The Running Event brings together almost every major brand under one roof to show off the upcoming year’s lineup to both retailers and press alike. We had the opportunity to attend and it was awesome to see what some folks have in store for the running community this coming year. We will breakdown each brand in a moment, but it’s important to look at the pervasive trends before diving deeper.
Male and Female Specific Design Methodology
The majority of brands are moving to female-specific designs and moving away from a single unisex platform in both footwear, apparel, and even hydration. In some cases, some brands are also moving to female-specific toolings as well and even taking into account ground contact differences, bone structure, and more. The model names are the same, but under the hood they are very different beasts.
The Runner’s Quiver
Many brands are building the idea of progression and daily use into their lineups in an effort to move runners away from a one size fits all shoe. This means a shoe for every day, a shoe for speed days, a shoe for the trail, and of course a shoe for your race day… some even under the same platform banner.
Nitrogen Injected Midsoles
Shoes, in general, are getting lighter and the midsole and outsole are really the only places left that manufacturers can make a dent. To lighten things up, a number of shoes are featuring nitrogen injected EVA or TPU which means more air, more rebound, and less density in the mid.
Carbon Carbon Carbon
Carbon is everywhere and almost every brand will have it by year-end. Make no mistake, it helps with race day performance, but is definitely not an everyday shoe. Everyone has their own implementation, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I think seeing 4 hour marathoners buying a $250 Vaporfly Next % convinced them to go mainstream with them. NY and Boston should be very interesting this year.
An Industry on the Rise and the Little Guys Gain Ground
This year was huge for running overall as the entire market is up and almost every brand is making marked improvement. Something is clearly in the air and with the Olympic Trials coming up, things won’t be slowing down. Also while Nike, Brooks, Saucony, and New Balance continue to grow, other upstart brands like Altra, Hoka, On, Topo Athletic, and more all are also seeing significant YoY growth. Truly proof that the running community is more than ever welcoming in new brands.
Every brand is looking at how to improve their sustainability messaging so we are seeing more midsoles using a portion of recycled products and interesting new uppers from folks like Reebok that are made of sustainable materials. It will be interesting to see how this affects the actual performance of the shoe, but we like the direction things are headed.
CBD is Magic
So many supplement and recovery providers are venturing into the CBD space. We are actually preparing a dedicated piece on this, but this shows no sign of slowing.
We could go on and on here given our fanboy (and fangirl) nature with Altra, but the first thing one will note from the lineup is visual consistency appearing across the brand. They are definitely making an attempt to consumerize the brand and are even moving away from the Zero Drop terminology in favor of Balanced Cushioning. They are always inviting, passionate, and open about what they are doing and instead of hiding it behind closed doors, they are happy to put it all out there.
First off, the Provision 4 which we will see much sooner and blends Stability in a really nice way. It has a really clever secure mid-upper stability element that we have to believe others will copy. This is a March 2020 release and weighs in at 9.8oz.
As we look further into 2020, the big news is the Olympus 4 though and while it looks like a beast, it weighs as much as the Lone Peak. It features independent lug technology, ripstop uppers, GuideRails for support, gaiter traps, a mud channel, and more. This will be a big one for them if it runs well.
An ALL new Paradigm 5 will be a full redesign and looks similar to the Torin 4.0. The 4 and 4.5 needed a change and this looks to be a nice update.
The Torin 4.5 Plush features an all-new knit upper which is lighter and more durable. The non-Plush will disappear and then in 2021 expect an all-new Torin.
The Escalante 2 gets the same knit upper treatment and fixes a lot of complaints in the sloppiness side.
Escalante Racer gets to no updates other than colors, but goes mainstream to stores and it’s a hot seller on the performance side.
The Superior 4.5 gets some minor tweaks to remedy some of the sloppiness in the upper (similar to the Escalante). They aren’t messing too much with it overall though.
Brooks was really big at the show and it is clear they are growing and also really leaning into it. They have a couple shoes under wraps until February that are SUPER exciting and FAST, but we will hold on those until there are details to share. That being said it wasn’t without some great upcoming looks across the lineup.
Ghost 13 gets the new engineered mesh upper and they have extended DNA LOFT across the entire midsole. This will launch in August 2020, weigh-in at 10.9oz, features a big 12mm drop, and retail at $130.
The Adrenaline GTS 21 will launch November 2020, features a 12mm drop and loses some weight down to 10.4oz. They have literally mirrored the changes from the Ghost 13 in the upper and midsole, the only difference being a little more mid-foot support and their guide rails for stability. Retail is $130.
The Levitate 4 launches June 2020 and gets a whole new DNA AMP midsole that is lighter overall, thank goodness. The upper has been updated as well to be softer and increase breathability and the outsole has been redesigned to encourage faster transitions. It weighs in at 10.3oz, has an 8mm drop, and will retail at $150.
