Brooks Launches Youth Running Initiative
Brooks Running has launched “Future Run,” an initiative to increase running access and participation for youth. An evolution of the brand’s current community impact work, Future Run aims to reach one million young runners in the U.S. with a $10 million investment over the next five years. It includes a multi-year partnership with Marathon Kids, whose free, digital goal setting and milestone tracking tool allows schools, run clubs, teams, and community organizations across the U.S. to increase physical activity and athletic self-perception among K-12 students. Brooks will also invest in regional community youth running organizations in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Houston.
Later this year, Brooks will launch the 2023 Future Run product collection with shoes and socks in varsity color combinations. Its debut will coincide with the re-launch of the Future Run Team Grants program, providing financial support and performance running gear to track and cross-country teams at 50 U.S. schools each year.
Puma Nitro Lab Puts Running Performance to the Test
In March, Puma officially unveiled the Nitro Lab, a high-performance athlete testing facility developed in partnership with Hartmann Orthopedics & Sports, leaders in performance optimization for athletes for more than 20 years. Based at Hartmann’s facility near Frankfurt, Germany, the Puma Nitro Lab provides athletes with detailed full-body insights through a series of tests and scans, including 4D Motion analysis. The results enable the brand to develop bespoke and customized solutions for athletes.
The company hopes the lab will help fuel its “ascent in the world of running,” said Romain Girard, senior head of innovation, Puma. He added, “We work with the fastest men and women in the world to help them perform better. Then we use our learnings to innovate our products for the benefit of runners at all levels. The Puma Nitro Lab becomes critical in driving the insights that will drive the next generation of product development on and off the track.”
Nitro is the name of the Nitrogen-infused technology at the core of the brand’s latest running products. In addition to visits from the brand’s roster of elite athletes, the Nitro Lab is also accessible to the public, and runners of all levels who are looking to improve their performance.
On Adds to its Circular Offerings
The Swiss brand On has introduced a new product in its circular Cyclon program. The new Cyclon-T, like the brand’s Cloudneo performance running shoe, is made with castor beans, a fully bio-based material, making it fully recyclable. The Cyclon-T will come in an undyed white version and is built for performance.
When the product reaches its end of life, it can be returned to On in any box available. Just like the Cloudneo, the Cyclon-T can be recycled together in the Cyclon service.
On launched the Cloudneo, a fully recyclable running shoe, exclusively through its Cyclon subscription service in 2022. Subscribers pay $29.95 per month, and receive, wear, return, and receive new Cyclon products, all of which are recycled and transformed into future On gear at their end-of-life.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Partners with Boston Marathon
A multi-year sponsorship between Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), which commenced with the running of the 127th Boston Marathon on April 17, makes the sporting goods chain the official retail sponsor of B.A.A. events. Going forward, Dick’s will also become the presenting sponsor of the Boston Marathon Fan Fest, a three-day festival that takes place in the days before the race.
Dick’s intends to open a 100,000-sq.-ft. House of Sport store in Boston in Spring 2024 at the Prudential Center, a short distance from the Boston Marathon finish line. The House of Sport Boston opening is part of the retailer’s strategy to open 20 doors of the experiential format before the end of next year, including nine locations in 2023. The retailer had a banner near the finish line of this week’s race that read, “Running Boston Changes You.”
Reaching for the Sky
Sky Manufacturing, which started as a private label sock brand in 2019 has quickly grown into a top private label apparel brand for running stores across the country. And now the company is expanding into the outdoor market as well.
“Sky’s goal is to help every one of our accounts build the best brand on the planet — their very own brand — ‘The Best Brand Is Your Brand,’” explains Carrie Larscheid, sales manager at Sky. “Our goal is ease of business, best in class service, and quality products to cover all private label needs. In fact, our entire product collection has been built through collaboration between our retail partners. We truly listen to our retailers needs and value their feedback.”
Founder Keaton Hendricks, who initially launched Sky to fill what he saw as a need for a private label running sock, quickly saw more potential and expanded to apparel. Sky now has a full private label apparel collection for stores to display, sell, and make excellent margins.
Sky does not sell anything with the “Sky logo” — it focuses on building the products its retail partners are requesting.
A few reasons why Sky believes so strongly in private label, according to Larscheid: Customers go back to the store they purchased from — no going online or to a direct website to purchase additional colors and styles; Margins: 60% starting margin for all Sky apparel; Price Points: Stores can sell their own premium brand at a lower price-point with better margins; Branding: Customers want to support their favorite local stores and retailers can build their own brand with premium products.
Sky currently works with about 250 running specialty accounts across the U.S. and is working on opening outdoor accounts and expanding into the outdoor world. Sky is attending the Outdoor 360 and Grassroots trade events this June for the first time.
“Quality is the most important thing to us as a company,” says Larscheid. “We send a lot of samples out so our customers can review fabric and fit to determine what is the best assortment for their store.” Its broad range of offerings include everything from running apparel that is lifestyle/active focused to technical apparel. EcoTech is a new private label apparel offering at Sky available in its Spring / Summer 2023 line in Women’s Short Sleeve, Women’s Strap Tank, Men’s Short Sleeve, and Men’s Singlet. EcoTech is sourced entirely from repurposed plastic. It is designed to behave like polyester, yet delivers exceptional comfort, durability, and high-level performance.
Newly launched this spring, the men’s Hydrotech Everyday Short and women’s Essential Running Short from Sky are packed with style and performance features.