AUSTIN, TX. - What will be in your favorite local running store next year? At the Running Event, a conference put on by Formula4 Media of Great Neck, N.Y. last week, manufacturers who want to stock your local running store for the year to come showed off what they had to offer. Some products were tried and true, like shoes and apparel, with accouterments from massage rollers to headlamps muscling for attention. From the trade show floor, here are four trends to expect in 2016.
More athleisure. The "wear it to the coffee shop after you run and appear to have some sense of style" trend hasn't died just yet. Retailers across the conference were showing apres-run options for both men and women. At the same time that manufacturers showed off luxury hoodies and tapered leg sweatpants, though, analysts at Cowen & Co. reported in a post Black Friday report that activewear for women, which has driven the trend, may be at its peak. My athleisure is either a sweatshirt I bought in Alaska or a high school soccer hoodie. We may return to that - but not quite yet.
New phone carriers. Ways to run with your phone infused both apparel and accessories, from New Balance running tights with open pockets on the thigh where you can slide your smartphone to companies like Roo Sport, Spi-Belt and Amphipod, Inc., showing things you can strap on to stay mobile through your run. Makers of watches to track your run were present too, with one notable exception: the Apple Watch. During the entire conference, I only saw one. A hinderance to Apple pushing into the running market: the watch doesn't have an internal GPS. Until it does, don't expect it to push out Garmin anytime soon.
Trail running boots. Both Adidas and HOKA One One showed trail running shoe options that came up past the ankle. The new Adidas Riot will include ankle support in both new men's and women's options. HOKA One One's Tor Ultra Hi WP is being marketed as working boh for running and trekking. Though the shoe was not at the show, Nike also introduced the ACG Flyknit Lupinek SFB, a sneakerboot designed for hiking but with the comfort of a sneaker, in November.
White shoes. The neon and bright colored running shoe trend that's been dominated running shoes since 2012 is winding down - finally. Grays and whites are returning. No longer will bright be your only option nor, if you're a woman, will you be forced into choosing between wearing ultra feminine color combinations or buying men's shoes. Even women's running tights designed for fall 2017 are moving away from the bright patterns and colors of the last two years. Instead, most manufacturers were showing blacks, blues, dark reds and grays. My first pair of running shoes, which I bought in 2006, were white with hints of red. The next version of the women's Adidas Boost Tempo will be white with hints of blue and red. It''s about time.