Several months back I received an email out of the blue by a young man named Nick End. Nick introduced himself as a former collegiate runner for Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. He and two classmates had developed a program that could suggest the proper size of shoe to order based on the size of your current shoe. It could also compare the fit of different shoes using internal measurements. I was skeptical. How could you effectively and accurately compare the size and internal dimensions of various shoes?
Shoefitr, the latest fit-help addition to Running Warehouse
Even though I was skeptical, I was very interested in the premise. Key barriers against customers ordering shoes online are not knowing what size to order or how a shoe will fit. If Nick actually had a program that could compare the size and fit of various models and it worked, you could increase customer confidence in ordering while hopefully decreasing the return rate. An added bonus would be the ability over time to compare shoes from past seasons to current available models. How many times have you heard “Remember Shoe X, I loved the fit of that shoe. I wish I could find a shoe that fit like that again.” Over time this would help solve that dilemma.
20 years ago, I was part of a team that was pulled together at the last minute to run the 1990 Hood to Coast Relay, a 1000 team, 200 mile journey from Mt Hood to the town of Seaside, Oregon where Lewis and Clark ended their journey. Teams are made up of 12 runners who run in order 1-12 an average of 6 miles each before repeating the order again and then again a third time. All runners average about 18 miles. The five time defending champions in 1990 were “The Killer Bees.” We named ourselves “Black Flag” with the expressed goal of exterminating the Killer Bees.
2010 Black Flag Hood to Coast logo
The Asics DS Trainer was popular long before the current minimalist movement hit. There’s a reason it’s been around for over 15 years, the enticing combination of light weight, responsive ride and a touch of support resonated with a significant portion of the serious running crowd. With the advent of the minimal movement and the demand for more light weight models increasing, Asics has decided the best way to address the market was to take their most popular lightweight midsole/outsole combination and offer slightly tweaked version targeted at different runners.
For Spring 2011, Asics offers three lightweight trainers all based on the tooling borrowed from various versions of the DS Trainer; the updated GEL-DS Trainer 16, the newly introduced GEL-Noosa Tri 6 and the entirely new GEL-DS SkySpeed.
The Updated Asics GEL-DS Trainer 16. Women's shown in Lime Green
The Trance is a shoe that is classified by Brooks as their flagship support trainer with the most bells and whistles of any model in their support category. Yet the shoe at times seemed a bit lost. Yes it sold, but not nearly as well as the Adrenaline or the Beast which are industry leaders in their class. Customers know what to expect from these models every year and Brooks not only meets but exceeds these expectations. The Trance on the other hand seemed to be heading in a slightly different direction with each new model update. Brooks tried for years to establish the Trance with its own identity, yet it never really was a consistent story. The annual change of direction never allowed the model to gain much traction in the industry. The vision started to sharpen with the current Trance 9 and it now appears Brooks has a very clear direction for the shoe. With the new Brooks Trance 10, your search for a high end Adrenaline has been found.
The Newly Updated Brooks Trance 10
Mizuno has always had a reputation for producing footwear that appeals to competitive runners. Their products have outstanding attention to detail, their materials and construction quality are some of the best in the industry and the fit and feel of the shoes scream “go faster!” For Spring 2011, Mizuno sets its sights on tweaking two of the industry’s best received racing flats, the Mizuno Wave Musha 2 and the Mizuno Wave Ronin 2 with the third generation of each.
The Mizuno Wave Musha 2 has a great following. Lightweight and responsive while delivering a touch of support, this model has proven to be one of the best sellers in the category for us. The shoe has proven so successful that Mizuno has decided to leave it largely untouched. The updated model for Spring ’11 offers the addition of two welded overlays in the forefoot to snug up the fit a bit. The only other change is the new color. The midsole, outsole carry over so the ride and performance remain the same as the current model which is a good thing. Overall, the Wave Musha 3 is a very cool looking update that should definitely perform as well as the current model.
Mizuno Wave Musha 3
The Saucony ProGrid Kinvara has proven very successful, a nice example of the right product hitting the market at the right time. The combination of light weight, minimal heel/toe height differential, responsive ride and great graphics proved attractive to the growing ranks of runners experimenting with minimal-type footwear. Saucony is seeking to capitalize on the success of the Kinvara by expanding the concept and making the Kinvara experience available to more runners. Enter the Saucony ProGrid Mirage, a supportive version of the Kinvara for those slight over-pronators looking for a viable lightweight option.
Saucony ProGrid Mirage for Men
Team Lifeline is a great organization that raises money for Chai Lifeline which is the international children’s health support organization that provides crucial emotional, social, and financial assistance to seriously ill children, their families, and communities.
Running Warehouse is partnering up with Team Lifeline by providing a free pair of running shoes for those that sign up and complete the program by raising the minimum fund needed to earn a free trip to the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon December 5, 2010 or the ING Miami Marathon January 30, 2011. Online coaching is provided to help reach your goals.
Details of the organization and the program can be found here: http://www.teamlifeline.org/
You need to enter “RW10” in the coupon field to identify yourself as a Running Warehouse customer and thus eligible for the free pair of shoes. Additionally, entering this code will grant you a $25 discount off the normal $75 registration fee. The offer is only available to new Team Lifeline Participants and expires July 31, 2010.
Additional questions about the program or this promotion can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Salomon XF Trail Shoe is launched at Les Tresoms Hotel in Annecy, France.
Recently, Salomon invited 150 accounts from North American and Europe to their facilities in Annecy, France to introduce the upcoming Salomon XR Crossmax Trail shoe. The RW crew left San Luis Obispo at 11:00 Saturday morning for the 45 minute flight to Los Angeles, then after a 3 hour layover we were off on the 11 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany. The flight over is never very much fun. You loose a day in transit, plus trying to sleep on the flight is pretty tough. Once in Frankfurt it was through customs, across a maze of corridors and tunnels to the gate for the final 60 minute flight from Frankfurt to Geneva, Switzerland. Once there a taxi driver holding a Salomon placard whisked us to our hotel 20 miles away in downtown Annecy.
It was time again for the RW crew to head to the annual Asics Gold Account Meeting held this year at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort just outside of Austin, Texas. This annual meeting is held to provide the top Asics running specialty accounts across the nation an opportunity to meet face to face with key people at Asics and to see the upcoming Asics product for future seasons.
Joe and '04 Olympic Marathon Bronze Medalist Deena Kastor at the 2010 Asics Gold Account Meeting
adidas Supernova Adapt for Women
For more than a decade the Adidas Supernova Classic has been one of the most cherished and popular running models for 3 stripes. Season after season this model has led sales for the brand. The interesting thing is that as much as people say they want their favorite shoes to remain unchanged, sales tend to fall off for popular models that don’t tweak things every season to keep things fresh. The only models that have been able to maintain a solid volume of sales every year while remaining largely unchanged are the adidas Supernova Classic and another Adidas model, the Brevard. For a shoe to remain largely unchanged and be a sales leader in a technical field such as running specialty for a major brand for over a decade is a testament to how good this shoe was and how strong the following has been.