Think lightweight running shoes are just a fad? Think again. Thirty percent of total performance running footwear sales in October 2013, which was up 22 percent when compared to the year ago period, came from lightweight running. “Innovation continues to set the pace,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst. “Consumers are looking for athletic shoes that will perform better than earlier models with a lighter, more comfortable weight. We have also noticed an attraction to brighter, bold colors. The lightweight shoe category is definitely growing faster than the running category overall.”
Currently those benefitting most from the increase in lightweight performance running footwear are sporting goods stores and chains, more so than specialty. “Sporting goods stores have an advantage over other channels with a breadth of assortments and a depth of inventory. Meanwhile, the more nimble specialty retailers are already looking for what’s next. Watch for innovations to 3-D printing and other technologies as the next evolution of lightweight in 2014,” Cohen says.