Ted Kushion, our Running Footwear Merchandise Manger, weighs in on the latest running footwear trends:
Dear Fellow Runners and Running Shoe Enthusiasts,
One of the scariest things for a running shoe company’s designers is taking something they’ve built a huge following around and having to take a leap of faith on a new innovation. Every shoe vendor does its due diligence to ensure that the past 18 months of research, design, testing, re-designing and re-testing pays off. Then, it is hoped that the day the shoes hit stores’ stockrooms the sales staff will try them on and say… “WHOA!” That’s when you know you have a winner.
In 2015 – and as we begin 2016 – many of the “whoa” technologies appear on franchise models. The New Balance 1080 added a Fresh Foam midsole, the Saucony Guide 9 added EVERUN midsole technology, Nike went to a Flyknit upper on the Lunarglide 7, and Adidas transitioned to exclusively using Boost on its premium running shoes.
So what’s next? Everyone is racing to keep up with technology. The ability to get more information to and from runners is critical for running shoe companies trying to react to their customers’ changing wants and needs.
Nike continues to build on its Nike+ technology with over 28 million runners using Nike’s “social running” platform. Under Armour, a brand I expect to be making a big splash in high-end running shoes, purchased MapMyRun this past year. While it’s a nice, convenient marketing platform, the main reason for the purchase was to acquire data from the company’s millions of users. This March, the Baltimore-based company will launch a shoe that captures data from your run and allows you to upload it to the MapMyRun app.
Even running shoe newcomer, Altra, is entering the “smart shoe” game. Altra is just now introducing its new shoe, the IQ, which gives runners real-time audio and visual feedback on their running form via a phone app. This fall, Adidas has a very similar product represented in the next generation of its miCoach app.
Will these “smart shoes” be the future of running footwear? All signs point that way, but we’ll know more in a year when we see if the brands are willing to apply these technologies to their “bread and butter” running shoes. Either way, Gazelle Sports’ staff is working tirelessly to understand and embrace these exciting new innovations so they can continue to deliver the best running shoe shopping experience during your next visit.
Have a great spring!
Running Footwear Merchandise Manager