They don’t call it “The Running Event” (TRE) for nothing. Every early winter, this wondrous expo takes place at the Austin Convention Center in Texas. Brands showcase the latest tech, trends, and future releases as industry professionals work the floor, running into elite athletes—sometimes literally—and testing earphones, massage guns...the works. I attended TRE for the first time in 2019, and was eagerly anticipating the event for the following year. But as with most things in 2020, my return would be delayed.
When I heard TRE was coming back this year, I jumped at the chance to represent RW. I stepped onto the expo floor post-haste—a human pinball sampling hydration powders, dodging fellow attendees, and previewing 2022’s upcoming running shoes and apparel collections. I was on this recon mission for you, dear readers, carbing up at an UnTapped ice cream truck and gulping a beaker-full of nitro cold brew from the Brooks booth between my many stops. (I couldn’t allow myself to lose steam!)
Reporting back, here’s some of the awesome stuff we can all look forward to in 2022.
I can’t tell you about most of the super shoes I saw (I was sworn to secrecy), but the trainers below are definitely ones you’ll be excited about. A popular trend: women’s-specific models.
Reebok Floatride Energy X
One super shoe I can reveal is Reebok’s Floatride Energy X, which will drop in January 2022. The X has a carbon-fiber plate in the forefoot, sandwiched between Floatride+ foam and a full-length Floatride Energy foam midsole. Plus, this model is priced at a more accessible $160, unlike other marathon racers that are usually closer to $250.
Brooks Glycerin 20/GTS 20 and Caldera 6
In July, Brooks is releasing the Glycerin 20 and Glycerin GTS 20 (the latter is a more stability-focused version that uses supportive guide rails). But, the brand actually has two Glycerin 20 models and two GTS 20 models coming in summer 2022. Just as it did with the Levitate, Brooks will offer the Glycerin in a standard engineered air-mesh upper, as well as a seamless, formfitting knit upper called Stealthfit. All the new Glycerins have the same nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3 midsole as the Aurora-BL.
On the trail side, the Caldera 6 will also use DNA Loft v3 foam for its midsole. Built for the ultra-minded, this new version offers plush cushioning for longer-distance runs off road. The wait for this shoe will hopefully be shorter, with a tentative release date on February 1, 2022.
Winter Running Hats
Good news: Hoka’s newest road model, the Kawana, will be out next month on January 15. Our Runner’s World editors and wear-testers are already hyped up about this smooth rider.
Mathis Brain Knit RW test team is excited about (and is currently testing at our HQ) is the Tecton X, which has parallel carbon-fiber plates in the midsole to promote dexterity and agility over uneven terrain. The shoe is set for a May 2022 release.
Altra Rivera 2
The second iteration of Altra’s Rivera is a shoe I personally can’t wait to test. We awarded the first version an Editors’ Choice distinction last spring. While the Rivera is only receiving minor upgrades—such as a refined fit and a new embroidered mesh upper—the shoe maintains its light weight (8.5 ounces for a women’s 8.5; 8.8 ounces for a men’s 10.5), soft feel, and responsiveness with Altra’s Ego midsole. The tentative launch will be sometime in March.
Veja Condor 2
The French footwear brand Veja has been around since 2005. It broke onto the running scene in 2019 with its release of the Condor, a post-petroleum trainer made of bio-based and recycled materials. The Condor’s second iteration is available now and was praised for its comfort and soft cushioning by our wear-testers. “Honestly, from the first time I laced these shoes up, they were on my feet almost daily,” said one. “I loved the fact that, right out of the box, I could put them on my feet and run long miles.”
Skechers GOrun Persistence
In mid-May, Skechers will release the GOrun Persistence. This is the first shoe the brand started working on from the women’s side. (Typically, Skechers begins by designing a men’s model, and then further refines the shoe for a women’s-specific fit.) Women testers provided their feedback throughout the design process, which resulted in “improved step-in comfort” according to the brand’s developers. The Persistence will have the same plush Ultra Flight midsole as the GOrun Ride 7 and a carbon-infused H-plate for snappy toe-off.
Puma Run XX Nitro
This women’s-only running shoe—the “XX” is in reference to women having a second X chromosome—will drop in May. The cushioned trainer has a Nitro midsole, the same foam used in the Nitro Deviate and Magnify Nitro SP, which means it’ll likely be generous on both plushness and energy return. A diagonal heel counter that Puma calls “RunGuide” helps provide additional stability.
New lines from well-known brands, with an emphasis on comfort and reflectivity
Brooks Run Within Collection
Brooks will release its streamlined Run Within apparel collection in early spring, so you can suit up for indoor workouts and more outdoor runs as winter thaws. The leggings have envelope-style hip pockets (think: no zippers digging into your backside during floor exercises). Plus, the featherlight crewnecks and sweatshirts are thinly layered with breathable mesh for insulation that won’t feel too hot and clammy.
Cep Reflective Hero Line and The Run Sock
Best Jogging Strollers Cep’s Reflective Hero line elicits striking designs in low light. The dark green and purple windbreaker, shirt, and tights have veiny lightning strike details that I was able to see beneath a smartphone’s flash.
