Lightweight running footwear is on the move.
The category generated 30 percent of total running footwear sales for the first 10 months of 2013, up 22 percent from the same period a year ago, according to just-released data from The NPD Group Inc.
“Innovation continues to set the pace,” said chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen. “Consumers are looking for athletic shoes that will perform better than earlier models with a lighter, more-comfortable weight. We also have noticed an attraction to brighter, bold colors. The lightweight shoe category is definitely growing faster than the running category overall.”
According to the same research, sporting-goods stores and chains are benefiting most from lightweight’s strong performance.
“While minimalist-style shoes are losing momentum at specialty stores, they paved the way for the current lightweight trend,” said Cohen. “Sporting-goods stores have an advantage over other channels with a breadth of assortments and a depth of inventory.”
As for the future, Cohen anticipates further updates to the category.
“Watch for innovations related to 3-D printing and other technologies as the next evolution of lightweight in 2014,” the analyst said.