As another strong running community gathering at The Running Event (TRE) comes to a close this week the industry is flying high once again after a couple of years of declining sales in the run specialty channel.

Contrary to negative reports in the market about the end of performance footwear, SSI Data this week reported that Performance Running Footwear sales were flat in the overall SSI Data Measured Market, while posting mid- to high-single-digit growth in the all-important Run Specialty retail channel.

“The sky is not falling, performance footwear is not dead and I am happy to report that consumers still look for innovation in their footwear, even if it comes in the form of comfort,” quipped James Hartford, CEO and chief market analyst at SportsOneSource, LLC, which manages the SSI Data trend reporting platforms. “Based on the trailing 52-week data SSI Data through November 24, Performance Running Footwear sales are up more than 7 percent in the Run Specialty retail channel. The trend line for the category has actually accelerated in the last two months as the core running brands, continue to innovate and emerging brands such as On Running, Altra, 361° and Topo Athletic post very healthy growth numbers in the specialty channels.”

The SSI Data team presented their latest market trends to hundreds of run specialty retailers that attended The Running Event conference sessions before the trade show in Austin, TX.

“We have had a unique opportunity this week to sit with many retailers and brands to validate and confirm our reported trends in this market,” continued Hartford. “This is real growth, experienced by a wide range of retailers and many of the key brands that have focused on product innovation over the last two years. Their efforts are clearly paying dividends.”

SportSoneSource also cited recent participation data from SFIA in their TRE presentation that indicated growth in running participation, particularly at the core runner level.

SSI Data is reporting that Brooks continues to lead the pack in Performance Running Footwear followed by New Balance as both brands post continued double-digit growth. From a growth percentage standpoint, the emerging brands all posted very strong double-digit growth as some doubled their business.