Following the series about best brands for triathlon, we introduce sport #3: Running.
Unlike cycling, running is cheap, and probably the cheapest sport you can practice. Consequently, the number of runners has been multiplied recently due to the economic crisis and more niche brands have appeared in the Footwear industry.
During a triathlon race, running is the last event and maybe the most physically demanding. Runners burn calories very fast and after swimming and cycling, this is the sport that will see more differences between competitors. It´s interesting to see new brands launching, like ON, and how the running industry keeps investing in innovation (e.g. 3D Printing, Carbon-based materials or graphene).
Regarding retail, niche brands don´t have the financing capacity to sell directly thru owned stores and this is why B2B channel is still the most important one (e.g. FootLocker, Intersport, and other Department Stores) in terms of revenues. Despite, every brand is betting for e-commerce. We can see great sites, with stories and community-based insights, were product is on a second layer, below experience.
Brands loyalty keeps decreasing, while Amazon (Alexa) will let us know soon what is our favourite brand. Despite, sports lovers seems to be more loyal to its brands due to its practical attributes: fit, size, technology, comfort… (don´t consider Federer´s Nike/Uniqlo “romance”). In the era of Dopamine and triathlon fanatism, these are top leading running shoe brands:
Top triathlon brands for running
Nike (in ancient Greek “Goddess of Victory”) is an American multinational corporation founded in 1964 by Phil Knight. It is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon. It is the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and appare and a major manufacturer of sports equipment, with revenues of $34.4 billion in its fiscal year 2017. I really recommend Shoe Dog, Phil Knight´s autobiography.
Nike Zoom Fly
Adidas was founded in 1924 in Herzogenaurach, Germany, by Dassler´s brothers under the name Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. It designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories being the largest sportswears manufacturer in Europe, and the second largest in the world, after Nike.
Adidas Ultra Boost Clima
Saucony (name is coming from Saucony Creek, Pennsylvania) is an American manufacturer of athletic shoes founded in 1898 at Kutztown, Pennsylvania. In 2012, Saucony, along with Keds, Stride Rite and Sperry Top-Sider, became part of Wolverine World Wide after a joint agreement with Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital acquired the Performance Lifestyle Group of Collective Brands for US$1.23 billion.
7446 Spike by Saucony (1958)
Saucony Freedom ISO 2
Hoka One One (“fly over the earth” in Maori language) is an athletic shoe company founded in Annecy, France, in 2009 by Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, two former Salomon employees. The brand first gained attention in the running industry by producing shoes with oversized outsoles, dubbed “maximalist” shoes due to extra cushion. It has been based in Richmond, California and its corporate headquarters are currently in Goleta, California. The company operates as subsidiary of Deckers Brands.
Hoka one one Elevon
On was founded in 2010 in Zürich by Caspar Coppetti, Olivier Bernhard (three-time world duathlon champion and multiple Ironman winner), and David Allemann. Their mission to develop a product range fully engineered in Switzerland using the latest technology picked up pace. Eight years later, you can buy On running shoes at over 3,500 speciality running stores in over 50 countries and the company products are winning international design and technology awards.
Asics In 1949, Mr. Kihachiro Onitsuka began his athletic footwear company (Onitsuka Co., Ltd.) by manufacturing basketball shoes out of his living room in Kobe, Japan. He chose the name ASICS for his company in 1977, based on a famous Latin phrase “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano”, which when translated expresses the ancient ideal of “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body.” Taking the acronym of this phrase, ASICS was founded on the belief that the best way to create a healthy and happy lifestyle is to promote total health and fitness. ASICS origins are Onitsuka Tiger shoes, which were introduced to the United States in the 70s by Phil Knight, before creating Nike. (Mentioned in Shoe Dog).
Gel-Kayano 25 ASICS
Mizuno was founded in 1906 as Mizuno Brothers Ltd by Rihachi Mizuno and his younger brother Rizo, in Osaka, Japan. Today, Mizuno is a global corporation which makes a wide variety of sports equipment and sportswear.
Mizuno Wave Shadow 2
Newton was founded in Boulder, Colorado, in 2006. The brand made its name with brightly colored shoes, unique forefoot propulsion lugs, the promotion of more efficient running form, and online-only sales.
Newton Distance 7
New Balance is an American multinational corporation based in Boston, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1906 (still privately owned) as the “New Balance Arch Support Company” and is one of the world’s major sports footwear manufacturers.
New Balance founder William J. Riley
New Balance London Edition
Zoot Founded in 1983 in Kona, Hawaii, the home of the Ironman Triathlon World Championships, Zoot Sports began making performance apparel that catered to elite athletes competing in the emerging sport of Triathlon. Zoot has grown to be a global premier endurance sports brand, distributed across 22 countries and has introduced the first Triathlon-Specific Footwear Line.
ZOOT M & W ALI’I
Inov-8 was founded in 2003 in Crook, England and is one of the World´s leading all terrain footwear, apparel and equipment brands. Operating in over 60 countries, designs high quality, innovative products in both the running and performance training sectors. Now part of Descente, the japanese sports clothing company.
Inov-8 Parclaw 275
I recommend you a deep approach to sports brands and culture from a sociological approach: read it here