What changes will rock the running gear market in 2015? With December now upon us, we asked 220 contributor Andy Blow for his take.
From midsole shoe cushioning to optical heart rate monitors and safety devices, there should be lots of exciting stuff coming our way…
Shoe-wise I think that next year there could well be further polarization in trends in midsole cushioning; an area that has already been becoming controversial in 2014 with ‘Maximalist’ or super padded shoes like Hoka One One’s starting to take more people away from the ‘Minimalist’ end of the market that was all the rage in recent years.
I think the main reason for this is acceptance of the fact that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for running shoe design and that just because barefoot running is hugely efficient for some, it won’t necessarily work for everyone.
In fact many are starting to realize that doing longer runs in very padded shoes might actually help to improve post run recovery so it won’t just be those running ultra marathons or carrying chronic injuries who will be tempted to try something with an oversized mid-sole next season.
The ‘shoeing’ that Vibram took in the courts in the USA this year may or may not also be a contributing factor to people being less enamored with barefoot shoes and more willing to look at alternatives….
Heart rate monitoring
After 30 years of needing to wear a mildly annoying chest strap in order to measure heart rate when running, things are changing and 2015 could be the year when optical heart rate monitoring starts to make it’s presence felt.
Optical heart rate monitors work by using light to detect blood flow in your capillaries instead of measuring electrical activity in the heart. This means they can work via either a dedicated wrist strap that simply sends data to a device like a smartphone via ANT+ or Bluetooth or via the back of a watch itself.
Companies like Mio have their own devices available or have their technology embedded into TomTom and Adidas GPS watches. Accuracy on the heart rate monitoring seems to be pretty good with this technology, as does the potential for it to offer data when swimming so it definitely stands a good chance of catching on.
Gadgets like the new Garmin FR920XT multisport watch are now starting to offer much more integration with other devices, notably smart phones so that you can do things like have other people track and even communicate with you in real time when you’re out training.
While I am sure this will almost certainly get used as the next step up from a service like Strava (i.e. largely for showing off to your mates about just how hard you are training!) there is a very useful safety aspect in that it can be used if you go running anywhere remote or where you feel vulnerable so someone can check on you from a distance.
What do you think will be 2015’s big trends for run gear? Let us know in the comments!