest of the past. She as four-inch fluorescent orange showing up much brighter than citrus. Saucony then jokes, “Think of 70’s and 80’s vests – a perfect match for striped added 3M reflectivity to many of its garments to catch the car headlights. Many also Dolphin shorts!” include an USB-rechargeable LED light that can either stay solid or blink. Most runners Additionally, advances in battery technology (size/weight/cost) chose to stay solid but tests have shown that blinking lights can be spotted quicker. have had an impact on the number of LED accessories available A core item is Saucony’s Sonic ViZi PRO Jacket, which features ViZiPRO color (neon and entry-level retail price points for visibility items, she added. orange), a two-way front zipper with reflective edge tape, and USB rechargeable built-in “Smaller LED-based attachable visibility enhancing accessories lighting on the left front and across the back. are generally lighter and more minimalist way for vest-shy runA newer initiative is adding visibility to footSaucony ners to make themselves more visible in low-light conditions,” wear with the ViZiGLO line that adds 360-deKinvara added Angus. “Short themed fun-runs have become a huge draw grees of eye-popping reflectivity to the upper and in local communities and are scheduled more as evening or night midsoles of its Kinvara and Ride models. races for the blinking wild fun of it!” Saucony’s lab is working next on the idea of For stores, however, the visibility opportunity can be challeng“ViziPro on demand,” or being able to enable a ing. With runners already known to skip stretching, adequate user to have high visibility when they need it but hydration, or even a breathable t-shirt, the need for enhanced tone it down when they don’t. Said O'Malley, “Bright fluorescent colors are great on the visibility during night runs is often seen as an afterthought. An- road but don’t always work as a lifestyle piece. You don’t want to stand out like an orange other challenge is that the many fluorescent and reflective options traffic cone in a bar. But carbon, gray or black don’t work on the road. So that’s a challenge work against a runner’s inner mantra not to stand out. Quips Patrick we’re working through.” O'Malley, SVP of global product for Saucony, “People don’t want to Asics first introduced its Lite-Show line, which also featured footwear, in fall 2012, repbe lit up like a Christmas tree.” resenting its first focused 360-degree reflective collection that coordinated back with the
rest of the run line. The Lite-Show apparel and accessories are made with retro-reflective thread technology sewn into the flat lock seams that bounces light rays directly back to its light source. “The collection offers great visibility without being day glow bright, stealth until light hits it with performance fabrics,” said Kim Shelton, Asics’ apparel product manager. “The big push came when our footwear brought this reflective story into key shoes to round out a full head-to-toe story.” The Lite-Show collection has been updated and expanded for several seasons with some pieces now incorporating 3M technologies. On the footwear side, the Lite-Show Nimbus and Cumulus as well as a new Lite-Show Exalt all use 3M reflectivity on the outerlays and also the logo stripes. The Nimbus also features glow in the dark gel. On the accessories side, Asics in Fall 2014 is bringing out a glove featuring the retro reflective thread technology, as well as 360 degree for running caps and a hybrid reversible buff. Taking night running to another level, Skechers USA is coming out with the Nite Owl, a line of glow-in-the-dark sneakers. Initially inspired by requests from its running testers, Skechers worked with a scientific firm through the 18-month plus development process to understand how eyes perceive light to determine Skechers USA Nite Owl the best way to improve upon a glow-in-the-dark product. “The technology comes from photon-emitting materials that are integrated into our more conventional footwear materials,” said Rick Higgins, VP of merchandising and marketing for Skechers Performance division. “With light exposure, the glow feature will fully charge in a matter of minutes and continue to emit light for several hours. The material is completely non-toxic. We got the idea to use the technology in footwear when we learned of a project in the Netherlands to design highways that glow in the dark for safety benefits.” The initial charge of the shoe, either by natural light or indoor ambient light, creates the photo luminescent effect. The glow will not diminish and lasts the entire lifespan of the shoe; each time they are charged, the shoes will glow brightly. “The advantage is the Nite Owl glow shows up immediately like an early warning system,” said Higgins. “Traditional reflective options do provide a measure of safety, but
18 OCTOBER 2013
require a direct light source to create the visibility effect. This could put runners or walkers in harm’s way before a car driving at night actually sees them on the road. Skechers Nite Owl photo luminescent technology provides much greater visibility in all low light conditions and does not require a beamed light source to create the glow effect.” As part of an upgraded Hi-Viz running series, New Balance this fall is introducing the Hi-Viz Beacon Jacket, which likewise glows in the dark. In only 10 minutes under any light source, the jacket will fully charge and glow making sure that the athlete can get through their workout safely. The jacket also features high visibility color that can help draw attention to the athlete during low light conditions such as the men’s green gecko and women fiery coral, and reflectivity in key areas. The Hi-Viz Beacon Jacket ties back to the glow-in-thedark new green gecko and fiery coral color ways in the lightweight, minimal racing flat New Balance 1400 and the Impact Tight and Capri. Adidas has increased its reflectivity offerings over New Balance Hi-Viz Beacon Jacket the past few season to make sure its garments are visible, including adding 360-degrees of reflectivity and increasing candle power up to 400 candle power in Fall/Winter 2013, which it claims to be the brightest reflectivity in the market. “Adidas has always made sure that fit, function and performance are key with any product that is created,” said Kristin Jones, merchandise manager for Adidas Running U.S. “That being said, it is extremely important to keep runners visible when they are on the road. We are putting more visibility on running garments each season to help improve running at night or low-lit areas.” Highlighted items include the Supernova Smarter Jacket, featuring crisscross graphics woven into the garment that won’t wash out. That’s matched by the Supernova Men’s 9-inch Shorts, which are completely reflective 360 degrees; and the Supernova Convertible Jacket, Adidas Supernova a 3-1 women’s jacket with a Convertible Jacket reflective graphic layer that can zip off if the runner gets too hot.
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Brooks Running’s Nightlife Jacket has beBrooks come a flagship product PureProject for the brand for many Jacket years, with the signature Nightlife color becoming fairly common among almost every other running and active brand. “The Nightlife Jacket is a wonderful blend of technologies and science, applying three key tools to keep runners safe: Fluorescence, Contrast and Retro reflectivity,” said Maricich. Instant recognition remains a key concept Brooks has been working on for awhile. Maricich pointed to the challenges car drivers have quickly identifying a runner as a human and not just a bright object like a traffic cone or stop sign in low-visibility conditions. Said Maricich, “We've refined our products and tuned them to make ‘a person look more like a person,’ building around key technologies and partnering with researchers to continuously push the limits of current products.” A new take on reflectivity is being brought to market through Brooks’ new PureProject Apparel line, with reflective yarn woven into the fabric. Said Maricich, “The reflectivity works when you need it, but ‘disappears’ during daytime hours. It's a fun, new, and exciting way to keep people seen regardless of what they're doing.” On the accessories side, Nathan has seen strong growth in active visibility lighting, led by its best-seller LED Safety Strobe. In 2013, Nathan introduced its Run Longer Series, an entire collection of new form factors of LED lights, including StrobeLights, a LightBender LED Armband, and a LightSpur LED Heel ClipOn. Nathan’s No Matter What Gear takes this a step further, and incorporates rechargeable LED technology into cooler weather running performance gear like hats, beanies, and gloves.
