Top Takeaways from The Running Event
The running specialty community headed to Austin, TX, last week, with more than 3,200 specialty retailers, brands and industry professionals attending The Running Event for the three-day event that included a day of conference sessions and a two-day trade show with 279 exhibiting companies.
At a time when everyone in the industry seems to be reevaluating the importance of trade shows and which trade shows are best for their own needs, The Running Event, which launched in 2006, remains a vital event for the market it serves. Key issues such as diversity and inclusion and sustainability and circularity — from a retail and brand perspective — were strong topics of discussion not only in the show’s conference sessions but in aisle chatter and in brand presentations as well.
And this year, the show added an outdoor section of brands in its new Switchback section (footwear brands such as Keen, Lowa, Oboz, Danner were among those featured). If this section continues to grow moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the show balances this focus on the outdoor market in a show known for being so successful at focusing tightly on run specialty.
While the trade show floor’s buzziest booths were those from the big brands — ASICS, Brooks and HOKA anchored three different sides of the show, the show offered plenty of opportunity to spot fresh ideas, key trends, and to learn more about upcoming products from new and established brands alike.
Three of the emerging brands catching our eye at The Running Event:
Flux Footwear – Founded in 2020, Flux makes minimalist shoes for training. Its barefoot lifting shoe features materials such as a Graphene-Wear outsole. The brand is eyeing retail distribution and showed off a new line of sleek running shoes at the show. The focus is on adaptability and simplicity, with minimally designed footwear “that moves with your feet, not against them.”
Norda – A Canadian company with an endurance athlete’s ethos, Norda is making trail shoes that focus on fit, cushion, grip, weight, breathability and material innovation. Materials such as Graphene and Dyneema are used in different versions of its initial product, the Norda 001, which ranges in retail price from $283-$352. Every pair is cut by lasers and sewn by hand.
Pressio – This technical apparel brand with an impressive sustainability story officially made its U.S. launch at The Running Event. Founded in 2021 by Jamie Hunt, who co-founded (and later sold) the 2XU performance apparel brand, Pressio is basing its U.S. office out of Asheville, NC. The brand aims to make sustainable products without sacrificing technical performance, focusing not simply on recycled materials, but on the entire production process and a garment’s end-of-life impact on the planet. Anatomic fit, next-to-skin comfort, moisture management, compression, and ventilation are also top priorities in each garment’s design.
Next Year: The Running Event and Switchback at TRE 2023 is scheduled to take place next year November 28-30 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX.