Recently in Shoe Tech Category

Jordan Hasay photo by Chris Lotsbom, RRW
PHOTO: Gemma Steel of Great Britain gets a narrow victory over American Shalane Flanagan at the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon 10-K (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly)
Skechers continues to have strong growth. With over 3000 SKU's, the performance division really was started less four years ago. Meb Keflezigihi's sponsorship by Skechers has proved to be a huge boon to Skechers, in many cases, Meb's use of Skechers has opened doors for the brand into specialty running stores that are not positive about the brand's family shoe focus. Kara Goucher's new sponsorship with Skechers, as a combination with Oiselle, hopes to capitalize on Goucher's reputation in the running community and likeability. 

In a time when the retail footwear dollar seems to be tightening up in run specialty and in the large channels (DSG has had some challenges over the summer), something that gives a brand some social media visibility can help, but, in the end, it always, always comes down to the shoes. 


This is a video, from adidas about the new, customizable adidas Energy Boost ESM! We received this release earlier today, July 23, 2014. 
On Saturday, July 12, 2014, Emma Coburn made her dreams a reality. 

Emma Coburn, 9:11.42 AR, photo by

Leading nearly the entire race in Glasgow, Emma Coburn controlled the pace, as the field went through 3:03 for the thousand meter mark, then 6:10 for two kilometers. Emma was on AR pace as the announcer noted, and as Hiwot Ayalew ran right behind her. 

Emma Coburn has had a fantastic 2014 season, opening with a nearly five second PB with her 9:19.81 in Shanghai. " I want to win a DL race this year where they know me, and don't think of me as the pace maker" laughed a very happy Emma Coburn after her race on Saturday, July 12, 2014.

What was the difference this time her race? That last kilometer, run in 3:01.5, was her fastest, and this time, when Hiwot Ayalew went by her with 300 meters to go, Emma stayed focused and close to her. Her last water jump not withstanding, the exhaustion from a race well-run had to show some effect, as Emma Coburn dug deep, running to the finish. 

With so much on the line at the end of a major race, I wondered how Emma felt about her race, her season, her satisfaction after a race well-run. I met Emma in the mixed zone, after she had spoken to several media organizations. 

It is a humbling experience for me, many times, to see what these athletes put into their craft. Her is the interview I did with Emma Coburn, the new American record holder at the steeplechase, in a time of 9:11.42! 

Flynn Sports Management announced today that two of their new young talents, Marielle Hall and Trevor Dunbar, had signed agreements with Nike Athletics.


Molly Huddle, Shannon Rowbury battle to the final inches, USA 5000 meters, 
photo by

Saucony 500 Mile Challenge, Wednesday, July 10, 2014: 

Wednesday: Warm up; 5-mile run (400 Mile: 4 miles/300 Mile: 3 miles); 3x150 yards relaxed strideouts on grass, jogging back to the start after each, no rest between; cool down, #Saucony500
Jenny Simpson leads USA 1,500m champs, June 29, 2014, 
photo by

Running in less than perfect conditions, like 100 plus degrees on the Sacramento track, Jenny Simpson ran her race and won the USA 1,500 meter title. Mary Cain, the young professional athlete from the Nike Oregon project, was, in fact second, but, in fact, could have been in a different race. Simpson, the former World Champion from 2011 and silver medalist from 2013, is in the top of her form. Mary Cain, running well, is at the beginning of her professional development. Fascinating to see both in the same race. 

Move, then, to July 5, 2014, in front of 35,000 to 40,000 screaming fans at the Stade de France in St.Denis, Paris, France. Jenny Simpson has followed Phoebe Wright through 61.96 for 400 meters and 2:07.23 for 800 meters. The bell, hit in 2:56, had Jenny Simpson out front, running for what her manager, Ray Flynn, told me a few hours before the race, would be....
I have never met Phil Knight, but Mr. Knight has influenced my life in more ways than is first apparent. 

I purchased my first pair of Nike running shoes in the fall of 1975: a pair of Waffle racers. The yellow and green shoes were wildly colorful for the time. It was only my second pair of real running shoes: for the first two plus years of running, I wore K-Mart special white sneakers, low tops, which I purchased for $3.50 a pair. My first real pair of running shoes was an Onitsuka Tiger Corsair, which cost, with a pair of adidas Interval track spikes, cost $34, which was an amazing amount of money at the time. 

I worked at Runner's World from 1981-1987, and worked with Nike the last two years, when they began working with RW again after a bit of litigation that many have read about. When I started my first business, Tom Clarke, then President of Nike, was kind enough to look at my business plan for a four color track magazine, and thought it made sense. It took me three years to earn the support of Nike for the project, probably the reason the project succeeded, as I had to develop relationships with most of the brands of running shoes in the business at the time. 

I go to track meets and marathons, as part of my job. I compare most of the track meets to the Nike Pre Classic: Nike's homage to the late, great, iconic Steve Prefontaine, America's James Dean of distance running (find the Runner article about Pre from 1981), who was so influential on the Nike brand. The Pre Classic kept world class track meets alive in North America when no one else cared. 

Phil Knight's speech to the graduating class of 2014 at Stanford School of Business is a must read. Mr. Knight, unlike some speakers at graduations, was refreshingly honest. The key message: building a successful business requires drive, sweat equity, much luck and the love and support of family and friends. 

The most important accomplishments of Nike should be left to the business writers. My personal thoughts are that Phil Knight, and his company of friends, those still around, those long gone, those, at other companies, reinvented the sports equipment category. Running shoes are fulfill both the needs of  form and fashion. Mr. Knight took the developments of the late Horst Dassler, adidas heir apparent, and the man who invented sports marketing, blew it up and gave sports marketing an uniquely American perspective. No matter how much you agree or disagree with it, the Nike swoosh is one of the most desired logos on the planet. 

Read Mr. Knight's speech, linked below in its entirety:

Read every word. Read it a second time. Lessons are there. 

Darby D'Agostino.jpg
Abbey D'Agostino, NCAA Indoor 2013, 
photo by Pretty Sporty/Cheryl Treworgy

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