Greetings from Austin, Texas! This is my fourth year attending the Running Event in Austin, TX. The Running Event (TRE) is a conference and expo for running specialty store buyers. Over 250 exhibitors include dozens of young, start-up companies joining running industry flagship brands such as adidas, ASICS, Mizuno USA, New Balance, Nike, Reebok, Under Armour, and Vibram Five Fingers. TRE will showcase premier and up-and-coming products in the $800 billion running specialty market that is exploding with new product innovations. The tradeshow runs from December 3 to December 6.
"We think we've put together a great combination of educational seminars, product introductions, and networking opportunities in one of America's premier cities for runners," says Mark Sullivan, co-founder of The Running Event and editor-in-chief of Running Insight magazine.
"We love having The Running Event in the capital of Texas, and the response from exhibitors and attendees has indicated they do too."
In spring 2013, TRE was named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows by Trade Show Executive magazine. This was the second consecutive year for such honors, the "Oscars" of the trade show industry.
For shoe reviewers and running bloggers, this is our candy store. But some models won't be available until Fall 2014. The ones that are currently available or in a few weeks or in Spring 2014 will be welcomed by readers.
Merrell is updating only one of its Barefoot collection models, the Bare Access 3.
A completely new outdoor collection that might appeal to a majority of runners who desire more cushioning and a higher heel-to-toe drop (6mm) is the AllOut collection. The AllOut Fuse is a hybrid running shoe built to transition from road to trail whereas the AllOut Rush is for the trail or ultra runner looking for a training or race shoe to go the distance.
Mizuno is updating the EVO collection with significant upgrades to the uppers in both the Wave EVO Levitas 2 and Wave EVO Cursoris 2. If you like the Wave EVO collection, stock up because they won't be around for long.
No changes to the Wave Universe 5 for a while, most likely 2015. Just new colorways.
The Fluid Flex II from Montrail is an incremental tweak to the original with an improved & better fitting upper and additional medial structure. The lacing system is now also centered.
Puma is updating almost everything in their FAAS collection except for the zero drop shoes though. This include the FAAS 700 v2, FAAS 500 v3, and FAAS 300 v3. The FAAS 700 v2 is a totally new everyday technical training shoe and is the perfect entry level shoe for sports specialty and sporting goods. At a 12mm heel-to-toe drop this shoe features updated Faas Foam+ and EverRide+ technology at an affordable price.
The new FAAS 500 v3 is a brand new upper utilizing the same midsole and outsole as the v2. With upgraded materials and a minimal EVERFIT system that locks the heel in place, this new shoe is going to fit even better than its predecessor.
The FAAS 300 v3 is the perfect PERFORMANCE TRAINING shoe in the FAAS collection. With a lightweight and technical platform and a minimal and deconstructed upper, this shoe will make any runner feel lighter and faster whether it be training runs or races.
They are also introducing a new trail shoe, the FAAS 500 TR. The new FAAS 500 TR is Puma's most technical trail running shoe built for the rigors of the toughest of terrains. At a 4mm heel-to-toe drop the shoe encourages a more midfoot strike particularly relevant for trail running. It's lightweight, fits great, provides great traction and has a smooth ride.
Puma is also jumping into the maximalist category with their FAAS 1000 model. The FAAS 1000 is the most cushioned shoe in the FAAS Collection, featuring a FAAS Foam Lite close to foot for a softer, cushier ride. At a 12mm DROP and built for the traditional runner looking for premium cushioning, this shoe is surprisingly light. The unique and innovative execution of the EVERFIT system locks the foot onto the platform and keeps the tongue in place.
As for the Mobium line, the only update is the Mobium Elite v2 and Mobium Elite v2 Clear. The Clear edition is built with a TRANSLUCENT material package to allow the runner to mix things up with color.
New for SKORA is a new category, Training. The SKORA FIT is a versatile and flexible shoe ideal for the gym or road. Uppers is 3D printed and include a seamless but stretchy air mesh for comfort and an internal arch-band for structural support. It also come with an asymmetrical lacing that relieves pressure across top of foot.
The other models will enjoy an awesome choice of colorways not seen anywhere - I can't wait to get my hands on some of them! The women's SKORA PHASE and PHASE-X model will have a redesigned heel collar (lower collar height and full collar binding) that some female runners (including one of my wear testers) experienced severe rubbing around the Achilles and ankle areas.