The Bedlam 3 is a straight clone of the Levitate 4 with the only difference being the addition of their rear GuideRails for stability. This brings them to 10.8oz and the price is also $150. The Revel 4 is actually really interesting as this weight drops to 8.9oz and gets a BioMoGo DNA midsole and green rubber outsole that has been redesigned. It launches in July 2020, has an 8mm drop, but retails for $100. Lastly on the trail side, Cascadia 15 will launch in June 2020 for $130, weighs in at 11oz and honestly is looking really great. We are testing these right now and ar loving the update.
Hoka One One
Hoka one was a mixed bag for us because everything we saw looked pretty great, there also wasn’t anything to blow people away. We know there are some more performance-oriented shoes in the pipeline, but they weren’t showing anything to anyone. What they were showing though was solid so do not dismay and actually confirm their commitment to the more mass-market community.
On the road front, the Clifton 7 looks to be a pretty solid update. We lose the bulky upper from the 6 in favor of the lighter more technical mesh. They also add the new elf ear heel which looks funky, but is actually showing up across a number of brands. As there is a perennial love for the Clifton over here, we are excited to try this new version out. This launches June of 2020 at $130.
The Bondi 7 gets a big update with an all-new upper, features a memory foam collar, and a super plush experience overall.
Rincon gets some minor tweaks to the upper only which should improve on at sloppiness folks felt in the first iteration. this shoe has been way hotter than expected for them and lots of folks at the TRE early morning runs had these on.
The Carbon X adds a new model they are called the Carbon X SPE which is more of an everyday runner, but still using the carbon tech. It’s a weird play, but carbon is hot.
Over on the trail, we kick off with the Torrent 2 launches in May of 2020 at a price of $120 with an all-new lug pattern. It features dual-density mid, engineered mesh upper with TPU overlays around the entire upper for protection
Stinson ATR 6 is literally an entirely new shoe and looks like a beast, but is incredibly light. The lug pattern allows them to be worn off and on road and these are the most cushioned shoe in the lineup. The upper has a new engineered mesh along with TPU overlays for protection and structure.
One of the biggest splashes of the last year is On Running who is seeing tremendous year over year growth. The majority of the lineup is very similar and the two shoes we really want to show photos of, we can’t, so stay tuned for more here. The shoes are the Cloudflash and the Cloudboom, the latter definitely feels like a whole new style for On and will land them squarely on the performance side. It should be interesting… for now, you get a photo of a wall of shoes.
Reebok is actually doing some really nice stuff with their shoes remaining focused on lighter weights and more balanced running. they only have a few shoes in their lineup, but their real story was around their Forever Floatride GROW shoe which they kept behind closed doors. It is a fully sustainable shoe and while not as performance oriented as the rest of the lineup, definitely a nice step in a new direction.
Floatride Run Panthea is a neutral everyday shoe that has a full bed of foam making it a nice ride, but is lower to the ground so has a nice rebound. The upper is a new slated material that is similar to engineered mes, but more breathable. It is 8.4oz, retails for $130, and is available on March 1.
Also, closer looks at the Forever Floatride Energy 2 and the Floatride Run 2.
Salomon had a lot of great foot traffic to their booth and a lot to show, but the majority looked like what we have seen before from them, but then we got a chance to look at these.
The Salomon Predict 2 is a pretty big update to the prior version of this road shoe. The new version features a decoupled outsole using their brand new INFINIRIDE foam platform. The design is pretty crazy, but this thing is hyper flexible and should actually improve the ride over time. The decoupling should help those with knee and hip issues as it should reduce overall stress. Releasing in September of 2020, it will retail at $160, has 28mm of cushion, and weighs in at about 9.7 ounces.
The Predict Soc is very similar to the 2 visually but instead uses their Energy Cell+ midsole technology and a knit upper. It also features a Contragrip outsole so this whole thing screams multi-use… workout, run, wear it around, whatever. These will show up in August 2020, retail at $130, and weigh in at 9.1oz.
The new Sonic 3 lineup we were also pleasantly surprised to see and this launches in February 2020. This is composed of the Accelerate, the Balance, and the Confidence. They all use their Optivibe technology which is designed to decrease vibration (15% less than Vibe) and allow you to run longer. The difference is where they are decoupling the midsole. The Confidence is their stability shoe has a C shaped decoupling line which allows them to get stability without needing a medial post or guides. The Balance has a half and half split between medial and lateral sides, this is your everyday shoe that balances comfort, performance, etc. The Accelerate is closer to the medial line and has a narrower waist. It is designed for performance and race days.
On the trail side, we had a look at the Wildcross which is a much more technical version from their Cross collection. It has an anatomical fit and the lacing box is actually decoupled from the ripstop upper mesh, they refer to these as their Dreamtex. They also have high profile lugs, full Contragrip outsole, and a protective toe. These will retail at $130, have 25mm of cushion, weight in at 10.2o ounces, and will show up in August 2020.