Nathan LightBender LED Armband Nathan StrobeLight
20 OCTOBER 2013
Hollowell said many running stores are embracing the high-margin category by promoting the enjoyment and safety of running. “Visibility can be a difficult subject to broach without sounding like an over-protective parent talking to Nathan LightSpur LED Heel Clip-On a child,” said Hollowell. “We're trying to do a better job of providing tools and information for stores that help them engage with customers in a meaningful way, while also adding some fun and stickiness to the message that’s being delivered.” As part of that effort, Nathan launched a “How Do You Get Lit?” visibility campaign, a comprehensive tool kit and educational platform that includes both staff training tools, customer collateral, merchandising tips, and digital assets that retailers can use and share readily. “There are over 20 million core runners in the United States, and category sales indicate that only a fraction of those runners are buying visibility products on a regular basis, if at all,” said Hollowell. “If we can provide product that’s more approachable, information that allows store staff to speak confidently and knowledgably, and interesting and memorable ways to connect with customers, we all – runners, retailers, and visibility brands – will benefit.” Amphipod Micro-Light Flashing Reflective Arm Band
Amphipod’s first visibility product was developed a number of years ago with the objective of maximum reflective visibility with the most minimalist body coverage possible. “We found that most runners wouldn’t wear reflective, as they didn’t want to feel like they were wearing clothes over clothes,” said Angus. “The super minimalist and super adjustable Amphipod Xinglet was born.”
Amphipod Swift-Clip Cap Lights
Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED Vest
Amphipod is now offering the patented Xinglet Vest in hot pink and hi-viz green, but also has expanded well beyond the Xinglet with the New Vizlet flashing magnetic wearable reflectors Xinglet Flash LED Vest, Micro-Light Flashing Reflective Arm Bands, and Swift-Clip Cap Lights. Overall, Amphipod has over 70 items across a wide price range, from $5 to $45, in the reflective visibility/LED Essentials category and a wide range of colors. “These are big holiday gift and stocking-stuffer items at the perfect time of year, in addition to big sellers into the new-yearsresolution fitness spike,” said Angus. Petzl, known for their headlamps for mountaineering and exploring caves, has also helped light the way for runners since the original TIKKA was launched back in 2000. The headlamps fit runners who like to train at night - in the warmer months, for example – but also long-distance runners often run through at night because they run for longer than 12 hours. “The durability and the compactness gained by switching to LEDs from incandescent lighting made headlamps that were tough enough to withstand the jarring nature of running use,” said Jesse Edmundson, Petzl’s headlamp division manager. “Runners who run at night are a natural fit for our products, which are lightweight, bright, and reliable. Petzl has been sponsoring orienteering races since we introduced the ULTRA Headlamps in 2008, and today we sponsor several ultra races and the Ragnar Relay Series, as well.” Edmundson said one difference between your typical runner and your typical outdoor customer (camper, climber, mountaineer) is that lighting is usually not top of mind for runners. “Outdoor users have headlamps high on their gear list and use them constantly around camp or if their outings have them up before the sun and out after dark, which is common,” said Edmundson. “That means we have to put headlamps out in front of runners using POP displays, and to explain the virtues of night running, as we did with this video produced for the NAO launch.” The NAO Headlamp features a technology called Reactive Lighting, which uses an integrated sensor and microprocessor to Petzl NAO Headlamp
measure incoming light (what the runner’s eye sees, basically) and then adjusts the output Petzl TIKKA R Series automatically and nearly instantaneously. Said Edmundson, ”This light has been a huge hit with ultra runners because it is super bright and requires no adjustment. It simply gives you the light you need when you need it, from 7 to 355 Lumens.” Petzl followed up the NAO launch in 2012 with the TIKKA R Series that’s more compact and lightweight than the NAO but still featuring Reactive Lighting technology. Princeton Tec has always been a brand around endurance pursuits, evolving from its mountaineering roots to adventure racing, 24-hour bike racing and more recently ultramarathon running.
Photo courtesy New Balance
“The Ultra scene has been blowing up! Each sport clearly has its own set of requirements, and our personal lighting products work very well for ultra-runners,” said Princeton Tec's marketing director, George Chevalier. Princeton Tec makes a comprehensive range of headlamps for runners, from the Byte (small enough to carry and offers 50 Lumens of light) to the powerful, self-contained Vizz (165 Lumens) with dimmable flood beam, and up Princeton Tec Apex to its top of the line Apex (200 Lumens). Some runners like to carry a small handheld like the Amp 1 LED, and others place more importance on the handheld and favor the more powerful League 100. Princeton Tec is also working with endurance athlete Gary Robbins to put together a group of ultra-runners to test upcoming product and explore needs. “Light or battery failure isn’t an option in ultra-marathon, since one cannot just borrow a friend’s light to complete the run,” noted Chevalier. ■ Princeton Tec Vizz
22 OCTOBER 2013
Cleats Ready for Take Off By Thomas J. Ryan
Nike Hypervenom Soccer Boot Photo courtesy Nike
With ever-evolving materials and newfangled design approaches, cleats are continually getting lighter and lighter, promising to fulfill the need for speed for American football and soccer players. The challenge for designers is providing acceleration and optimum support for the critical lateral and medial movements in an ever-skimpier lightweight design. At Nike, the Hypervenom Soccer Boot, building on the success of its Mercurial series, is designed to allow a player to have better ball control and improved agility on the pitch. In developing the concept, Nike designers re-examine the way boots were created. “Traditionally a new boot will focus on an evolution of the fit, the upper material or the sole plate and stud configuration. The Hypervenom features new solutions for all of these areas,” said Phil McCartney, VP Nike Football, footwear. The Hypervenom’s upper uses the new NIKESKIN system, a soft, supple mesh bound with a thin polyurethane film, and is finished off with Nike All Conditions Control technology (ACC) for ball control in wet and dry conditions. “Mesh delivers an amazing level of comfort and feel,” added Nike Football Design Director Denis Dekovic. “The athletes asked us to deliver a boot that gets as close as possible to the feeling of playing barefoot. Mesh takes us a step closer to doing that and the All Conditions Control finish keeps the mesh dry.” The Hypervenom also features a new foot last, removing excess materials to place the foot closer to the ground and the ball. It is Nike’s most anatomical last to date.
