Is running now influencing the broader culture?

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Fashion and design are shaping running – and vice versa

“A marathon today is like fashion week for the running community,” the Financial Times argued recently. “But if marathons are the big events on the running calendar, then running at large is more like ... well, streetwear,” Harry Salmons, a creative strategist at brand and culture consultants edition+partners, wrote in a follow-up LinkedIn post. High Snobiety’s Alexandra Hackett (aka @miniswoosh) doubled down on LinkedIn, saying, “As an avid runner working in the creative industries, I feel like I’m always talking about this whitespace that exists at the intersection of running and design.” She’s not alone in predicting that “with the running gear market expected to grow exponentially in size over the next 10 years, it’s no surprise we’re starting to see collaborations grow in this space”.

“Do fashion’s and design’s incursions into running benefit or harm our sport’s culture?”


Adidas x Wales Bonner 2
adidas Originals and Wales Bonner SS24

It’s interesting that Hackett says it’s design rather than fashion driving this growth (clearly, it’s both). She argues that functionality remains key: “At the end of the day, these products not only need to look good, but they also have to last 42.195km.” You’re not likely to run any significant distance in a pair of adidas Originals x Wales Bonner Sambas, but we’re still thrilled to see that their new SS24 collection, “The Rift Valley Runners”, travels to the Home of Champions in Iten, Kenya, and features adidas runners including Emmanuel Wanyonyi, Bethwel Yegon, Nelly Chepchirchir, Charles Simotwo, Cornelius Kemboi and Barselius Kipyego. “With the spirit of the marathon at its heart,” adidas claims, “each piece in the collection is an ode to resilience, endurance, and dedication.”

Adidas x Wales Bonner 3
adidas Originals and Wales Bonner SS24

So yeah, running is the new streetwear and the new high fashion. And as with broader fashion culture, we don’t see collaborations going away anytime soon. As well as adidas and Wales Bonner, just this week we’ve seen new drops from New Balance x District Vision, with a seriously sleek FuelCell SC Elite v4, and On x South Korean label Post Archive Faction, with their Current Form 1.0 collection of futuristic silhouettes and shapes.

NB x District Vision
New Balance x District Vision SC Elite V4
On x PAF 3
On x Post Archive Faction Current Form 1.0

So, do fashion's and design’s incursions into running benefit or harm our sport’s culture? Does it make it more appealing to a wider audience? (Hackett pointed to the record 840,000 applications for next year’s London Marathon.) Or do all the expensive releases merely make it another “whitespace” for capitalism to colonise, to the exclusion of some in our community?

Wherever you stand on that last question, it’s incontrovertible that this is a trend with miles to run yet.

On x
On x Post Archive Faction Current Form 1.0
On x PAF 4
On x Post Archive Faction Current Form 1.0
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