For The Run 2021
Brand Execs share their perspectives on the running market.
“New runners who leaned into running during COVID for the first time will be looking for safe training group options in spring, and later seeking events like 5K, 10K, fun runs, marathons and team events, boosting participation down the road. Training group programs are a run store core competency and those that have figured out how to maneuver their programs to meet both restrictions and demand are seeing success in drawing in new long-term customers. We see more and more of these new runners seeking running-specific gear for the first time. As retail opens up in a bigger way, stores catering to runners should benefit as new runners seek quality advice and specialized gear that helps boost their experience and performance.” — June Angus, Amphipod
“Since COVID-19, women have been turned on to running, because it is a safe alternative from exercising in the gym or taking virtual classes at home. Running can be done at any time of the day or evening and is a flexible workout routine that also provides a great form of stress relief during these unusual times. We have found that adding more fashionable offerings to our maximum support, exceptional quality and outstanding fitting sports bras allows women to go easily from their zoom meeting to their run in comfort and style.” — Joy Haizen, Anita USA
“The running category will continue to get stronger, and [our] accessory category continues to have huge growth potential. Many run shops realize men’s performance base layer briefs are an essential for their stores. We offer large annual turns and healthy margins by providing their consumer a staple to continue to buy.”— Jack Curry, 2UNDR
“Running has been the fastest growing outdoor category during 2020 as people come to realize how being outside is necessary and good for their mental wellbeing. Trail running continues to grow and is an especially attractive option in these times. Running brands will continue to try to address their impact on the climate and meet sustainability standards. We are looking forward to rolling out our new items utilizing recycled fabrics and keep striving for ways to reduce waste in the manufacturing process.” — Alyson Neel, Blyss Running
Anita Active’s trend-right performance bra, the Air Control Delta Pad Sports Bra fuses fashion and function and is available in Zebra/Stripes for Fall/Winter 2020, Leopard/Kalahari for Spring/Summer 2021 and featured above Powder Gold for Fall/Winter 2021. The patented, breathable, triangular Delta Pad foam cups offer support and ensure air circulation with cut-out sections at the bottom and to the sides of the cups. Anita Active’s 1696 Sports Tights coordinate with the sports bra and have a soft, breathable waistband, extra-flat seams and clean-cut edging around the legs for comfort. The textured fabric with its integrated 3D nubs gives a continuously toning leg massage, which improves blood circulation, according to the brand.
Blyss Running, an emerging five-year old apparel brand based in Asheville, NC, will launch its “Cool Running” Skirt made with 100% Recycled Fabric in Spring 2021. This multi-season skirt is designed to be comfortable and functional enough for double-digit mileage, while also flattering enough to wear to the store or coffee house after. Manufactured in the USA. MSRP $79.
Amphipod’s ArmPod Run-Sleeves, new for Spring 2021 provide phone storage in an innovative uni-sleeve design. Made from comfortable and protective soft stretch fabric, the patent-pending ArmPod Run-Sleeves feature two secure expandable zipper pockets providing easy access for carrying small or large smartphones and more. Reflective detailing offers enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. MSRP $50.
2UNDR’s Power Shift performance underwear boxer, made with ColdSkin thermal reduction fabric, was created with feedback from professional athletes. The performance poly blend provides support and quick-dry performance. It has a compression-like feel combined with the Joey Pouch and a breathable back panel. MSRP $28-35.
“We’re currently seeing higher participation numbers in running due to COVID, and many people are either discovering or rediscovering the sport. While we don’t know exactly how the pandemic will play out during 2021, we do anticipate the growth in running to continue, both on the road and on the trail.” — Brooke Kaplan, Darn Tough Vermont
“I believe the running category will experience a post-COVID growth period. 2020 saw people get out and get active in a big way, but not in a social way. As we come out of the COVID lockdowns and fear of infection fades, we will see people coming back together for runs, events, and the other social aspects of running. Virtual events definitely became a thing, but ultimately I think that people prefer company for their misery (running). I believe this will also drive consumers back into stores to see the latest and greatest in new products.” — Luke Rowe, CEP
“2020 saw the introduction of a lot of shoe technology to improve an athlete’s running efficiency and experience. Athletes will be looking for accessories with technological features and compelling stories that further that experience. These technologies translate into interesting and tangible talking points on the sales floor.” — Jason Barlow, Swiftwick
“We believe the running consumer is looking for brands and dealers that are committed to providing the best product available and doing their part to help the environment… We look for a strong rebound in the specialty retail markets.” — Tom Weber, Wrightsock
“We are incredibly excited and bullish on the running category in 2021. We’ve seen a shift of focus from the workouts in the gym and organized athletics to getting outside in the open air on roads and trails as part of a self-administered social distancing fitness regimen. For brands, Made in the USA is more important now than ever, ensuring quality, timely shipping, adherence to labor and environmental law, and most importantly employing Americans in this most difficult time. Challenges will be numerous, but one we are really focused on is supply chain disruptions. We hope to mitigate this by keeping production under our direct control in the USA.” — Bob MacGillivray, DryMax
“I think 2021 will certainly be an interesting year for running. As the world is still shaken and partially closed from the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a shift in long-term consumer behavior. It seems that the traditional outlets of exercise via gym memberships, sports teams, or sporting events will be slow to recover and the trend of at-home workouts will continue to increase. Running is uniquely positioned for this as it is an individual sport, does not require equipment, and can be done anywhere. The challenges of in-person events and retail shopping remain, while the opportunities for at-home activities and online shopping carry on.” — Anthony Pong, Caterpy
Two years in the making, Darn Tough Vermont’s new 2021 Running sock line has been revamped top to bottom. New technical features include targeted ultra-lightweight cushioning in the footbed and toe for impact protection, reinforced high-wear zones for increased durability over long distances, a high-performance upper with multi-zoned mesh for ventilation and comfort, and a supportive performance fit through the arch to reduce fatigue.