The chassis of the outsole features compressed nylon for a highresponse plate that helps deliver strength while being incredibly light. The stud configuration and length allows for faster penetration of the surface, and a quicker release – all innovations designed to help players create space faster. “It used to be about speed,” added Aik Leong Lim, Nike Football product director. “But besides the need to be quick, the player needs to be more agile in tight spaces, creating space and putting that ball in the net.” Nike also brought out the Hypervenom to American football while introducing a range of black signature boots across its key models. The Hypervenom is offered in tonal black with dark charcoal color blocking with a crimson Swoosh. The Nike Mercurial Vapor IX comes in black with a white swoosh and red color pop
Nike Hypervenom Soccer Boot
on the heel. The color updates also include the CTR 360 Maestri III and Tiempo Legend IV. All four football cleats feature Nike’s All Conditions Control (ACC) technology to handle wet and dry conditions. “We know that our players love to stand out on and off the field,” said McCartney. “That doesn’t always mean bright colors, sometimes reverting to a classic look is just as powerful a statement.” Under Armour is looking to build on the success of the Under Armour Highlight, its lightweight, high-top cleat. “A year later, we’ve seen that this product has redefined the expectations of the consumer and effectively created a new product silo,” said David Stakel, manager, cleated footwear, Under Armour. “Going into 2014, we will build on this success and continue to deliver game-changing innovations that empower athletes.” Updates include the Under Armour Cam Highlight MC, featuring its ultra-supportive, ankle-hugging CompFit sleeve to deliver a snug fit for an extra boost of speed. Integrated carbon fiber “wings” lock in the Under Armour Cam Highlight heel for maximum stabilMC ity and responsiveness. The full-length carbon and Pebax plate allow razor sharp cuts and explosive speed. For soccer, the Blur Carbon III, weighing just 6.25 oz., promises to offer some of the fastest cleats on the pitch. Features an engineered synthetic upper for fit, feel, and spatial awareness and an ultra-light lateral carbon “wings” that locks the player in for strong support.
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Down below, the 4D Foam molds to the foot preventing slippage and providing a custom fit. The light, low Micro G cushioning absorbs shock and adds comfort. Stakel said the overall design focus is more on touch and feel and how that is impacted by fit. Said Stakel, ”Using performance microfibers with unique stretch properties, we are providing an unprecedented experience. We've also added a rubberized texture on the surface to enhance ball control and feel. The goal is to build product that feels like a natural extension of the foot.” In 2014 Under Armour will introduce Clutch Fit a new material innovation for cleats. “ClutchFit wraps the athlete’s foot in a lightweight ‘second skin’ for powerful support and incredible feel,” said Stakel. “This innovation is designed to help our cleats feel like a natural extension of the athlete’s feet, while providing the support and performance that athlete’s expect from Under Armour.” A second innovation is the V56 plate, engineered to give focused support in the forefoot and limit hyperextension of the big toe while an athlete is attacking. For style, white based cleats, chrome that feeds flash and team colors continues to stand out in football cleats. For soccer, bright colors are showing no signs of going away. “Athletes are looking for lightweight product with great traction, support, and comfort,” said Stakel. “Of course, it has to look good as well.” Following in the line of the Predator, F50 and 11Pro lines, the Nitrocharge from Adidas is designed to retain energy, improve lateral movement, sharpen on-field reactions, deliver added sprinting power and increase protection for players on the move. The sole plate of the cleat contains a zigzag ENERGYPULSE, inspired by spring technology, with high-elastic material at its heart for added energy during the toe off phase of sprinting. Under Armour Blur Carbon III
The Nitrocharge represents the brand's first new soccer cleat silo since 2004's adizero F50 range. “Each Adidas cleat silo is engineered with a specific player in mind,” said Tor Southard, senior merchandise manager for Adidas Soccer. “Our goal is to make that player better by maximizing the key skills their game relies on. Whether it is adizero F50 and speed, 11Pro and touch, Nitrocharge and energy, or Predator and control, the goal is to give the player an advantage. Above and beyond the specific silo benefit, all Adidas product carries the badge of quality, craftsmanship, and superb fit.” Adidas also continues to play up unique colorways across its boot range. “Soccer players love to stand out,” said Southard. “A players’ footwear is the only personal choice he or she makes before walking on the field,” he said. “It’s a way of communicating your own personal style. It’s always about both innovation of product and of aesthetic, luckily for the player Adidas will innovate on both sides of this equation.” Diadora is introducing the DD-NA2 GLX 14, the second generation of the DD-NA GLX 14 and again marking the lightest shoe in their history. “It is a blend of technology and quality for players that appreciate ultra lightweight and softness,” said Johnny Alford, director of sales and product development at Golden Viking Sports, the holder of the U.S. licensee of Diadora. Diadora DD-NA2 GLX 14
Sergio Agüero wearing the Puma evoSPEED 1.2 FG
The difference between theDD-NA2 GLX 14 and other lightweight boots in the marketplace is the NET Breathing system in the forefoot of the outsole, Alford explained. The functional technology keeps players feet cooler and dry allowing them to reach peak performance levels. “Studies at the Diadora Research Centre showed that the load bearing structure of the GLX 14 sole with integrated cup provide higher stability to the foot during both thrust and flexion phases thanks to the beam structure that proportionally distributes flexion strength,” said Alford. The two colors for Spring 2014 pay homage to the Italian heritage of Diadora and its National Team as well as being hosts of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil. At Puma, the evoSPEED 1.2 FG is designed to facilitate enhanced maneuverability and enables players to reach top speeds quickly while maintaining stability and comfort. It’s fitted with the speedCELL technology that allows the boot to have a monolayer microfiber, which increases flexibility and reduces weight. The EverFit cage in the boot creates a snug midfoot fit. A combination of the Pebax outsole with the bladed and conical studs enhances stability for the heel and freedom during forefoot rotation. The upper features an extremely thin 3D film for ball grip even in wet conditions. Following its entry into the soccer boot category with the Skreamer at the end of
2012, Warrior is coming back with a new control boot series, the Gambler, for all playing surfaces. Headlining the Gambler range is the Gambler Pro featuring a specially crafted Ace Plate on the boot’s instep to enhance passing dexterity. It also features a High Roller rotator zone for bending balls while an embossed Outsider zone located on the boot’s outer tip offers quick draw precision. The checkerboard Tech Mesh outer enhances on-pitch visibility. Lightweight and supple yet still hardwearing, the mesh covers a welded Safe House foot cage for protection. The Gambler Pro is configured in two sole plate options: a Full House hybrid Warrior Gambler Pro
stud and blade outsole for mixed ground acceleration, and a Loaded Deck 17 blade outsole for firm ground comfort. “We’re continuing to strengthen our position in football with the addition of the Gambler,” said Richard Wright, global head of Warrior Football, a division of New Balance. “The Gambler range is exceptional and will allow Warrior to equip a new legion of players with the means to take control.” ■
26 OCTOBER 2013
Equipped for Success
Football, Basketball and Soccer players will have the most advanced equipment at their disposal in 2014. SGB previews key protective gear, field equipment, balls and accessories that will be available at retail next year.
By Fernando J. Delgado
Head Start: 2014 Football Equipment The protective category in football has seen a noticeable shift upwards in average selling prices over the past decade, as awareness regarding concussions and serious head injuries has become an emphasis in the sport. Despite shrinking athletic budgets and a sluggish economy tightening spending of disposable income for families, business is still strong for sporting goods in general, and football protective equipment specifically. Quite simply, players and their parents are spending more to get the best protection to safeguard against serious injuries. This means big business and enticing profit margins for retailers and team dealers. It also provides an opportunity for sellers to provide quality customer service that makes a difference in the safety and health of the football players coming to them for help picking out equipment. “One of the key trends we’ve seen from a retail standpoint is that consumers – whether it’s parents or players – are doing their research and are willing to spend more on protective equipment,” stated Michael Oller, VP, consumer products at Riddell, Inc. “They’re asking questions, they’re more educated, they want to know what features are out there that they could incorporate or purchase within their helmet. So that’s a good thing for us as a manufacturer. An educated consumer is really what we’re looking for as we move forward. We want to connect that consumer with our innovations as we come out with helmets. We saw that this year more than in years past.” Helmets and shoulder pads are the two most vital equipment pieces for football players, and they also represent the highest price tags and margins for sellers. The balance between finding the right amount of protection with the best fit, performance and level of comfort is the challenge that all equipment manufacturers strive to find with their products. Next year will be another step forward, as leading brands, including Riddell, Schutt and Xenith offer the safest and best-performing helmets, shoulder pads, and protective accessories to date.
