Running footwear sales show no signs of slowing down.
Well over a year since the pandemic kicked off a surge in running interest, the category has managed to hold onto its momentum. Brooks Running is no exception.
With global revenue up 75 percent over last year, the Seattle-based company “grew at a record pace” in the second quarter, according to chief operating officer Dan Sheridan. The improvement came on the heels of 27 percent sales growth in full-year 2020.
“Throughout Q2 our brand has hit several major milestones together as a team,” Sheridan said in a statement. “Throughout the quarter we publicly announced our science-backed plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, we continued to listen, learn and support underrepresented communities in the run, and our BlueLine team brought to market their latest footwear innovation.”
As Sheridan indicated, Brooks unveiled plans to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 in late June. These strategies include converting factories to renewable electricity, switching textile yarns to low-impact dyeing processes and sourcing materials with recycled content. Brooks—in partnership with the certified B Corp ClimateCare—also plans to purchase “high-quality” carbon credits from groups that avoid or reduce carbon emissions.
The brand took an immediate step toward realizing these goals days after its early summer announcement when it launched the latest iteration of its highest-volume style, the Ghost, with the promise to completely offset its emissions. The shoe represented the brand’s first carbon-neutral product, it said.
Brooks also partnered with the creative content studio and production company Camp4 Collective in the second quarter to develop its new video series “Who Is a Runner.” Scheduled to launch in mid-August, it aims to create “awareness about the barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion that exist in the running community” and challenge “what being a runner traditionally looks and feels like,” Brooks said.
The brand’s BlueLine Lab launched its latest style, the Aurora-BL, in May. The shoe featured a midsole foam it described as its “lightest, softest and most responsive version yet,” as well as a decoupled midsole.
According to The NPD Group, performance running footwear grew by about one-third in the first half of 2021 versus the year-ago period, roughly in line with the more than 35 percent growth of athletic footwear, generally.
Brooks, alongside Converse, Vans, Under Armour and Skechers, grew by more than 50 percent in the first half of the year, NPD said. Competitor Hoka One One—now the No. 1 division at Ugg-parent Deckers Brands—climbed about 90 percent. Roger Federer-backed On, reportedly headed for an IPO as of April, saw sales triple.
Though Nike dominated the top 10-selling athletic styles of the first half of 2021, per NPD, Brooks’ Ghost 13—predecessor to the carbon-neutral Ghost 14—and Adrenaline GTS 21 nabbed the ninth and tenth spots, respectively. Adidas’ NMD R1, the only other style not from Nike or its Jordan brand, landed in eighth.