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5 trends in 2015!

Posted: May 13 2015

  1. Maximalism Is Still Thriving

If you thought the max-cushioning trend (otherwise known as "maximalism”) would go disappear after 2014, think again. Not only does it appear to be as strong as ever with more brands offering thickly cushioned shoes in 2015. In addition to Hoka One One, look for new maximally cushioned shoes from Salomon, Adidas & Nike, among others. Most brands appear leery of using the word "maximalism" in how they describe their shoes, perhaps because of the negative "-ism" stigma that found its way to minimalism. But, as someone told me: "Look, you can call it whatever you want, but there are a lot of runners out there that just want a soft, comfortable ride. In fact, there aren't many runners who don't like a soft, comfortable ride. That's why I don't think it will ever go away." Hoka, the category leader, is crushing it, with nearly 500 percent year-over-year growth.

 

L to R Ron Schwebel, Greg Donovan, Matt Donovan, Jess Baker, Roger Hanney. pic by James Holman, courtesy of http://www.BornToRun.com.au

Maximal Everywhere! : L to R Ron Schwebel, Greg Donovan, Matt Donovan, Jess Baker, Roger Hanney. pic by James Holman, courtesy of http://www.BornToRun.com.au

  1. Big Brands Aren't Going Away

These brands aren't listed in any particular order, but ... 1) Adidas is back with a vengeance, thanks to the momentum from its Boost midsole foam (and continued success from many of the world's best marathoners); 2) ASICS, for years the No. 1 brand at running specialty shops, is back too. After several years of some rough road (which included waiting too long to offer up new, innovative models and then some not-so-great-shoes once it did, followed up by a some major personnel changes), specialty retail shops have reported that brand is on the way up again; 3) Thanks to GM Tom Carleo and product line manager Claire Wood (among others), New Balance continues to make headway with fast, light and athletic shoes while still servicing the masses with modern designs. The Fresh Foam Zante and Vazee Pace will be great shoes for the brand in 2015, and it should also gain from having both the men's and women's Ironman champions in its shoes; 4) Saucony has made a splash with the Kinvara, its splashy apparel and good trail running shoes in recent years and it should get plenty of positive bounce from its 2015 shoe line, starting with the innovative ISO Series models (especially the Zealot); 5) Brooks has been No. 1 at run specialty stores the past few years. Enough said, but it's much more than the happy-shiny-funny "Run Happy" vibe that oozes from the brand, although that certainly helps too. Look for Brooks to make big strides in 2015 too; 6) Nike is still Nike. The big machine is still cranking away up in Beaverton, Oregon., and if you've run in some of its latest shoes—from the Air Zoom Pegasus 31 to the Flyknit Lunar3—you know the Swoosh is still making great, top-tier shoes. The brand has also benefited from the record-setting Free line.


The new Saucony Kinvara 6 lands in less than a month, it's continued success has been a perfect example of a major brand moving forward with technology without changing the feel of a unique running shoe.

 

  1. Shoe Manufacturing Is Evolving

New materials and new shoe manufacturing techniques are playing a big role in the performance aspects of running shoes. New midsole foam formulations are allowing shoes to be both lighter, more cushioned and more resilient. (Remember how heavy many neutral cushioned trainers were 10 years ago? They were 90-150 grams heavier than today's shoes.) Meanwhile, the uppers of shoes are continuing to improve with the use of four-way stretch fabrics and engineered meshes designed to alternately provide support, flexibility or comfort in different areas of the shoe. Long gone are the thicker synthetic leather or plastic "overlays" and the stitches that secured them and in their place are welded-on thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) support bands. The changes have resulted in shoes that are lighter, better-fitting and more comfortable with considerably fewer places for irritation.

 
The Salomon sense 4 Ultra SG is one of the most advanced, yet simple running shoes on the market today. A perfect example of modern manufacturing!

  1. Aesthetics Are Still Crucial

Surveys have shown that color is still one of the biggest factors in how runners buy their shoes. Expect the rainbow of bright colors to continue in 2015 as well as more sublimated and laser-printed graphics on uppers, sidewalls and even outsoles. Some brands still offer more conservative designs, but consumers have shown their eagerness to exercise their freedom of expression through running.

The Womens Asics Gel Noosa Tri 10 is the ultimate in "bright colours" and has always been the shoe that stands out.

  1. Retail Consolidation Continues
With big online retailers like Amazon and Zappos and most shoe brands selling from their own sites, running specialty retailers are feeling the pinch. In the US, the biggest threat right now is a massive land grab from Denver-based Running Specialty Group (a subsidiary of The Finish Line), which now owns 66 running specialty shops across the country, including Boulder Running Company, Run On!, Running Fit, Roncker's Running Spot and numerous stores re-branded or started under The Running Company. Among the biggest concerns in the industry are how the continued growth in major metro markets will affect other existing shops and if RSG's buying power will lead to mandating pricing. How will it affect runners? It depends on whether customer service remains at those stores without local ownership and perhaps if mandated pricing becomes a reality. Hopefully on Australian shore’s we see the service-based specialty running store continue to thrive in their niche market. In Australia many big retailers are also importers/distributors for certain running brands, which could mean market saturation and a biased selling-procedure to push in-house brands. The retail consolidation in Australia could mean that an impartial store with no allegiance to any brand would be impossible to find.


Staff & customers infront of the 'no-longer privately owned' Boulder running company. Will we see this kind of corporate takeover in Australia?

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Thanks to Running Competitor for starting the debate
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