“As far as what players are looking for, they’re more in tune with protection,” said Moller. “They want those features from a protective standpoint, but they also want comfort and fit. With rule changes in football, they want to make sure that their helmets are staying on, and they want to feel comfortable in those helmets. We [at Riddell] are fortunate enough to have products that appeal to those players, and we’ve seen the success around that.”
which is that little knob on the back of the player’s head. It really cradles the back of the head and stabilizes the helmet, keeping the helmet secure so it can do its job.” The improved fit of the 360 is especially important for youth league and high school players, as rule changes require players to be removed from play if their
According to Moller, Riddell’s two most successful helmets are the Riddell 360 and the Riddell Speed. “Both helmets are the highest level of protection that we offer,” he stated. “The player is getting a great protective helmet. In addition, both of those helmets have overliners, which consist of a material that lines the liners of the helmet, for comfort and fit. The 360 also has an additional inflation point at the back that locks in the player’s head a little better, with the enhanced occipital lock,
helmet falls off or becomes dislodged. The 360 helps players’ stay on the field, as its fit and stability ensures that their helmets don’t fall off during play. According to Moller, Riddell will have five different youth helmet models for 2014 ranging in price from $100 up to $300 at retail, with each model designed specifically for different levels of play. “Whether the player is a young beginner, or an experienced junior high player, we have a lot of different models that fit the particular needs of that player,” he shared. At Schutt, technology is melded with striking colors and helmet designs.
Schutt’s Vengeance DCT Elite Helmet, set to retail at $255, is its newest helmet. The DCT, which stands for Dual Compression Technology, combines Schutt’s 5th generation of TPU Cushioning. The TPU contains duromeSchutt Vengeance ters that are specifically designed DCT Elite Helmet to absorb high- and low-velocity impacts, highlighting just a few of the many technological features of the helmet. Another new helmet from Schutt is the adult AiR XP Pro, one of the lightest helmets on the market, and the only traditional standoff helmet left on the market for a retail price of $225. Schutt will also feature several youth models, including the Recruit Hybrid, $90, XP Hybrid, $90, Vengeance DCT Hybrid +, $115, and Youth AiR XP Pro, $190, among others. “Everyone is always looking for lighter and stronger,” Schutt AiR XP Pro said Glenn Beckmann, director of marketing communications for Schutt Sports. “We’re always looking into new polymers and new materials that we can make helmets and faceguards from. We just introduced a newly engineered polymer padding for some of our youth helmets called D3O. Everyone’s looking for that balance between lightweight and the best protection.” Beckmann also shared some interesting observations regarding other notable trends in the protective equipment category. “One of the negative trends that we see are third-party products that are being promoted to be put on or in helmets,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many times a week I get an email from a company saying, ‘We have the solution to the concussion problem. Put padding on the outside of the helmet.’ It’s been tried in the past, and it’s failed. There’s been no scientific research or scientifically valid data that says that those items actually enhance the performance of the helmet. With the potential risks involved with altering our helmets’ configuration, we strongly recommend against using it. But there are still a lot of companies trying to take advantage of the situation involving head injuries and concussions. We don’t want to discourage innovation, but what we want these third party product developers to do is make sure that they are telling their customers all of the potential consequences. Alteration to the configuration of a helmet may void the warranty on the helmet and can void the NOCSAE certification, for example. That would make the helmet illegal to use in the vast majority of organized football.” Despite some of the drawbacks to companies trying to take shortcuts to solve the concussion issue, technology remains a force for progress that is helping football become safer. “One trend that’s auxiliary to equipment is the collection of data surrounding
28 OCTOBER 2013
head impacts,” commented Beckmann. “Where the impact is occurring, how hard the impact is, how many impacts is a player at a particular age level experiencing during the course of a game, a week of practice or a season. I think that is a very beneficial trend, because ultimately that data will help everyone involved figure out how to design better helmets and how to approach diagnosing and recognizing head injuries a little bit better.” Shoulder pads are another essential protective category for football players that require manufacturers to find the perfect balance between the best protection and the lightest, most comfortable performance capabilities. Riddell’s shoulder pads for 2014 will be available in three distinct levels: Varsity, JV, and Youth. Varsity level shoulder pads are led by the Custom Power CPK and the Power SPK pads, which carry catalog-listing prices of $435 and $299, respectively. “Our shoulder pad line continues to grow, and it mirrors what we’ve done with our helmets,” shared Riddell’s Moller. “We’re creating products that fit the needs of players. Our elite level shoulder pads - branded under ‘Power’ Riddell CPK – are the ones you see at the NFL and college levels. We’ve taken some notes and some leads off the Power shoulder pads and brought those features down to the youth and junior varsity levels. Things like flat pad construction, air management materials, and corrugated caps, epaulets, and arches. So when you get specific to shoulder pads, we have a broad, strong line that has pads that are the ‘children’ of our Power line of varsity pads. That ties back to what the players are looking for – they’re looking for protection, but they’re also looking for performance. Years ago, Riddell was established as a protective company. But over the past several years, and now more than ever, we’re leaning towards performance and protection, and we’ve adopted the tagline of ‘Protect and Perform’. The athlete is looking for both, and they’re looking to Riddell for both.” With their shoulder pads, Riddell has emphasized flat pad construction that keeps the pads tighter, and that also provides players with a better range of motion, all without sacrificing protection. “Our shoulder pads have been modernized, and not only do they look cool, but players really enjoy wearing them because it gives them that ability to perform at a very high level,” said Moller.
