Despite intense marketplace competition, one running shoe brand with a huge international following proved a powerful draw for US running specialty retail. KARHU celebrates its 100th specialty partnership and a 10+ major city half-marathon sponsorship of the 13.1 Marathon race series. Despite the economic crisis of the past year and heavy investment from established sport shoes brands, this emerging brand is realizing strong growth leading into 2010.
KARHU prioritizes product excellence and invests heavily in product research utilizing one of EuropeвЂ™s leading bio-mechanical testing and research institutes, the Neuromuscular Research Center of University of JyvГ¤skylГ¤ (UoJ). Independent testing compared KARHUвЂ™s patented fulcrum technology to the competition and test results prove KARHU running shoes have less vertical oscillation, is more efficient and more balanced than the established competition.
вЂњWeвЂ™re thrilled that independent testing proved what we know вЂ“ that our product collaborates with the foot to convert your bodyвЂ™s natural energy into forward momentum вЂ“ that is what we think is natural running.вЂќ said Jay Duke, President of KARHU. вЂњWhile everyone else is focused on cushioning running and barefoot running вЂ“ even niche brands like Newton, KARHU is focused on vertical oscillation. KARHU product helps you to Move Forward and the other brands will follow soon our lead. It is already happening with Nike and Newton.вЂќ
KARHUвЂ™s launch success in 2009 is bolstered in 2010 with major new investments to create consumer demand. They have recently signed multiple multi-year sponsorships with major races. As the exclusive apparel and footwear sponsors of the 10+ major city 13.1 Marathon series, CRAFT and KARHU will reach over 50,000 runners in the first sponsorship year. All participants will get first hand experience to try on a pair of KARHU footwear. KARHU also continues its race sponsorship of the Nations Triathlon in Washington DC.
вЂњThe leading running specialty retailers realize they need a dedicated specialty brand in KARHU. With Foot Locker and DickвЂ™s Sporting Goods attacking their space, we will not compete on price. Differentiation and service are paramount and that is what we work on with our specialty partners.вЂќ said Duke, вЂњFor consumers, 2009 showed they understand our product is simply different in how it works and what benefits it provides. Runners seek to move forward. Our shoes help you do this naturally, efficiently with great stability and results in a great run for all types of runners.вЂќ
Continuing to Move Forward throughout 2010, KARHU launches a comprehensive global website with enhanced brand and product communication in May. It will support sell-through at Running specialty with an integrated marketing campaign around its focus to Move Forward at the editorial and retail level. Additionally, through in-store try-ons running consumers are offered the once in a lifetime opportunity trip to Helsinki, the birthplace of KARHU. And after a successful year in 2009 KARHU will once again partner with 3point5.com to train retail sales clerks on product and entering them in the Helsinki Sweepstakes.