Running Brands & Brand Profiles
In the past thirty years, major brands have come to dominate the running shoe market. What Nike started in the late 1960s when they began importing Tiger shoes from Japan under the name Blue Ribbon Sports has grown into one of the most lucrative and fiercely competitive sectors of the athletics clothing market.
Over the years, companies have used celebrities to support their brands, with perhaps the biggest – and most successful – celebrity endorsement being the deal between Nike and Michael Jordan in the 1980s. Nike’s gamble on picking up the young player was rewarded a thousand times over as he went on to carve out a career as arguably the best player of all time, as well as becoming the world’s most recognizable sporting icon.
These days all major brands use celebrities to promote their products, from David Beckham’s contract with Adidas to Usian Bolt’s endorsement of Puma, allowing sports fans all over the world to feel like they are wearing the same shoes as their heroes.
However, behind and beyond all the glitz and endorsements, companies still have to deliver the goods, and that means making shoes that do what they are supposed to. For a runner, that means that you have to ignore the hype, and look for shoes that work for you.
It is this that has allowed companies like Brooks and New Balance to thrive and survive. Their focus remains on the needs of runners, and they have thousands of loyal fans all over the world who don’t care which celebrity endorses a shoe as long as it fits properly and is comfortable to run in.
Whether you choose one of the bigger brands, or a niche company, finding the right shoe takes some effort, but it will ultimately make your running more enjoyable.