Schutt AiR Maxx Flex 2.0
Schutt O2 Pro
Schutt’s shoulder pads for 2014 are highlighted by the AiR Maxx Flex 2.0 and O2 Pro. The AiR Maxx Flexx 2.0, with a retail price of $300, features Triple Shoulder Protection, combining TPU, Energy Lock Technology with D3O and a clavicle channel system. This state-of-the-art pad will be available in four arch styles -Skill, QB/WR, All Purpose and OL/DL – as well as in several custom colors and configurations. The O2 Pro, priced at $240, is a new body style and lighter than the AiR Maxx Flex 2.0. The O2 Pro is the most breathable shoulder pad in Schutt’s line as a result of O2 Windows and a perforated body cushion. Several protective accessories, such as padded apparel, braces, sleeves, and mouthguards will highlight 2014 lines from various leading brands, including Wilson, Under Armour,
Under Armour will introduce its thinnest and lightest protection system with the Game Day Armour Girdle and Game Day Short Sleeve Baselayer for men with a retail price of $75. Both pieces meet NFHS
Under Armour Game Day Armour Girdle
Under Armour Game Day Short Sleeve Baselayer
Adidas, Schutt and Riddell, and from companies more rooted in sports medicine and protective performance gear such as Shock Doctor, EvoShield, Pro-Tec and Cramer. Wilson’s new introductions in protective apparel and accessories for 2014 focus heavily on technology. Its new line of GST (Game Saving Technology) Football Protective Apparel features patent-pending Double Density compression molded pads that are designed for specific areas of the body. Wilson designed a hard EVA foam outer layer to disburse hits across the top of the pad, with a softer inner layer of the pad against the body to absorb the impact. The line is led by the GST Double Density 5 Pad Football Girdle, which will retail for $70. Wilson’s GST line of football gloves feature patentpending TackTech 3D Palm Technology and one of the Wilson GST Double Density most advanced designs in 5 Pad Football football gloves in more than a Girdle decade. The GST glove line includes three different models designed for specific player positions on Wilson GST Trench the field: the GST Trench for OL and DL, which will retail for $45 and have 3D grabbers designed to grab and handle a players jersey; GST Big Skill for LB, TE and DE, which will retail $50 and are defined by a combo palm for both ball handling and tackling; and the GST Skill for WR, RB and DB, set to retail at $55 and specialized for ball handling.
standards and feature compression in the form of an ultra-tight, second-skin fit that keeps football players’ muscles fresh and their recovery time fast. “Accessories are a big part of our retail business,” said Riddell’s Moller. “Chin straps are especially important, as they are tied directly with the helmet. In 2013, we rolled out a new chin strap called the TCP (True Curve Protection). “It’s really a hybrid of a soft cup chin strap and a hard cup chin strap. It has the fit of a soft cup, with the shell protection of a hard cup. This was also in response to the helmet rule changes, as players wanted the fit of a soft cup to keep the helmet secure. We look at it as an opportunity to create a new chin strap different than anything else on the market. If the helmet stays on the head, the player stays in the game, and the player stays protected. The TCP Chin Strap is allowing us to excel in that area.” Moller also anticipates strong programs and sell-through of Riddell’s padded apparel. “Riddell’s launch of padded apparel really resonated with the consumer. We’ve seen the brand grow from just helmets and shoulder pads, and now we have accessories and apparel. We’re expanding our reach at retail, and that’s really exciting for us. Shock Doctor, meanwhile, seeks to remain a leader in sports protection and performance in 2014 by continuing to innovate through technology. The company will launch its Ultra Pro Chin Strap in Fall 2014 at a retail price of $25. The Ultra Pro is designed
for comfort and performance, is lightweight and extremely durable. The strap features Airflow cooling channels that release Shock Doctor Ultra Pro Chin Strap heat for a comfortable playing experience without sacrificing protection. “Football players on every level and every age rely on chin straps to protect them from impacts from opponent's shoulder pads and helmets," said Tony Armand, Shock Doctor’s CEO. “With its Triple Grip No-Slip snaps, the Ultra Pro Chin Strap reduces the possibility that a helmet will come off during play after a hard hit, so players will perform better feeling confident in their level of helmet protection.” McDavid will bring sleek new protective apparel to the market next year, led by the 7932 Hex Sleeveless Shirt / 5-pad and 737 Hex Thudd Short. The Hex Sleeveless Shirt / 5-pad will retail at
McDavid Hex Sleeveless Shirt / 5-pad
McDavid 737 Hex Thudd Short
$80 Adult/$70 Youth, and uses strategically positioned 9mm Hex Technology to protect the critical areas of the shoulders, ribs and spine. The Hex Thudd Short, priced at $65 adult/$60 youth, also features Hex Technology and is designed to adjust to a football player’s movement for continuous protection at the hips, tailbone and thighs. Zamst’s main football protect for 2014 is the ZK-7 Knee Support. The ZK-7, with a retail price of $80, is the strongest knee support for moderate to severe sprains of the ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL. The item’s ExoTech QUAD provides 4-way ligament Zamst support with resin stays to ZK-7 Knee support medial and lateral Support stability as well as x-strap and parallel straps for effective anterior and posterior stability to the ACL/ PCL. The ZK-7’s i-Fit technology provides a semiopen design to deliver an individualized fit to help prevent slipping, while the flyweight lightweight material fabrication designed with V-Tech flow through ventilation enhances cooling while in motion. Cramer Product’s Thunder 7 Girdle is a premium protective apparel piece, retailing for around $38, featuring permanently attached hip, tail, thigh and knee
pads. The 7-pad integrated girdle also features hard thigh pads made from Cramer’s new Spider Web EVA foam, and reinforced with high impact plastic shells for maximum protection. EvoShield’s 2014 football protective line offers new items including its Padded Protective Arm Sleeve at $30 retail. Made with performance compression fabric for maximum breathability and support, the sleeve keeps blood circulating throughout the game and promotes faster muscle recovery. The Hybrid Pro Rib Shirt and Hybrid Pro Girdle, $90 and $85, respectively, are available in adult and youth sizes. Both are designed to protect the ribs, legs and hips of NFL athletes, providing the combination of lightweight performance and maximum protection. All EvoShield football protective apparel will be available at big box and specialty sporting goods retailers and various online retailers. In the Balls Category, ever-improving materials will be found in footballs that will be available from several brands. Spalding will bring the TF-SB1 Football to market. With a retail
Cramer Product’s Thunder 7 Girdle
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EvoShield Padded Protective Arm Sleeve
EvoShield Hybrid Pro Rib Shirt
EvoShield Hybrid Pro Girdle
USA|MADE Spalding TF-SB1 Football
price of $100, the TF-SB1 incorporates exclusive Spiral Balance Technology, which leads to tighter and more accurate passes. This ball utilizes a lighter color than most traditional footballs for improved visibility, while its Horween “S” tack leather cover creates an improved grip. Wilson is excited to offer its GST Football in 2014, which will be available at leading big box retailers, team dealers and directly from the manufacturer. “As far as footballs are concerned, our highlight item is still the GST (Game Saving Technology) football that is the number one selling leather game football,” said Craig Kopash, business director, American football, Wilson. “The GST offers our exclusive GST leather that uses less tanning to allow more tack to come to the surface and a deeper pebble. The GST also offers the patented ACL (Accurate Control Lacing) and patented sewn-on composite stripes.” During 2012, Wilson tested with eight select FBS level colleges a Wilson Prestige Program that allowed the schools to build their ball from the ground up. “You may have seen these footballs used on the field by Notre Dame as they made their National Championship run or by Texas A&M and their quarterback’s award-filled year,” commented Kopash. “This year we expanded the program to 20 schools and for 2014 it will be open to all college programs.” He added that those testing colleges were able to select from two different patterns, the exclusive Wilson Pro Pattern or the Collegiate/High School pattern. Wilson also opened up the color options on all brand identities on the GST for the first time, and allowed schools up to three colors to match the brand logo and valve panels to their school colors. Teams can also choose their own logo in foil colors on the third panel. The GST football features sizing that is unique and exclusive to the brand. “Wilson is the only company that offers two sizes in the GST and Traditional lines that conform to NCAA and NHFS standards,” continued Kopash. “We offer not only the smaller 1003/1005/1205 pattern balls that are made to the smallest specs of the NCAA and NHFS rules, but Wilson is also the only company that can offer the NFL pattern ball in a stripped NCAA/HS ball -1001 and 1004. This is especially important for quarterbacks with larger hands or players looking to transition to the NFL.” The GST football’s patented sewn-on composite stripe boasts 82 percent more grip than traditional laces, while its ACL system makes the ball’s laces 174 more gripable than traditional laces or the latigo lace system used in NFL game footballs. Wilson’s Standard GST Football will retail at $70, while the Prestige GST will sell for $130. Wilson Prestige GST