Compression sock maker CEP applies 65 years of product and design knowledge to the new Hiking Merino and Hiking Light Merino Compression Socks for trail running. A blend of fibers meshed with fine merino wool delivers comfort, proprioception, and blister prevention. The Light version is made with a thinner Merino fabric. Both socks are available in Tall, Mid-Cut and Low-Cut versions for Spring 2021 delivery. MSRP $59.95 (Tall version).
Wrightsock’s ECO Collection Run Tab Style 893 is part of the brand’s new sustainable, certified ECO collection. It features a double layer anti-blister system for runner and walkers, using REPREVE recycled polyester in both the inner and outer layers of the double-layer design. Other ECO styles for 2021 include Winter Run, Explore, Light Hike and Hike. MSRP $16.
The Feetures Elite Max Cushion Low Cut sock finds a nice balance in height between the Quarter and the No Show Tab styles. For Spring ’21, the Low Cut will be available in Grey, Black, and White. MSRP $15.99 -$17.99.
Swiftwick’s FLITE XT Zero Tab with updated colorways for Spring 2021, was developed to improve ankle stability during quick movements. GripDry fiber creates tiny micro treads that grip shoes to prevent the foot from slipping inside the shoe. AnkleLock Technology offers targeted support and extra protection for ankles. MSRP $19.99.
OS1st’s FS4 Merino Wool Plantar Fasciitis Sock has Compression Zone Technology that targets arch and heel pain and foot fatigue, relieving and preventing plantar fasciitis. MSRP $24.99.
Drymax collaborated with all-time 100-Mile Race winner Karl Meltzer to create the latest version of its SPEEDGOAT Lite Trail Running Sock. It utilizes the brand’s proprietary dual-layer sweat removal system coupled with a technique to spin filament yarns together for a softer feel. Made in the USA and available in three leg heights (Mini Crew, 1/4 Crew and Crew).
“We foresee the running category becoming even more popular in 2021 than in years past. Many people are working out at home and taking up running for exercise and stress relief. We want to add comfort and style to their shoes to encourage them to stay active.” — TJ Carr, Lock Laces
“My outlook for Run Specialty is overall positive, despite the challenges of the last 8 months. There will be an increased focus on ecommerce sales. Drop shipping will be important. Challenges for Run Specialty will be getting customers in the door, staffing, the weather, the economy, etc. For Cadence I see opportunity in our continued offering of exclusive product as an opportunity to continue to strengthen our relationship with our Run Specialty partners. I also see our ongoing commitment to customer service as an opportunity to reinforce our current partnerships and create new relationships.” — John Hinds, Cadence Insoles
“2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least. Challenging to the active individual and to the independent retailer. But, runners are strong, driven and unique people. They run with determination - for enjoyment, for their physical health as well as their spiritual health. And with a great degree of ingenuity the running community has continued to connect. We just have to look at the virtual races been held around the county as evidence. Running, and the strong community of runners will continue to adapt, grow and flourish. No doubt.” — David Church, Sorbothane, Inc.
“Undiminished during the pandemic and beyond, there’s a never-ending need and desire to stay healthy, breathe fresh air outside, and exercise. The running category outlook is strong, running never goes out of styles, and for however long and far people run, it’s all good.” — Bill Sternoff, Body Glide
Wearable tech brand Polar has introduced the all-in-one Polar Vantage V2, a new lightweight premium multi-sport watch. The device picks up signals from the body and provides insight and essential data to plan better, train smarter and recover It equips users 24/7 personal metrics and wrist-based heart rate tracking. It also offers 40 hours of continuous training time and up to 100 hours of power saving options. MSRP $499-$549.95.
Body Glide’s Foot Glide balm has been a mainstay in running for years. Product sizes range to appeal to whatever the runner wants or needs to carry. The product’s formula is plant-based, vegan, non-greasy and hypoallergenic. MSRP $4.99-$14.99 (variety of sizes).
Caterpy is launching a few new products through early 2021, including reflective and casual shoelaces and safety/bungee cords. Elastic bump technology on the laces allows for customizable security and comfort. MSRP $9.95.
Odor Drops from Lace Locks are sold in a resealable package that allows them to remain fresh and store easily. The product gives shoes, gym bags, closets or any other place a fresh scent. Available in Crisp Pine, Clean Citrus and Fresh Linen. MSRP $13 (per pack); $25 (three-pack).
Superfeet, in a licensing agreement with New Balance, has expanded its insole offerings over the past year to include New Balance insoles in three different collections: Casual, Running and Sport. A highlight in the running offerings is the NB Running Pain Relief CFX insole, designed to offer maximum pain relief for runners who need heavy duty support. It has CFX carbon fiber for sculpted arch support and stability. MSRP $64.99.
The Sorbothane Ultra SOLE Performance Replacement Insole absorbs shock, returns energy and provides-long lasting comfort. The Ultra SOLE combines a molded air-infused foam base with a pure Sorbothane heel inlay for shock absorbing comfort and impact protection. The Sorbothane Gel forefoot pad adds cushioning and returns energy. The Women’s Ultra SOLE is designed for a woman’s foot structure and gait cycle.
Cadence’s Low Arch insole is a thin 5mm from heel to toe and is for those looking for a low arch profile with mild to moderate support and the trademark Cadence comfort in the heel and forefoot. These were designed in response to requests from Run Specialty store owners. The Low Arch is exclusive for in-store only sales but the retailer can sell it on their (non-Amazon) store website.