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Saucony, Adidas and Brooks Earnings Reveal the Running Category’s Momentum

More brands and retailers shared Q3 earnings results this week. In many cases, strong results across multiple brands suggested that the running category, galvanized by a pandemic-era health and fitness boom, is still riding high, with no signs of slowing down.

Brooks, a leader in the running category, reported Q3 revenue growth of 24% year-over-year, led by gains in silhouettes including the Adrenaline GTS, Ghost and Glycerin franchises, which were up 50% versus 2020.

“More than 20 years ago, we made a big bet that if we put the runner at the center of everything we do — delivering the product they need and then celebrating the many reasons they run and the positive energy they get from it — we could become a leading brand in run,” said Jim Weber, CEO at Brooks.

In the women’s running category, Brooks has continuously grabbed market share from category leaders including Nike and Adidas.

Adidas also highlighted running in its Q3 earnings. Executives noted Adidas’ Lightstrike Pro technology, which has helped runners break world records and achieve more wins across road races globally. In the 2021 New York City Marathon, four of the six winners were Adidas athletes.

“While I’m excited to see Three Stripes reclaiming credibility in the technical running community, we’re also making strong progress in driving commercial success in this category,’  said Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted in a call with investors. He also called out Adizero and Ultraboost, the latter of which saw double digit growth versus 2019.

At Wolverine World Wide Inc., which includes the Saucony, Sperry and Merrell brands, Saucony was a standout brand in Q3, growing more than 40% year-over-year and 60% compared to 2019. Saucony.com grew more than 50% and nearly tripled since 2019.

Notably, Saucony has performed particularly well in China, an area of struggle for brands including Nike and Adidas as of late. Adidas executives said pandemic-related lockdowns and supply chain issues in China caused overall revenue growth to be reduced by about 600 million euro this quarter. In China, sales declined 15%. Meanwhile, Saucony grew its online and store business in China in Q3.

“The brand continues to increase the number of participants on virtually every marathon or race that’s run either in China or here in the United States,” said Wolverine World Wide chairman and CEO Blake Krueger. “So we’re very bullish on the brand today. And obviously, it’s growing at a highly accelerated pace.”

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