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Hooping It Up: 2014 Basketball Equipment When it comes to protective equipment, basketball players playing on the hardwood are the polar opposite of football players on the gridiron. Whereas football players are armed to the teeth with protective gear, basketball players wear a minimal amount of gear less over and under their uniforms. Chris Barry, a sales associate at The Sports Authority in Nottingham, MD, interacts with athletes on the sales floor year-round and shared his observations. “The primary basketball equipment that people come in for, aside from shoes, are knee braces and balls,” said Barry. “We do have some sleeves; most of the sleeves that we have are from McDavid, and they have padding on the elbows. Those are actually huge sellers.” The sleeve category has taken off in recent years for basketball players, representing a trend started by NBA players. “I think they sell well because most of the kids playing basketball are going for what looks good,” stated Barry. “They’re not going for protection with sleeves, to be honest. They want what looks good, and what is in. What really helps sleeves, especially those from McDavid, is that they give players support in their arms, and they help blood flow, especially with compression. And if they do fall on the court, the padding helps prevent bruises and the player won’t be hurt as badly.” McDavid’s newest sleeve for 2014 is the McDavid 6500 6500 Hex Shooter Arm Sleeve. Set to retail Hex Shooter Arm Sleeve at $20 and available in four colors, the Hex Shooter utilizes 9mm Hex Technology positioned at the elbow and arm compression that maintains muscle warmth and prevents abrasions and scratches. The machine washable and dryable sleeve includes hDc Moisture Management Technology to keep basketball players cool and dry. Shock Doctor’s leading sleeve will be the Velocity Shockskin Basketball Arm Sleeve. Retailing at $30, the Velocity Shockskin sleeve is lightweight and breathable. Technological features include Pure-Vent direct ventilation that amplifies airflow throughout padded areas, in addition to variable stretch materials that allow for unrestricted arm and elbow movement. “Honestly, I think that kids seeing NBA players wearing sleeves is the biggest reason for sleeves selling well,” continued Barry. “The bottom line is that they look good. Players might say that sleeves help them out shooting the ball, and Shock compression sleeves do help with blood flow, but college and Doctor NBA players who wear sleeves today influence a majority of Velocity kids. They’re trying to look good.” Shockskin Basketball Arm Mouthguards are a popular protective accessory with basSleeve ketball players, who are always cognizant of protecting themselves against inadvertent flailing elbows. “Shock Doctor, with the Nano Double Mouthguard, usually sells well for us, and we expect them to lead the way in 2014,” observed Barry. Shock Doctor’s basketball mouthguards for 2014 are highlighted by the Basketball STC Mouthguard, in addition to the Nano Double Mouthguard called out by The Sports Authority’s Barry. The Basketball STC retails for $20 and is fully equipped with a gel-fit liner for a snug, comfortable mold to an athlete’s
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Shock Doctor Basketball STC Mouthguard
Shock Doctor Nano Double Mouthguard
teeth. The Nano Double, priced at $25, is a dual-arch, low profile mouthguard designed to amplify upper and lower jaw protection. It is also equipped with Shock Doctor’s Tri-Bite and MORA technology for a comfortable, correctly positioned bite. Pro-Tec will be helping basketball players
Pro-Tec Gel Force Ankle Support
Pro-Tec Gel Force Knee Support
protect their legs and feet with two new products, among several other protective items offered by the Redmond, WA-based sports medicine manufacturer. Pro-Tec’s Gel Force Knee Support is a great sports medicine piece for basketball players – as well as athletes in any other sport - recovering from knee injuries or looking for extra support and protection The Gel Force Knee Support retails for $30. Medical applications for the support include PatelloFemoral pain syndrome, Patellar tracking, chondromalacia, and minor meniscus and ligament tears. The company’s Gel Force Ankle Support is essential for players suffering from ankle sprains, basketball’s most widespread injury. “The Gel Force Ankle Support is made with breathable material, fits like a sock, and provides compression and medial and lateral support,” said Jennie Habersetzer, marketing and sales at Pro-Tec Athletics. “It’s common for basketball players to wear, and it fits nicely in a basketball shoe.” Pro-Tec items can be found at specialty running and sporting goods stores. Cramer Products’ Performance Shorts are ideal for basketball players to wear
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under their uniform or practice shorts to improve their game. Retailing at $60, the shorts consist of high stretch panels that provide compression and support to core muscle groups during intense activity. In addition, abdominal support panels also provide compression to core muscle groups, while the seamless side panel construction offers comfort. When it comes to basketballs, a few notable models are expected to Cramer Products’ be hot for 2014. “There are a couple Performance Shorts basketballs that we expect to sell well in 2014,” said Barry. “The Spalding TF1000 Classic Adult Basketball comes to mind first. I’ve probably had three or four high school coaches come in and buy six or seven balls. It has a microfiber composite so the leather’s going to be better, the ball Spalding TF1000 Classic is longer lasting, and the bladder is Adult Basketball better because it holds more air. The bounce is supposed to be great with that particular ball.” Aside from Spalding, Wilson, Adidas, and Nike, Barry singled out Under Armour as a brand rapidly gaining market share and popularity in the basketball category. “Under Armour is going to be one of the biggest companies soon, especially in basketball and football. Everything that they’re doing Under Armour 495 Indoor/ now is tremendous,” he explained. Outdoor Basketball “Nike’s going to outpace Under Armour in shoes, but when it comes to apparel, balls, and some equipment, Under Armour is going to be up there.” The Under Armour 495 Indoor/ Outdoor Basketball, which retails for $30 and can be found at all major big box retailers, is expected to be a big seller in 2014. Barry added that Under Armour’s rapid rise can be attributed to effective marketing, persistent brand-building, and desirable products that resonate with consumers. According to Barry, price points for basketballs have stayed fairly consistent in the mid- and midto-upper range over the past few years. “The Spalding TF1000 is going to be about $70. But then you also the Spalding NeverFlat Ball, Spalding NeverFlat Ball which is also a great ball and stays inflated about 10 times longer than any other ball, retailing for $55,” he said. “I would say any ball from around $40 to about
$80 would be considered the mid-to-upper end price point range. That’s compared to the official NBA leather basketball, which sells for $150. That ball would be the high end.” In the field equipment category, players can turn to training hoops to improve their shooting. Goalrilla, a leader in sports training equipment, will have the CV 60 Basketball System available at Dick’s Sporting Goods and specialty retailers nationwide. With a retail price of about $1400, the CV 60 is capable of handling over 1000 pounds of vertical torque to the rim. It is constructed with a one-piece steel pole for strength, as well as an all-steel, precise height adjustment, from 7 ½ feet to 10 feet.
