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Trendspotting at The Running Event


After a one-year hiatus, the run specialty community gathered once again last week for The Running Event, the annual run specialty trade show held in Austin, TX.

The energy at the show was upbeat and the vibe on the floor was similar to year’s past with the larger footwear brands anchoring the space with their buzzy, larger footprint booths and dozens of smaller brands, from socks and sports bras to CBD and foam rollers, peppering the show floor.

Here are 3 trends that emerged in our conversations with running footwear brands at The Running Event:

1. Carbon for the Masses  

Every leading running brand has a performance shoe featuring carbon plate technology. Lightweight and rigid, carbon plate shoes, with “propulsive” qualities were developed first with elite athletes in mind. However, in 2022 the use of carbon is evolving into (slightly) more affordable shoes. Think, $200 range rather than $275-$300+ price points. Also look to see more trail shoe offerings with carbon plates, such as the upcoming $200 HOKA Tecton X trail style. Innovation in varying the “flex” of the often rigid carbon plate shoes is also pushing the carbon category forward. The carbon fiber manufacturer Carbitex, which had a booth on the show floor, has its material in new 2022 shoes coming up from the likes of Altra, Saucony, Scott and Speedland.  

2. Let’s Call Them Hybrids

Consumers have taken on new fitness routines over the past two years and products are following suit. This is evident in two trends we spotted in footwear — one targeting the “indoor” runner and one catering to the “gravel road or trail/road” runner. Brazilian brand Veja has new 2022 styles in the pipeline with the treadmill runner in mind. And Brooks has a capsule collection of apparel set to drop that is designed with indoor runners’ more minimalistic design needs in mind. On the trail side, we’ve long seen hiking/trail running hybrid shoes flourish, but now more brands — including Saucony, HOKA and Altra — are keying in on runners looking for a less clunky trail shoe, with minimal lugs, for use on gravel roads or for running from road to trail.

3. Release Date Uncertainty

The best thing about The Running Event was seeing all of the innovative new performance shoes that running brands are readying for Fall 2022 launches. The only glitch? Many brands are unable to confidently say when the products will be available due to supply chain issues. While several brands told us that despite challenges their inventory was in good shape, cross your fingers and expect a window of 2-4 weeks-“ish” when it comes to the release date on the tech sheets and true availability.

Below — a few scenes from the show floor.

The Saucony team handed out extra big tote bags as attendees entered the show.
Cheeky marketing signage from Carbitex at The Running Event.
Balloons were a theme at the Brooks booth. The brand's nitrogen-infused DNA Loft footwear cushioning is super light and soft.
Eye-catching style from Craft's growing performance running footwear line.
VJ Shoes, a footwear brand based in Finland, makes grippy trail shoes designed for obstacle racers. The XTRM has a Kevlar upper.
Altra's Brian Beckstead shows off the brand's new Mont Blanc shoe — designed to be super light and aggressive, perfect for ultra runners.
Schoeller upper on Scott's Supertrac RC 2 skyrunning trail shoe.