Aug 17, 2017 | By WGSN Insider
As the Active Team gears up for summer, we kicked off the season with a “Test Drive” at the Saucony and New Balance Showrooms to check new and innovative product. In the sports world, viewing an upcoming collection doesn’t solely mean stopping by a showroom or tradeshow and taking pictures. Sometimes the experience translates to actually putting on apparel and footwear and seeing, first hand, how these products perform. Both brands are running market leaders in their own respect, so we were thrilled to receive the invites.
First up, Saucony….
Falling in line with the minimalist movement that we’ve been tracking for some time now…Saucony dedicated its presentation to three styles in this fast-growing sector. The Mirage, Kinvara 2 and Hattori were all featured to acknowledge the brand’s passion and focus on minimalist footwear and showcase the different levels of support offered.
When we first arrived, we were given a pair of the Hattori’s, “the most minimal and lightweight shoe ever…..the Hattori’s mitten-like toe box gives your toes room to naturally arch, grip and push off.” Saucony wanted us to experience one-on-one treatment with its team of specialists and “Test Drive” the shoes for ourselves. Immediately we felt the difference in shoe structure, specifically the higher toe lift and high range of flexibility.
An introduction was made with Spencer White, the director of Saucony’s Human Performance & Innovation Lab, for a breakdown of how the brand analyzes athlete’s running performance. He proceeded to adhere EMG (Electromyogram) sensors on our legs to monitor our pace on the treadmill. (So, yeah, we went running!) EMG sensors measure the electrical activity in muscles, showing us, which muscles are active and at what intensity they are working.
Another highlight was meeting Dr. Marybeth Crane – named one of the top ten sports podiatrists the country – for a foot exercise training session that strengthens foot muscles, for minimalist footwear.
Up next on the Test Drive circuit….New Balance….
Very kindly, New Balance set up a locker where we were completely outfitted, head-to-toe, in gear. Immediately, the group was ushered to meet Crunch Fitness trainers who’d set up quick workout zones for almost three minutes of fitness at each stop – from jumping rope and boxing to balance beams and kettle balls, the Active Team certainly built up a sweat for the total 30 minute plus workout. Phew!
On display, we noticed one particular style that peaked our interest, the NB Minimus Wellness shoe – the New Balance WW10, set to debut, in blue with red piping, as a late release this summer in July. Key features include an ultra-lightweight and flexible midsole and outsole, breathable and soft synthetic/mesh upper and anit-microbial treatment on its footbed.
“The style can serve as a recovery shoe for road and trail runners seeking to help their bodies adjust to a more natural stance and can also be used for commuting, daily lifestyle wear.”
The entire NB Minimus collection is equally on trend with the minimalist movement of running. New Balance’s approach separates each sector – trail, lifestyle, road and wellness – for an appropriate fit with each athlete.
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