Goalrilla CV 60 Basketball System
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Just for Kicks: 2013 Soccer Equipment Soccer players will also benefit from increasingly advanced equipment, whether in the form of shin guards, balls, soccer goals, or protective accessories. Unlike hardgoods in other sports, shin guards remain a more functional necessity that depends less on technological features than other higher-priced protective pieces. “Depending on the player’s age and what level they’re playing in, shin guards can help tremendously,” shared The Sports Authority’s Barry. “If you’re from age 15 to about 20, playing club ball or high school, you’re not going to need anything too protective, unless you injured your ankle or you really want to protect yourself. Most of the time, soccer players just put on something simple that covers a little of the shin, and they run. Kids in Europe use cardboard and put that on their shins and go running.” Barry observed that one shin guard in particular that a lot of people have been buying for kids ages 10 and below is the Nike Youth Charge Shin Guards, which retails for about $15. “Most people are loyal to brands, whether they like Nike or they like Adidas,” he stated. “But if somebody appreciates the sport as much as the avid players do, they will go for what’s best for them. I’m a serious player, and I used to
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love Adidas shoes. But since I’ve gotten older, I’ve switched over to Nike, and I also switched to Umbro cleats when I was 14. Every brand fits a little differently. Nike cleats and shin guards fit more narrowly on the foot and leg, where compared to Adidas, which have a more natural fit. Adidas shin guards will provide more coverage than Nike shin guards, and they will cover a majority of the leg, instead of just the shin.” Oftentimes, shin guard purchases are made with affordability in mind, especially for younger players. It’s not until players get older and more serious that shin guard purchases and preferences may get more specialized, but even then, most soccer players see shin guards as a basic necessity, and not an item that they expect performance or technologically advanced protection from. “I’m also a coach, and with most of the kids that I know, their parents will buy them the cheapest shin guards and the cheapest cleats, and they just go out and play,” said Barry. “Even players who play club and travel soccer, they’re usually going for something that covers most of the shin, that they can fit easily under their socks, and get cleared by the referees so that they can play.” The men's Adidas Nitrocharge Pro Shin Guards, with a retail price of $20, should be a big seller for next year. Designed with a light and flexible shield, these shin guards feature an easy slip-in construction and compression fabric that helps support blood flow. A compression sleeve supports blood flow back to the body center, while Adidas Nitrocharge Pro soft synthetic lining makes these guards Shin Guards comfortable. Wilson’s NCAA Forte Shin Guard, retailing for $25, will be a key new shin guard for 2014. This NCAAbranded guard has a comfort fit Lycra sleeve with power band enhancements for added compression and muscle circulation with
a removable inner shell. NOCSAE approved, the NCAA Forte is available in 3 sizes dictated by player height. Franklin Sports will ofWilson’s NCAA fer a high performing, afForte Shin fordable shin guard with its Guard MLS Premier Shin Guards. Priced at $20, the MLS Premiers feature an air tube enhanced shell that increases abrasion resistance and impact resistance. Its adjustable straps conform to leg size while poly backing enhances comfort and feel, and a detachable ankle pad with comfort stirrup ensures a proper and customized fit. Storelli Sports is an emerging manufacturer that will be offering premium soccer equipment in 2014. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Storelli Sports is the first and only Storelli Sports ExoShield brand dedicated to Headguard soccer protective-wear. Storelli’s signature item is the ExoShield Headguard, a potentially groundbreaking guard that helps protect against impacts to the head. Set to retail at online specialty retailers for about $60, the ExoShield is the most protective soccer headguard on the market, worn by world-class professional players in English Premier League and
Champions League. It has outperformed traditional headguards in scientific protection testing and reduces the effect of G-forces by over 50 percent, with a cool design that avoids the traditional “helmet” look. The ExoShield incorporates the same lightweight opencell viscoelastic foam used in combat-grade military helmet liners, and is constructed specifically for soccer with best-in-class materials to provide superior impact absorption, temperature control, breathability and comfort. Storelli will also have its BodyShield Leg Guards as a feature item for next year. With a $40 price tag, the BodyShield Leg Guards feature highperformance Poron XRD polyurethane foam for maximum protection from impact and abrasion. It also includes advanced anti-microbial treatment, which reduces the risk of infections. These guards are also flexible and comfortable, as its unique padding design and placement enhances mobility Storelli Sports without compromising protection. BodyShield Leg Guards Zamst will be helping soccer players reinforce, protect and recover better than ever with their support technology. One of Zamst’s key items in soccer is the TS-1 Compression Thigh Support, which will retail at $50. The TS-1 provides compressive muscular support for the thigh muscles – the quadriceps, adductors and hamstrings. It’s Zamst TS-1 Compression i-Fit technology allows for easy applicaThigh Support tion and adjustable two-way compression for enhanced comfort and concentrated muscle support, and the support’s anatomical design ensures a customized fit, superior support and excellent heat retention. Pro-Tec will offer several premium sports medicine items for soccer players dealing with injuries and pain. Pro-Tec’s Ankle Wrap, about $19, has a form-fitting neoprene sleeve for compression, making it an excellent treatment for ankle sprains. White straps can be wrapped Pro-Tec Ankle Wrap around as tightly as necessary for additional support. The Knee Pro-Tec Patellar Tendon Strap, which can be used for any sport and is priced at $17, is especially useful for soccer players. It provides targeted compression to the base of the patellar tendon to stabilize the knee so the joint can track correctly. The strap is most often used for pain centrally located around the patella or kneecap, an especially for patellar tendonitis and Osgood-Schlatters disease. Pro-Tec Patellar Tendon Strap
Goalrilla Gamemaker Soccer Goal
For field equipment, Goalrilla will have goals and training systems to help soccer players hone their shooting skills. Brand new is the Goalrilla Gamemaker Soccer Goal line, an innovative line of air-pressurized, durable and transportable soccer goals. The Gamemaker gives soccer players the ability to pump up a sturdy goal, which reaches its full size in 90 seconds, and repli- Goalrilla Striker Trainer cates the authentic play of a traditional steel goal. Depending on the goal size, the retail price ranges from $180 to $700. Goalrilla’s Striker Trainer, $350, is a double-sided soccer goal for strengthening essential soccer skills, as well as shooting and scoring potential for players of all ages. Both the Gamemaker and Striker Trainer will be available at soccer specialty retailers, on-line at Goalrilla.com and at other sporting goods stores. Several cool soccer balls will be available for 2014. “I personally like the Wembley Ball from Adidas,” shared Barry. “Nike will have the Incyte, which includes the La Liga and Series A versions, and those will be some of the biggest sellers, because kids love playing with the balls used by the pros.” The NCAA Forte FYbrid Premium Match Ball from Wilson is another key soccer ball for 2014. Retailing at $120, the NCAA Forte FYbrid is the official ball of the NCAA Soccer Championships. Both NCAA and FIFA approved and available in four colors, it boasts Fused Panel Technology, which minimizes water and moisture intake, making it both highperforming and durable in all kinds of game conditions. Adidas will be rolling out the Finale Lisbon OMB Ball at retail for $150. Rigorously tested to Wilson NCAA Forte FYbrid Premium receive the highest FIFA Match Ball rating, the Finale Lisbon OMB is the official match ball for the UEFA 2014 Champions League tournament. Technology is a point of emphasis with this ball, as it is thermally bonded with a seamless surface for superior touch and low water uptake. It also has a Adidas Finale Lisbon OMB Ball butyl bladder for best air retention. Once again, the trend of young players drawing inspiration from their favorite professional players has led to big demand for pro-style equipment. “Kids want to look like they’re playing with a professional ball,” said The Sports Authority’s Barry. ■