We were actually really digging the offerings coming out of Salming which is another relatively unknown in the US market, but a huge European footprint. The majority of the shoes hit all the right pain points and style-wise are very strong.
Their flagship road offering is the Greyhound which sports 28mm of cushion, weighs in just under 10oz, has a durable Vibram outsole, and a super-responsive mid.
Next up is the Speed which is a lighter weight performance road shoe coming in under 8oz, a little lower to the ground at 22mm, but the high point is the hyper reflective upper. Killer looking in person.
Lastly on the trail side they have the Trail models which all weigh in around 10oz, feature decent Vibram rubber lugs, and quite a bit of mid-body stability for side to side control.
Saucony came in string at the show and this booth remained packed throughout the entire shoe. Saucony fans will rejoice with updates to the more traditional models like the Ride, Triumph, Peregrine and more and everything was super bright, but not massive in general. The real surprise came with their new Endorphin lineup which will all launch summer of 2020.
The Endorphin Pro is the lightest and fastest on the bunch and all of these are designed to have a ton of pop. It will retail at $200 and this is the shoe you will see most of the pros in the next year.
The Endorphin Speed is your tempo/speed day shoe and while we really only are showing white, we also saw this in a few other colorways and more will follow. Interesting to see how this balances against the Kinvara. It will retail at $160.
The Endorphin Shift is your everyday cushioned runner and will probably sell the best to the recreational category or can round out your quiver as a recovery shoe. This will retail at $140.
When it comes to stepping up and taking chances, not sure if anyone is going all in more than Skechers. We still see the stigma in the market as it relates to their more consumer product, but it remains unwarranted. They are pushing harder than any brand into aesthetics, weights, materials, and more. They are also willing to run risks and they took a look at the upper on shoes like the GOrun Ride 7 and the Maxroad 4 and realized it just didn’t work and so they reworked them. They leaned in more into Hyperburst carrying it across the road and trail lines and the new Maxtrail 6 and Speed Trail look very nice (and super light). Folks hated that big SPEED on the Razor 3 so they come out with a Razor 3+ looking very consumer neutral, yet highly performance. They have also introduced the Flow upper as a more breathable alternative to the technical mesh we have seen before. They also signed a deal with Goodyear making them one of the first to produce a custom outsole rubber that is lightweight and still tacky. Lastly, look for their carbon implementation in the Speed Elite to make a huge presence a the US Trials in February.
Razor 3+ goes mono-mesh and becomes much more approachable for all runners while getting lighter and faster. Innocent looking shoe that will fly. This is Fall 2020 at $140 and only 6.3oz.
Maxtrail 6 gets Hyperburst and a full Goodyear rubber bottom, 6mm lugs, and a mono-mesh upper, tongue sleeve, protective overlays and is substantially lighter than the 5. Fall 2020 at $140.
Maxroad 4+ also gets the mon-mesh instead of that knit from the 4, keeps the Hyperburst midsole, and then gets Goodyear rubber on the key contact points.
The FLOW series is also appearing across the lineup and this is essentially the same models as others but with an open mesh upper that allows for lighter weights and higher breathability. This will show up in the Razor TRL FLOW, Ride 8 FLOW, Speed TRL FLOW, and GOMeb Speed 6 Flow. They should all show up in Fall 2020.
Minimal updates on the Topo Athletic side as they just went through a big release with the Zephyr. That being said they were showing two models…
The Ultrafly 3 is a full revamp from the 2. This neutral road shoe features their Zip Foam mid, goes full engineered mesh removing the overlays from before, and get a whole new outsole to boot. It drops to 9.6oz yet still sits at 28mm of cushion. This is a May 2020 launch and should retail at $130.
They also debuted their Trailventure WP which will ship in the Spring as well. This is an exciting move for them to bring in a mid-height speed hiking shoe but definitely sees them challenge Altra and Hoka who have done the same. We have a full review on this coming shortly.
The 361 brand still is fighting for visibility in the crowded US Market, but the new lineup is looking really strong. They have advanced a ton of their shoes with lighter weights and newer tech, but there was one, in particular, they were showing off.
Their flagship neutral road shoe, the Spire 4, features a fully updated upper as they move away from the double layer mesh and into full knit. The midsole has lightened up as well and features their new QuickSpring, EVA based but lighter, as well as their Quickfoam so the shoe should feel more responsive overall. It also maintains that carbon shank in the midpoint. It will retail at $155 and weighs in at 10oz, has a 9mm drop, and is now available, but is specialty only. We did get to try them on and can confirm they do have a nice little bounce feel to them so this should be a solid update.
Other Gear & Technology
There was so much more and we will comment more in the coming weeks! Keep an eye out!