The Running Event attracts thousands of running specialty professionals every year, from race directors to running store owners. Well-known companies like Brooks, Asics, Garmin, and GU Labs, as well as new entrants into the running industry market, bring their latest products for attendees to examine, hoping to snag shelf space. This year’s The Running Event was no different. After perusing over 280 booths, it became clear what the running industry predictions for 2023 are.
Running Shoe Choice Will Continue to Grow
Remember when Brooks, Asics, and Saucony dominated running store shelves? Based on new entrants to the market exhibiting at The Running Event, runners will have their choice of niche running shoe brands. When Run Out of the Box covered The Running Event in 2018, Swiss performance brand On was new to the running shoe market. Now, retailers carry On Running shoes alongside the stalwart running brands. Several new companies exhibited running shoes last week.
One of the new brands is Vimazi, a direct-to-consumer startup that launched a series of shoes geared toward runners of different paces. For example, the Vimazi Z20 is designed for super-fast runners who clock a 4:30-5:30/minute mile, while the Z50 is for a 7:15-8:45/minute mile pace. Each model has a slightly different stack and drop to account for the varied strides and strikes that come with running faster (or slower). There are 10 models total, each tuned to a different pace range.
According to a press release from Vimazi:
The forefoot FastPod in each shoe has been engineered to respond to the propulsion phase of a runner’s stride. In the heel, Vimazi midsoles have been tuned to respond to the specific impact force runners generate within the designated pace zone. Vimazi found that tuning shoes by pace zone and between heel and forefoot results in ideal cushioning while simultaneously maximizing propulsion efficiency.
But don’t discount established brands, either. Reebok is still going strong with its running shoe offerings. The FloatZig1, set for release in October 2023, uses the Floatride Energy Foam found in some of Reebok’s other running shoes and promises a high rebound, cushioned experience, ideal for new and experienced runners.
Meanwhile, Asics started teasing the new running shoe it plans to drop on February 1, 2023. The employees at the booth were cagey and wouldn’t divulge too many details about this new shoe. All that could be ascertained is that it would be their most comfortable running shoe and would not have a carbon fiber plate.
As for Brooks, Fall 2023 is going to bring four iterations of the Hyperion speed shoe: the already-available Hyperion Elite 3, built for race day, alongside the Hyperion Max with cushioning and foam, the new Hyperion that’s ultra-light, and the new Hyperion GTS, a speed shoe for runners who need stability shoes.
Running Shoe Fitting Gets More Personal
Buying the right type of running shoe is important – but so is making sure the fit is right. Aetrex, known for its recovery footwear, demonstrated how its foot scanning technology can help running specialty stores provide better customer recommendations. The Albert 2 Pro measures pressure, analyzes gait, and takes 3D measurements of your feet to determine where you’re putting the most pressure and how it may affect your shoe purchase. Aetrex also provides self-paced training courses so that running store employees can learn how to use the foot scanner and better interpret data.
GPS Watches Get Lighter
The days of GPS watches being very obvious are already gone, but Suunto is taking it one step further. Its Suunto 9 Peak Pro is light and thin, with a startling 300-hour battery life in tour mode. It features an updated user interface and a brighter display. The titanium model weighs less than two ounces, and both the titanium and steel models are less than half an inch thick. While Suunto won’t call the 9 Peak Pro completely scratch-proof (if your wrist gets caught in a crevice rock-climbing, that might do it), it’s a pretty durable watch.
Coffee Will Always Be Important
As many fueling options as there are, along with pre-workouts and other caffeinated goodies, one beverage will always emerge as a winner: coffee. Linden X Two is the coffee brand founded by 2018 Boston Marathon winner Des Linden, who was staffing her own booth at The Running Event and serving up samples of the specialty brew. (Side note: Des Linden’s memoir, Choosing to Run, will be out on April 4, 2023.) The simplicity of coffee may make it seem obsolete compared to highly engineered fuels. But when you need a quick caffeine boost, that simplicity makes coffee so perfect.