Running Industry Trends (General)
Some trends around clothing and shoes in the running industry in the United States include the introduction of eco-friendly shoes, newly manufactured products for safety, and customized running gear for a personalized experience.
#1. Running Brands are Currently Manufacturing 'Eco-friendly' Shoes
- The impact that running brands are leaving on the environment is becoming a popular topic. Many companies in the running industry have changed their approach to sustainability; rather than the usual improved production and disposal processes, brands are introducing footwear that is eco-friendly to the market.
- According to APLF, the key trend that is currently dominating discussions among running brands is the use of recycled materials in the manufacturing process. Companies are making adjustments in the production of footwear and consider how to sell and reuse waste rather than discarding.
- According to Tim Brown, the co-founder of Allbirds, more than 20 billion pairs of athletic shoes are manufactured every year, which results in the emission of over 700 million metric tons of CO2. As such, changing the ways of manufacturing running shoes could help improve the state of the environment.
- In the running industry, the synthetic rubber and plastics used to manufacture footwear are made of petroleum, which causes pollution upon disposal. Because of this, many running brands are embracing sustainable sourcing and recycling to improve their ecological footprint.
- Adidas is at the forefront of embracing sustainable manufacturing. The brand’s UtlraBOOST Parley and UltraBOOST X running shoes are created using 95% Parley Ocean Plastic Prieknit upper, a knit fabric made from recycled fibers sourced from fishing nets and marine plastic debris.
- Apart from being functioning and stylish, every pair of UltraBOOST shoes saves 11 plastic bottles from being disposed of in the oceans.
- Cotopaxi, an upcoming running brand, also uses remnant materials from its products to create day bags and backpacks. The company also allocates 2% of its revenue to help address poverty.
#2. Safety Products
- More running brands are introducing gears that feature reflective properties to enhance safety for consumers. Since many athletes are currently engaging in late-night runs or during winter when darkness descends, brands have recently begun introducing gears and accessories that enhance safety.
- Nike, for instance, is currently manufacturing reflective, winter running jackets that are made of weather-resistant fabric to protect runners from cold and enable them to stand out from the crowd. The company considered this trend because of the rising need for runners to continue with their routine even during the period when there is no daylight.
- To enhance the safety of runners, 2XU Reflect offers innovative aluminum-coated glass beads. They also have Safety Skin Reflective Skin Spread, applied directly to the skin, making it a low cost and portable option for runners.
- Body Glide, just like Safety Skin, enables runners to swipe reflective stripes onto their skin. When headlights hit the coating, the wears light up with a strong glow for visibility.
#3. Customized Running Gear
- Personalized shoes is one of the current biggest trends in the running industry, thanks to the new technologies. Well-capitalized global brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, Under Armour, and Asics are currently investing in 3-D printing technology, which allows for rapid prototyping and production of signature pieces for athletes.
- Through 3-D printing, brands are increasingly producing truly personalized shoes, particularly for the midsole.
- Brooks Running, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is currently making high-tech running shoes using signature technologies such as Guide Rails, the DNA Midsole, and 3-D printed engineered structures. Recently, the company began offering personalized performance shoes in the US by using the customers’ biomechanics.
- This trend is purposely aimed at enhancing runners’ comfort and flexibility in their wears while also personalizing the experience of the user.
In order to identify some current trends around clothing and shoes in the running industry in the US, we began by researching credible market research reports such as Market and Market Research, PR Newswire, Globe Newswire, and other similar sites addressing machine tools and industry trends. We found two reports from the APLF and Triathlete website that listed top trends in the current running industry in the US. We selected three trends that relate to clothing and shoes. The first trend was mentioned multiple times in the reports found, while the second and third trends have several case studies highlighting the significant considerations by different brands. We further included different case studies that helped in illustrating individual trends in the context of the US industry.