Trade Show

The Running Event’s Outdoor Strategy

TRE had more than 3,200 attendees in 2022.

The Running Event (TRE) is leaning into the outdoors. Following last year’s introduction of Switchback, an outdoor-focused section of its exhibit space and programming, TRE, a specialty retail conference and trade show known for its focus on run specialty, is continuing its emphasis on bringing outdoor and running brands and retailers together under one roof, with Switchback returning to this year’s TRE, Nov. 28-30 in Austin, TX.

This year, Switchback at TRE will feature an exhibit space integrated more centrally into the TRE trade show floor, and will also include outdoor-focused conference sessions and networking opportunities. Retailers invited to attend TRE and Switchback will include not only TRE’s run specialty core, but also outdoor specialty and independent shoe retailers.

Christina Henderson, event director, The Running Event, notes that TRE “has a strong, established base of exhibiting outdoor brands, including HOKA, Salomon, OOFOS, The North Face, On, and Merrell.” She adds, “Our positive conversations with outdoor brands and the growing list of exhibitors exemplify the need for a space that serves this industry.”

In addition to the hundreds of running brands on its TRE show floor, brands on board to exhibit at Switchback at TRE this year include the likes of adidas Terrex, Oboz, Scarpa, Alegria, Mephisto, Keen, Lamo, LOWA Boots, Dansko, and more.

Here, Henderson gives us some additional insight into The Running Event’s outdoor strategy.

How would you describe Switchback at TRE and what your plans are for it?

“We have this special formula with The Running Event and what we’ve done with run specialty. And we want to do that with outdoor specialty. We think there’s power in doing that under one roof — bringing run and outdoor together. Many of our brands are selling into both outdoor and run stores, and many of our retailers are selling both running and outdoor, so it felt very natural to do this. But we want to do it very thoughtfully. Running remains our focus and we want to continue to bring [running retailers] value. With Switchback we really focus on footwear and accessories because many of those brands can sell into both running and outdoor. We’re finding our largest success with Switchback right now is in footwear — walking, hiking, trail running and accessories for those activities.”

Switchback at TRE will return in 2023.
How does Switchback at TRE fit in the outdoor trade show scene? What makes it a good fit for vendors?

“I think we’re doing things differently than the shows that have historically been in the outdoor space. We want to remain intimate and create that community feel. We want to create a new home for [outdoor brands] where they can come be a part of something and do business. Something we do a little bit differently is really keep that focus on specialty retail. We are not this giant show where you’re going to get lost. At TRE, you’re going to go and you’re going to see the right people at the right time of the year. And it’s a place for the industry to gather and learn and do business…  With our focus on specialty retail, outdoor brands are going to see the people they want to see. If you want to be in specialty retail, this is for you. If they’re only selling into outdoor specialty, that’s great. They’re going to see who they want to see. And if they are curious about being sold in run specialty, it’s an absolute no brainer to be at TRE.”