Friday, June 10, 2011

Reebok Founder Invests in Newton Shoes


"Reebok International founder Paul Fireman is jumping back into the running-shoe business, with an investment of close to $20 million in a Colorado sneaker maker that aims to capitalize on the industry’s biggest innovation in decades: shoes that mimic barefoot running.

"If Fireman has been looking for his next act, perhaps he has found it in Newton Running Co., a Boulder start-up that specializes in $175 sneakers built to emulate a shoeless stride — yet with enough cushioning to protect skin and joints from the realities of pavement pounding. He and his Fireman Capital Partners will take a roughly 30 percent stake in Newton.

"'I never thought I’d be involved in anything to do with an athletic or shoe company again,' said Fireman, 67, who five years ago sold Reebok to Adidas-Salomon for $3.8 billion and personally reaped $800 million. 'But this one intrigued me.'...

"...'In my view, this is probably the largest single revolution in running footwear since the Nike air bag,' said John Fisher, the former chief executive of shoemaker Saucony Inc. who now teaches marketing at Babson College. 'The idea of minimalism will continue to grow in geometric leaps and bounds.'

"Fisher said it has been decades since anything truly new has emerged in the running shoe business, and that Fireman could well be seizing on a large opportunity, 'where you put one and one together and you don’t get two — you get nine.'"

Good insight. Obviously some folks from the sneaker business understand what's going on.

P.S. John Fisher makes a cool statement above, but he's mistaken.  This is the largest revolution in running footwear since the sneaker.