2014 State of the Sport - Part II: Running Industry Report

Running USA
June 15, 2014

Industry surveys say: record numbers for general U.S. running participation with 70% overall growth over past decade; shoe sales also hit new highs in units and dollars


SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - (June 15, 2014) - Over the past decade as the Second Running Boom has continued robustly with more traditional and non-traditional running events and record numbers of finishers, likewise in this country, the growth in general running participation and the associated goods such as running shoes, apparel and other gear have also grown to record heights as the following Running USA 2014 State of the Sport - Part II: Running Industry Report will show.

"As these national survey numbers and our data attest, running in America is thriving, attracting new runners from both genders and reaching new highs in participation and economic activity," said Rich Harshbarger, Running USA CEO.

According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), running/jogging continues to show strong and consistent growth annually as running total participation (ran at least 6-plus days/yr) was up 2.5% overall in the last year. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) survey also indicates similar growth for the general running population as well as explosive growth in the category of adventure racing as was also reported in Running USA's 2014 State of the Sport Part I: Non-Traditional Events.

Since 2004, total running/jogging participation (run/jog 6+ days/yr) has increased 70% to a record of nearly 42,000,000, according to the NSGA. Females in the 25-34 age group category lead participation totals with more than 5.6 million in 2013, and since 2012, according to NSGA, more women run than men in the USA (both genders are at record highs). See Table 1, charts and U.S. map below.

TABLE 1: U.S. Running Participation Numbers 2013



Total Participants (‘12–‘13 +/-)

SFIA Total Runners

Run/Jog at least once

54,188,000 (+5.3%)

SFIA Core Participants

Run/Jog 50+ days/yr

29,843,000 (+1.2%)




SFIA Total Trail Runners

Run on Trails at least once

6,792,000 (+17.0%)



SFIA Total Adventure Racing

Participated 1+ times

2,095,000 (+29.5%)

SFIA Casual Adventure Racing

Participated 1 time

   901,000 (+34.0%)

SFIA Core Adventure Racing

Participated 2+ times

1,194,000 (+26.3%)




NSGA (1) All Runners

Run/Jog 6+ days/yr

41,996,000 (+4.9%)

NSGA (1) Frequent Runners

Run/Jog 110+ days/yr

  9,944,000 (+7.8%)

NSGA (1) Occasional Runners

Run/Jog 25-109 days/yr

19,514,000 (+5.1%)

NSGA (1) Infrequent Runners

Run/Jog 6-24 days/yr

12,538,000 (+2.5%)












SOURCE: National Sporting Goods Association Sports Participation in the United States 2014 Edition

SOURCE: National Sporting Goods Association Sports Participation in the United States 2014 Edition


SOURCE: National Sporting Goods Association Sports Participation in the United States 2014 Edition

The National Sporting Goods Association's (NSGA - 2) "Sporting Goods Market Edition 2014" reports that running/jogging shoe sales totaled $3.09 billion in 2013, up 2% in total dollars from the previous year ($3.04 billion in 2012), while units rose to a record 46.25 million from 44.62 the previous year. For 2014, sales are projected to grow an additional 7% to approximately $3.3 billion. See Table 2 below for historical sales figures and distribution channels and Table 3 for the average price of jogging/running shoes by distribution channel.

TABLE 2: Jogging & Running Footwear Sales in U.S.






Running Shoe Units 

 37.16 million

 38.02 million

44.62 million

46.25 million

Running Shoe Dollars

 $2.32 billion

 $2.46 billion

$3.04 billion

$3.09 billion






Sales Channels - % of Units





General Sporting Goods





Discount Stores










Specialty Athletic Footwear





Department Stores





Family Footwear





Factory Outlet





Specialty Sport Shops





Other Outlets





Mail Order





Pro Shop





SOURCE: NSGA Sporting Goods Market 2014 Edition

TABLE 3: Average Price of Jogging / Running Shoes (NSGA - 2)

Specialty Athletic Footwear



Mail Order



Specialty Sport






Sporting Goods



Factory Outlet



Other Outlets



Family Footwear



Department Store



Discount Store



SOURCE: NSGA Sporting Goods Market 2014 Edition

With new products and innovative ideas, the sport of running is a growing business for retailers. Running manufacturers and retailers are finding new ways to appeal to their customers by offering top-of-the-line specialty footwear, apparel and equipment to their target market. Brooks is a leader in specialty running footwear and reported more than $500 million in global revenue this past year also while celebrating its 100th anniversary. On the verge of bankruptcy in 2001, Brooks redeveloped its strategy to focus specifically on runners by providing the best running footwear, providing superior customer service and inspiring everyone to "Run Happy." The company has set a goal of being a $1 billion brand by 2020 and has set apparel as the next big focus.

There is tremendous opportunity for a company to capitalize on becoming a leader in the running apparel industry. Today's runners expect more from their workout apparel, looking for pieces that are versatile and can be incorporated in all areas of their lives. Modern running apparel has the performance, functionality and style that today's runners are looking for in a variety of bright colors and prints. This push for more flattering design lines has been mostly driven by the women's running market, and as a result, apparel companies such as Lululemon and Oiselle have gained market share.

As we continue to see running participation increase, running manufacturers and retailers will continue to compete with each other to provide innovative products, creative marketing campaigns and exceptional customer service to both draw in and retain loyal customers.

Upcoming and popular Running USA State of the Sport reports will feature gender and age group demographics, event finisher totals by distance and the largest races nationwide for 2013.

NSGA: National Sporting Goods Association. (1) = NSGA Sports Participation in the United States 2014 Edition, (2) = NSGA Sporting Goods Market 2014 Edition, based on retail sales in the U.S. projected from consumer surveys of national households. To obtain information on any of the NSGA products and services, email: info@nsga.org, phone (847) 296-6742 or visit: www.nsga.org

Running Insight. Published by Formula4Media, LLC, Running Insight is published twice each month . To access, go to: www.runninginsight.com

Running USA. Running USA advances the growth and success of the running industry. State of the Sport reports, comprehensive running data and lists of the largest races from past years can be found on RunningUSA.org in the "Statistics" section. For other questions about running trends and demographics, contact: ryan@runningusa.org or tracy@runningusa.org

SFIA: Sports & Fitness Industry Association. 2014 SFIA Sports & Fitness Participation Topline Report, based on participation numbers in the U.S. projected from online interviews of a nationwide sample. To obtain information on any of the SFIA products or services, email: info@sfia.com, phone (301) 495-6321 or go to: www.sfia.org


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