Dec. 3-6, 2012, Austin

From reflective clothing for night running and  fluorescent colors that mimic highway safety workers, to a greater variety of accessories that hold music players, personal i.d., and safety devices, the $800 billion running specialty market is exploding with new product innovation, according to organizers of the seventh annual The Running Event (TRE) Conference and Expo, Dec. 3 to 6, 2012, in Austin, Tex. (therunningevent.com).

Industry mainstays adidas, ASICS, Brooks, Mizuno, and Nike, will join another 225-plus innovative companies targeting 1,000 running specialty store buyers gathered for this closed-to-the-public trade convention.

The early December timing allows running industry manufacturers to display Fall/Winter 2013 product, providing retailers with a first look at the latest footwear, apparel and running accessories. It also provides an opportunity for media to plan their editorial coverage for 2013 and beyond.

Leisure Trends Group (leisuretrends.com) studied the industry and believes specialty retail is both healthy and optimistic. Running specialty retailers posted sales of $799.3 million in the 12 months ending December 2010, a 34% increase over sales in 2006. In the first six months of 2011 retailers report posting a 11.1% sales gain over the same period in 2010.

According to Mark Sullivan, editor of the trade magazine Running Insight, “The growth of running is due in part to increased participation by women, the popularity of charity running events, and the use of running to help train for other activities such as CrossFit.”

Product innovation for 2013 includes the refinement of the lightweight and barefoot trend to produce Lightweight 2.0, the next generation of running shoes that combine new materials and lightweight designs to produce the fastest and lightest-weight shoes athletes have ever seen, according to Sullivan.

“Based on findings by Leisure Trends Group, minimalist shoes account for an average of 12% of shoe sales in 2010 among retailers who sell them. Nearly half of retailers perceive minimalist shoes as a long term trend.”

“In apparel, we expect to see a refinement there too, with an emphasis on high quality, high performance apparel driven by innovation in both natural and synthetic wonder fabrics,” Sullivan adds.

Sullivan continues, “SmartWool and Icebreaker will both be touting the performance attributes of wool while ASICS, Brooks, Gore Running Apparel, and Saucony will all be offering lightweight performance gear that keeps runners cool when they need to be cool, warm when they need to be warm, and dry and comfortable throughout the run experience.”

Injury Prevention and Treatment

The prevention and treatment of injuries are the focus of many TRE 2012 exhibitors helping runners overcome their aches and pains. For instance:

Feetures! (feeturesbrand.com) is one of the leading hosiery companies in running. The company will introduce the Plantar Fasciitis Sleeve, an easy to wear slip-on device that allows runners to treat the painful symptoms of one of the most common running injuries.

On’s patented CloudTec system features a number of  “clouds” made of highly flexible tubular pieces of rubber. The sole absorbs both vertical and horizontal forces to ensure a soft landing. This results in a cushioned landing and a barefoot takeoff; athletes and their coaches report increased muscle activation, reduced risk of injury and shortened recovery times (on-running.com).

Strutz (lovemystrutz.com) is a new exhibitor at TRE offering a range of products for runners to keep their feet healthy, including the Arch Compression Band which offers all day basic arch support – it helps relieve stress from the bottom of feet while providing firm comfort, support and flexibility.

Trigger Point Performance Therapy (tptherapy.com) is another new company in the running category that offers a full line of products designed to keep runners healthy by allowing them to work on specific parts of their body, such as knees, hips and lower body.

Some other new products coming to the trade show in Austin are:

Magellan’s Switch Series is a powerful, adaptable, and customizable family of crossover GPS watches for runners, cyclists, and multisport athletes that integrates seamlessly with Magellan Active (active.magellangps.com) as well as leading third party websites.

New Balance ­- Boston-based New Balance will add to its barefoot-inspired Minimus collection with the introduction of the innovative HI-REZ road shoe. This shoe is designed for the minimal runner looking for the latest cutting edge product to enhance a hyper-real sensory running experience. NB Minimus HI-REZ launches in April 2013 (newbalance.com).

Run Safe Armband – Contains a 125 decibel alarm, a bright strobe light, and pepper spray all in one (gettornado.com).

Zoot Sports’ Ultra Race IceFil Tee beats the heat by responding to elevated skin temperatures with a cooling technology called Icefil that combines xylitol and thermal radiation nano technology, reducing skin temperature. ETHERmesh side panels and flatlock stitch construction enhance ventilation, minimize chafing and ensure next-to-skin comfort (www.zootsports.com).

TRE is designated one of the 50 fastest-growing trade shows in America according to the August 2012 “Fastest 50” issue of trade publication Trade Show Executive.

The closed-to-the-public Running Event® is a registered trademark of Formula 4 Media, LLC. For more information: www.therunningevent.com, 646 319 7878. For information about exhibiting, contact Troy Leonard, show director, at 352 624 1561, tleonard@formula4media.com.

Logo courtesy Blumenfeld and Assoc. PR/The Running Event

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