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Saucony Remakes No. 1 Shoe With Color-Shifting Nylon

Saucony’s Jazz sneaker has worn several hats in the 40 years since it first hit the shelves.

When the shoe debuted in 1981, it gained appeal among runners as a performance running shoe. Decades later, it returned to launch the brand’s retro Saucony Originals category. Since then, it has been “embraced heavily in Italy as a fashion go-to” and become the brand’s No. 1 selling shoe, Saucony Originals marketing manager Jason Faustino said.

“In its 40th year we will be seeing all of those things being honored at the same time, in a fresh new way for new consumers, as well as brand loyalists that have been connected to brands for years,” Faustino told Sourcing Journal.

As the brand continues to celebrate the Jazz’s 40th anniversary this year, Faustino said consumers can expect to see “exciting releases” from Saucony Originals that play on the retro style in new ways, such as the color-shifting Jazz ’81 UV that will debut Monday.

Replicating the original’s look and feel, the updated sneaker features a few stellar upgrades, namely nylon underlays that react to heat and light. The shoe comes in three colorways: a purple pair that shifts to light pink, an orange pair that turns to yellow and a blue pair the changes to teal. Sunlight, physical touch and the heat generated by the wearer’s foot can all activate the color shift.

“Saucony Originals embraces color through and through,” Faustino said. “It’s a big reason people are into our products, and we think the color-shifting property is symbolic of our audience—people that are constantly shifting in mood, identity, style, etc. It’s also cool to see and good for [Instagram].”

The Jazz ’81 UV features a Wolverine suede overlay, an upgraded full-cushion sockliner and a soft but durable molded EVA sole. It is available for purchase on Saucony’s website for $80.

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Saucony’s parent company Wolverine Worldwide described the running brand as one of the keys to its portfolio when it reported its third-quarter earnings in November. Mike Stornant, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Wolverine, said the company planned to place big bets on Saucony’s lifestyle brand in the year ahead. The first half of 2021 alone will see new iterations of its Guide, Ride and Kinvara running shoes.

“We’re going to see a strong year [for Saucony] based on the new products coming to market, the reaction we’re getting from the consumer and the retail leaders in the category, and then just the way we think the category in general is going to continue to be important to the consumer going into the next year,” Stornant said.