For full year calendar go to sportsonesource.com/events
The Retailing Summit Dallas, TX
Sport Source Asia Hong Kong
NASGW Expo Grapevine, TX
NBS Fall Athletic Market Austin, TX
TAG Fall/Winter Show St. Louis, MO
A.D.A. Fall Show San Antonio, TX
Sports Inc. Athletic Show Las Vegas, NV
EORA SE Winter Market Asheville, NC
WWSRA NW Early Preview Seattle, WA
MRA December Market Lansing, MI
4-6 FFANY New York, NY 10-11
EORA FLA Winter Market Punta Gorda, FL
10-11 WWSRA NorCal Early Preview TBA 11-12
Atlanta Shoe Market Atlanta, GA
JANUARY 2014 6-8
ATA Show Nashville, TN
MWSRA January Show Madison, WI
WWSRA Rocky Mtn Preview Denver, CO
WWSRA Northwest Preview Portland, OR
Surf Expo Orlando, FL
WWSRA Intermountain Preview Salt Lake City, UT
38 OCTOBER 2013
WWSRA NorCal Early Preview Reno, NV
SHOT Show Las Vegas, NV
NBS Winter-Specialty Market Fort Worth, TX
Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show Las Vegas, NV
Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) Long Beach, CA
21 ORWM Demo Day TBA 22-25
Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Salt Lake City, UT
SIA Snow Show Denver, CO
SIA On-Snow Demo Copper Mountain, CO
SIA Nordic Demo Copper Mountain, CO
FFANY New York, NY
Sports Inc. Outdoor Show Phoenix, AZ
NBS Semi-Annual Market Fort Worth, TX
EORA SE February Show Greenville, SC
Worldwide Spring Show Reno, NV
MWSRA February Show Madison, WI MWSRA New Model Demo Hastings, MN
Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) Atlantic City, NJ
Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) Orlando, FL
TRADE ASSOCIATIONS | BUYING GROUPS
CALENDAR Athletic Dealers of America 1395 Highland Avenue Melbourne, FL 32935 t 321.254.0091 f 321.242.7419 athleticdealersofamerica.com National Shooting Sports Foundation Flintlock Ridge Office Center 11 Mile Hill Road Newtown, CT 06470 t 203.426.1320 f. 203.426.1087 nssf.org National Sporting Goods Association 1601 Feehanville Drive / Suite 300 Mount Prospect, IL 60056 t 847.296.6742 f 847.391.9827 nsga.org Nationâ€™s Best Sports 4216 Hahn Blvd. Ft. Worth, TX 76117 t 817.788.0034 f 817.788.8542 nbs.com Outdoor Industry Association 4909 Pearl East Circle / Suite 300 Boulder, CO 80301 t 303.444.3353 f 303.444.3284 outdoorindustry.org Sports & Fitness Industry Association 8505 Fenton St., Suite 211 Silver Spring, MD 20910 t 301.495.6321 f 301.495.6322 sfia.org Snow Sports Industries America 8377-B Greensboro Drive McLean, VA 22102 t 703.556.9020 f 703.821.8276 snowsports.org Sports, Inc. 333 2nd Avenue North Lewistown, MT 59457 t 406.538.3496 f 406.538.2801 sportsinc.com Sports Specialists Ltd. 590 Fishers Station Drive / Suite 110 Victor, NY 14564 t 585.742.1010 f 585.742.2645 sportsspecialistsltd.com Team Athletic Goods 629 Cepi Drive Chesterfield, MO 63005 t 636.530.3710 f 636.530.3711 tag1.com Worldwide 8211 South 194th Kent, WA 98032 t 253.872.8746 f 253.872.7603 wdi-wdi.com
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Danny Abshire Co-Founder & Chief Technical Officer Newton Running
Pee Wee football was awesome as a running back, wide receiver and kickoff/punt returner - running fast and making moves to fake out tacklers. Also middle school track - what a blast! I remember my first pair of track spikes on a cinder track surface in the mid 1960â€™s. What a rush to run as fast as you could. What were your favorite sports as a kid?
Proudest athletic moment?
Scoring four touchdowns in one
What did you want to be when you grew up? Seeing Jean Claude Kelly win several gold medals in the 1968 Winter Olympics, I wanted to be an Olympic skier - or a pro football player.
Picking up range balls at a local golf course, which prompted me to save that money and buy my first set of golf clubs and take up the sport. First job?
How did you find your way to the running industry? After working in the ski industry for 10 years in Aspen, my wife and I moved to Boulder in 1988 and started Active Imprints, a running store that specialized in lightweight custom foot supports, running shoes, gait analysis and running form adjustments. In 2010 we merged Active Imprints with Newton Running to form the Newton Running Lab concept store in downtown Boulder. Who do you consider your career mentors? Working with the original technology in 2003 that later became Newton Running, I was encouraged by my business partner Jerry Lee to pursue the manufacturability of the Newton Running shoe. I had the pleasure
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to meet and work with Bob Taylor, a material specialist and footwear developer from Portland, OR who mentored me in the advanced development process for the Newton technology. Over the next three years we were able to take the idea of a more level profile running shoe with an advanced technology, shock absorption, leverage and recoil to the initial line of eight SKUs by 2007. Between Jerry, Jennifer and Bob, they all encouraged and supported me to never give up if you truly feel what you are doing is unique and helpful to the runner and the running industry. Do you have a turning point in your career? Before the launch of the company in 2007, we had to decide if we were going to talk about running efficiency. Over 15 years had been devoted to the technology and running efficiency via various testing processes. We decided to be the first brand to discuss and show videos online of how a runner could adjust their running movements to become more efficient and a shoe line that supported that running style. We called it Natural Running. I later wrote a book with the same name. The idea is to have runners running more Naturally on unnatural surfaces.
What do you like about working in the running industry? I have been running my entire life and have been a run-form coach since 1992. I love helping runners have a better experience and with my work in the industry, I now get to do that all over the country and world on a weekly basis.
Work on projects around my house and create yard art, and enjoy a relaxing run.
What do you do for fun?
What activities do you participate in now?
I love mountain trail running year round as it is quiet, challenging and offers amazing views. I play golf with some of my fellow workers and we totally have a blast with lots of laughs that goes with the challenge to master the skill. Colorado also offers some of the best snow skiing in the world, and I enjoy both hitting the slopes and skate skiing. Name one hobby the industry may be sur-
I really enjoy art, and try to find the time to paint one piece a year - abstract art and bright color are my favorite. Wherever I travel I try to visit art studios or shows to see new styles and ideas of young artists.
prised to know about you?
Winter Market JANUARY 22-25, 2014 All Mountain Demo JANUARY 21, 2014
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Summer Market AUGUST 6-9, 2014 Open Air Demo AUGUST 5, 2014
42 OCTOBER 2013