When it comes to athleisure, running clubs are the new influencer
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When it comes to athleisure, running clubs are the new influencer

Global athleisure giants like Under Armour and Adidas have found a new type of influencer – but this one doesn’t live on Instagram. Running clubs, whose membership consists of amateur urban athletes that take to city streets in the mornings, evenings, and on the weekends, are a big part of athleisure culture. A great example comes from Harlem Run, a New York City running club that sees 250 members hit the road every week and was founded by Alison Desir-Figueroa. Alison is “sponsored” by Under Armour – and most of the people who run with her don the company’s garb.

Adidas and Under Armour have both seen their shares rally by about 50% year to date

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Source: Yahoo Finance

Alison notes that, when Harlem Run signed up with Under Armour, most of the city was wearing Nike: “When we first signed with Under Armour in September 2015, we were the only crew — the only people in general in New York — wearing Under Armour, to the point where everyone was like, ‘What’s up with Harlem Run?” But that would soon change, as the runners added credibility and visibility up and down New York’s busy roads. Sponsorship also provides Under Armour with a keen body of social proof, and brand champions that are willing – eager, even – to extol the virtues of the company’s products to prospective athletes.

Alison continued: “It’s cool to pass on our product knowledge and see what works for folks. Lots of people are training for marathons, so they’ll ask, ‘What’s the best marathon shoe?’ And we often get different Under Armour colourways or products in advance, so people see what we have and they really anticipate when it comes out.”

To Under Armour, however, the utility of these engaged superfans is nothing new. And Topher Gaylord, the company’s group general manager of run, train, and outdoor, says that the relationship between Under Armour and running groups goes deeper than just good business – they stand for the same things the brand does. He recently highlighted this point to Footwear News (an industry publication), saying:

“We’ve been integrating and supporting run clubs into our strategy for over four years now. They’re so important because they’re a very inclusive and diverse way to embed ourselves into the community and the fabric of running. They’re so authentically true to the environments they live in, they’re inspired by the culture, the art, the food, the running, the fitness and making their community better through running.”

Dominion holds Under Armour and Adidas in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.

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