Running at retail: What trends are hot with consumers this spring - SNEWS

Running at retail: What trends are hot with consumers this spring

Before we look ahead to 2015 at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, SNEWS checks in with retailers to get the consumer verdict on 2014 debuts.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

“They look like pieces of candy on the wall,” footwear and apparel coordinator Trenton Brothers said of the neon running shoes that are lining the shelves this season at Sun & Ski Sports in Austin, Tex.

With a new wave of running gear trends debuting to consumers this spring, the one fad that has stuck around for 2014 is brightly colored running shoes. Elsewhere, minimalism and barefoot trends have receded in favor of more support and protection, while quality and lightweight apparel has remained in high demand.

Credit the color craze to visibility. Runners want attention — from both a safety and coolness factor. For those running at night, or with bikes or vehicles nearby, the highlighter hues are hard to miss, and they often come trimmed with reflective fabric. They’re also just cool and in style with consumers these days.

Many top-of-the-line shoes are only available in vibrant hues this season. Mizuno’s popular Men’s Wave Riders only come in bright yellow, neon blue, white and orange, and a red, black and neon yellow combination. Saucony’s Peregrine 4, a durable trail running shoe, is only available in two neon variations. And Nike has its usual wide variety of bright colors — from kiwi green to coral pink to highlighter yellow.

RunningColors

On the footwear technology and construction front, consumers have spoken and retailers are pulling back with fewer barefoot and minimalist styles. Still some of the attributes of the trend are sticking around.

For us, the trend is moving back towards a more traditional style running shoe, but still very lightweight with a lower heel drop,” said Casey Spates, footwear department coordinator at Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis.

Spates said that Midwest Mountaineering will continue to carry some of Merrell’s lighter weight options, but will shy away from the Vibram Fivefinger shoes, the most extreme example of the minimalism trend.

“The Vibram Fivefinger toe shoes are dying off,” he said. “We started to phase them out last year, and we don’t carry them now.”

Brothers said he has seen less demand for minimalist running shoes, too. “[Fivefingers] peaked about three years ago. They were selling like crazy,” Brothers said of the trend. “It worked for some people, but it didn’t work for others and those runners are coming back around to a more supportive shoe.”

Dan Pinper, co-manager at New York Running Company, a running shoe and apparel store at Columbus Circle in New York City, said he is hearing more consumer buzz around Hoka One One, a maximalist shoe acquired by Deckers Outdoor Corporation a year ago. The shoes have roughly 2 1/2 times the amount of cushion and volume as other running shoes, but remain relatively lightweight for their size. And Pinper is most excited about the Swiss brand On that produces a running shoe with less volume than the Hoka One Ones, but more support than many minimalist models.

“They allow for this vertical oscillation, but allow for horizontal movement," too, Pinper said. "It reduces the amount of shock that comes back up the body [when you run]. I’ve worn two or three pairs already.

As far as running apparel this year, consumers are after many of the same qualities in their clothing as they are in their shoes. Bright colors, more than ever, and lightweight materials.

“There’s this mentality [among running apparel companies] that’s like ‘how light can we make this?’ and have it still be solid product,” Pinper said of trends in clothing this year.

Brothers said that he’s noticed that many of the fabrics this season are of better quality than he’s seen in the past, particularly in wicking moisture. Sun & Ski Sports is carrying a lot of Asics and Saucony clothing, many of which are polyester based and employ moisture-moving mesh in strategic areas to deal with sweat and chafing.

Overall, retailers said they’re successfully finding a variety of situation-specific running footwear and apparel to fill the needs of their customers.

“Certain brands have their specialties,” Spates said. “As long as you’re open, you’ll find what you’re looking for.”

-- Isabelle Chapman

Related

2014PackTrendsRetail

Beta on backpacks at outdoor retail

In the world of outdoor backpacks, sales trends are as varied as the terrain consumers carry them in. “Consumers are looking for lightweight packs that are durable and functional,” said Nancy Bouchard, backpack category manager for Backpacker magazine. “Clean lines are in, fussy ...read more

ORSM15_Preview_Footwear

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 Preview: Footwear

Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015, SNEWS is previewing some of the top trends and new products you’ll see at the trade show and Open Air Demo in Salt Lake City, Aug. 4-8. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition. Perhaps it’s the ...read more

ORSM14_PerformanceApparel2_TheNorthFace_MensFuseFormDotMatrixJacket_Thumb

Minimalist trends invade 2015 outdoor performance apparel

Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 6 – 9. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update ...read more

ORSM15_Preview_PerformanceApparel_thumb

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 Preview: Performance apparel

Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015, SNEWS is previewing some of the top trends and new products you’ll see at the trade show and Open Air Demo in Salt Lake City, Aug. 4-8. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition. Like the ...read more

ORSM15_Preview_Climbing

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 Preview: Climbing

Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015, SNEWS is previewing some of the top trends and new products you’ll see at the trade show and Open Air Demo in Salt Lake City, Aug. 4-8. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition. For most ...read more

ORSM15_TrailRunningFootwear_thumb

Outdoor Retail Gear Trends: 2016 Trail running footwear

Americans are fixin’ for a sufferfest, it seems. In 2013 there were more than half a million finishers of marathons, an all time high, according to Running USA. And a report by the Outdoor Industry found that trail running grew 13 percent in popularity in 2013. While running ...read more

ORSM15_WatershoesSandals_TrekSta

Outdoor Retail Gear Trends: 2016 Watershoes / Sandals

Water-loving consumers for spring/summer 2016 will seek highly functional footwear that is designed to get wet; dry quickly; grip slippery decks, river rocks and boat surfaces; and withstand repeated abuse from salt water and strong sun. And work well on land, too. TrekSta’s new ...read more

ORSM15_eyewear_thumb

Outdoor Retail Gear Trends: 2016 Sunglasses / Eyewear

In eyewear, adventure and lifestyle frames are reflecting edgier styles, while greater photochromic lens ranges and bio-friendly frame resins are upping performance and sustainability. The trends point toward a consumer demand for a more minimalist approach — one durable pair of ...read more

ORSM15_Preview_Paddlesports

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 Preview: Paddlesports

Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015, SNEWS is previewing some of the top trends and new products you’ll see at the trade show and Open Air Demo in Salt Lake City, Aug. 4-8. You can access all these articles and more in our O.R. Daily Day 0 edition. While SUP sales ...read more