Also coming out this spring is Cep’s The Run Sock 4.0 version. The sock will be available in five heights, from knee-high down to no-show, and it is stitched to anatomically adapt to your foot. Like its 3.0 predecessor, the new 4.o uses compression technology to prevent slippage while also improving blood circulation.
Roark Run Amok Collection
Men’s brand Roark, which is Laguna Beach, California-based, has been around for a decade. In 2021, the company introduced its Run Amok line with apparel specifically intended for runners. The collection includes pieces with graphics created by Maori artists. Tie-dye knits, short-sleeves, fleecy pants, and 5- to 8-inch shorts are only some of the offerings you can get now at roark.com. New pieces will be arriving in early 2022.
Buff Coolnet UV Multifunctional Neckwear and Pack Speed Cap
Buff’s neck gaiters have UPF 50 sun protection, Polygiene odor control, and can be worn in 12-plus ways. The line includes half-length options, too, that provide slightly less coverage. Additional Buff styles include Insect Shield gaiters (the fibers are treated with EPA-approved permethrin to repel insect pests, like mosquitos) and high-visibility gaiters with 360-degree reflective details. All the pieces in the new collection are made with 95-percent Repreve polyester, a recycled material which saves the equivalent of two plastic water bottles per one full-length gaiter (or one bottle per half-length gaiter).
Besides neckwear, Buff is releasing its brand new Pack Speed Cap, which is ultralight, foldable, and has an integrated drawstring for easy adjustability. The cap will be available in late January.
I taste-tested all of these snacks, hydration powders, and tablets—and they’re all available to nosh on, mix, and slurp now.
Kate’s Real Food Oatmeal Cranberry & Almond
We love Kate’s so much we featured the company’s snack bites in our 2021 RW Fitness Awards. Kate’s latest flavor, Oatmeal Cranberry & Almond, tastes like an on-the-go holiday dessert.
JoJé Gluten-Free Bars
Professional cyclist Jess Cerra first baked up bars in her home kitchen before launching JoJé in 2016. Fans of Bobo’s will love these dense, oat-based healthy treats that have a wholesome, sweet, and slightly nutty taste. The texture of these six gluten-free bars is much like a soft oatmeal cookie, and JoJé’s current flavors include White Chocolate Coconut Blondie, Apple Walnut Cake, and Pancakes and Bacon.
Tailwind Endurance Fuel Matcha
Hydration brand Tailwind has an all-new, modernized look, but is still dishing out its Endurance Fuel formula (which contains sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium to speed up absorption) and its protein-packed Recovery Mix. The newest flavor of its Endurance Fuel drink mix is Matcha with 35 mg of caffeine per serving. It tastes salty, slightly earthy, and has a hint of sweetness.
Gnarly Nutrition Fuel2O
Gnarly’s newest product, Fuel2O, not only replaces electrolytes but also contains beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, or HMB. This metabolite of the amino acid leucine helps minimize muscle protein breakdown. The drink mix comes in three flavors: Limeade, Tropical, and Cherry Cola (our favorite). Gnarly is also becoming more eco-friendly by replacing its plastic containers with recyclable steel canisters.
Gu Energy Chews
Energy Chews have gotten the “fun-sized candy bar” treatment. Gu shrank down its gummies, which usually come in long stick-shaped packs, and packaged them into small pouches. Each pouch contains two servings (16 energy chews) and the current flavor offerings include Blueberry Pomegranate, Strawberry, Watermelon, and Orange.
Gu has also partnered with Terracycle. This means you can send in all performance nutrition product wrappers—not just from Gu products—for recycling. The wrappers are sorted, cleaned, and processed into a raw material, which is then used for various construction projects. Some potential uses for these repurposed wrappings include playground surfaces, furniture, and flooring tiles.
SaltStick Electrolyte FastChews
Confession: I was popping SaltStick’s Electrolyte FastChews like candy. The salty, slightly sweet tablets come in six flavors and are perfect for race day. Take two midrun, and wait two to three minutes for them to dissolve in your mouth before gulping some water.
Recovery is important for every training program. This gear optimizes your R&R.
When springtime rolls around, kicking off your running shoes shouldn’t mean opting for unsupportive footwear, like flip-flops. Birkenstock’s sandals provide firm, stable support with their cork footbeds. (Cork is a natural byproduct of tree bark, and it’s harvested without harming any trees.) The footbeds have raised toe bars that conform to your foot and promote a “natural” walking motion. According to the brand, this design helps encourage active muscle recovery. New to Birks? I recommend the double-strap Arizona style, a true Birkenstock classic.
How we test gear
The renowned R8 roller is now also available as the R8 Plus. This new model features a dial to adjust the amount of applied pressure, so you can fine tune the intensity of your massage.
The R3 uses both wide and narrow curves to ergonomically fit the contours of your feet. This design helps engage different muscles as you roll the tool along your foot’s arch. It’s ideal for plantar fasciitis sufferers, but can be used on other parts of the body, such as the calves and quads, as well.