Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Marketers Sprint to Join Lightweight-Running Craze"

The revolution continues apace:

"Runners have always taken pride in the lack of equipment and technical gear their sport requires. And now many are getting even more basic, fueling the rise of so-called minimal or lightweight footwear that strips out cushioning and structure.

"While not for the weekend warrior, lightweight-running products are gaining traction with a broad swath of the population. And marketers are taking notice, flooding the market with major campaigns in an effort to grab a piece of the fast-growing category.

"According to SportsOneSource, lightweight products -- loosely defined as shoes that weigh 9 oz. or less in a men's size 9 -- accounted for 28% of the running category in the second quarter. Minimalist styles, a subset of lightweight, accounted for 5% of the running category. Lightweight and minimalist products have been around for years. Nike Free was launched in 2004 and Vibram's FiveFingers shoes (think: gloves for the feet) followed in 2005. The trend has incubated since then. The 2009 book, "Born to Run," which followed a tribe of distance runners in Mexico who run in flat, homemade sandals, is credited with catapulting the discussion to the mainstream...."

"While not for the weekend warrior" is hooey, but the rest is pretty interesting, and I hope this woman is right:

""Once you've made the transition [to a minimal or lightweight product] it's difficult to go back," said Katherine Petrecca, collection manager for New Balance's minimal line. "What will happen in the more mainstream channels remains to be seen, but in performance and specialty channels, it's here to stay.""