The Running Event Reveals the Next Big Thing for Runners

Have you ever wondered how your local running specialty store finds the latest “must have” item? Whether it’s cushioned socks, sunglasses, or a tech toy, the smart retailers start looking at The Running Event, a trade show and conference for specialty running retailers that includes sessions on how to better help customers reach their goals – and a trade show floor packed with new and soon-to-be-released products for runners.

The Running Event provides plenty of opportunities for specialty running retailers to find the next big thing for customers.

At 2018’s The Running Event, all the usual suspects – Brooks, Saucony, and Asics, to name the big three in shoes – set up booths. But so did newer entrants into the space, like Rehband, which is better known for knee sleeves but just released running compression tights for runners with IT band syndrome (stay tuned for a review of those!).

According to one store owner, the big items she couldn’t keep in stock this past year were the incredibly inexpensive but useful Goodr sunglasses and Aftershokz Trekz Titanium bone conduction headphones. (Also stay tuned for a review of the Trekz Air headphones, which were on display this year as a lighter weight alternative!) She discovered these at The Running Event.

This year, it was harder to tell which items would sell out like hotcakes. For less expensive items, it could very well be the PRO Hair Tie, a customizable hair tie that pulls apart to come out of your hair, protecting your locks. For the pricier items, it could be any one of the recovery massage tools, like the Theragun or Hyperice Hypervolt.

Surprisingly, when I stopped at the Garmin booth, I learned that Garmin hasn’t released a new watch model in two years. I’m keeping my eyes open for new releases, because the rep assured me something is in the works.

Brooks Streamlines Its Shoes

Of note this year, Brooks Running displayed not only shoes but its own line of sports bras, after selling Moving Comfort for several years. The Brooks shoes themselves have been streamlined. The technology is still there, but as one representative put it, the appearance has now caught up with the technology. The result is a more modern, sleeker-looking shoe that ideally delivers the same performance as the bulkier, brighter shoes of yore. Speedy retailers snagged Spring 2019 models of Brooks Glycerins and Brooks Transcends.

Running Nutrition Is Always a Concern

One big category for runners is nutrition. If you’re fairly new to distance running, you’ve likely heard of GU. At The Running Event, GU offered up samples of little-known flavors like Chai Latte.

But there were other gel and snack contenders on the trade show floor. Untapped, based in New England creates maple syrup-based gels and waffles. Endurance Tap, a Canadian company, offers maple syrup-based fueling options, too. Other exhibitors included RX Bars, sampling their nut butter; Picky Bars, with new power oatmeal; skratch labs; Bonk Breaker; and Epic Bars.

All the Running Periphery

I call all the running accessories out there “periphery” items. They’re important, but newer runners don’t think of them until they’ve been to a specialty retailer or begun training for longer distances. The Running Event offered plenty of these items for retailers to examine. For example, I counted at least four different body lubrication sticks: Run Guard, SportShield (I took home a sample of the women’s lubricant, which hopefully will work better than my alternative), Chamois Butt’r, and the ubiquitous Body Glide.

Other items include athletic detergent to get out the persistent funk (Rockin Green Active and Defunkify were two); reflective strips; socks from Injinji, Balega, Thorlo, and Swiftwick; and my personal favorite (and running companion), pepper spray from Sabre. There was ample opportunity to test recovery tools like a roller massager from ProTec Athletics and TP Therapy foam rollers.

I mean, anything you could think of related to running was there. What’s the next big thing? I don’t know. What I do know is that I will be posting reviews of some of the amazing products that may be available at your local running store, so stay tuned!

The Running Event provides plenty of opportunities for specialty running retailers to find the next big thing for customers. What will the must-have item for 2019 be?
So many products, so little time.

3 thoughts on “The Running Event Reveals the Next Big Thing for Runners

Comments are closed.