While the three men and three women headed to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics in July may have been the big winners at the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathons over the weekend in Atlanta, close behind them on the podium were the major shoe brands making an impact.
Nike famously gave all of the 650 runners who ran the races a free pair of its much-hyped green and white Alphafly Next% shoes in the days before the event and, although not every runner wore the cartoonish, thickly cushioned shoes with carbon-fiber plates, plenty of others opted for Nike Vaporfly 4% or Nike Zoom X Vaporfly Next% shoes. The Swoosh also got a nice boost from the NBC broadcast crew hyping the shoes during a very favorable and biased news feature in the early moments of the telecast.
The Alphafly Next% ($275) officially went on sale at Nike.com at 10:07 a.m. ET about two hours before the races started and within 15 minutes later they were sold out. By the next morning, the shoes could be found selling on StockX.com for more than $1,100 per pair.
Brooks, Hoka and Saucony also gained some of the new-shoe spotlight. Although Desi Linden just missed her third-straight Olympic berth wearing the Hyperion Elite ($200), her fourth-place finish in the Hyperion Elite still gave the shoe plenty of credibility.
Saucony launched its Endorphin Pro ($200) at a big Thursday night event at Big Peach Running Company and then Seidel gave the shoe instant fame with an unforgettable, 2:27:31, runner-up performance in her marathon debut.
Hoka kept its new Rocket X ($200) under wraps until just after the race. Tuliamuk wore them on her way to winning the women’s race and so did Stephanie Bruce (6th) and Kellyn Taylor (8th), as well as Martin Hehir (8th) and Scott Fauble (12th) in the men’s race.
Meanwhile, ASICS had two 30-second TV spots for its forthcoming MetaRacer during NBC’s Olympic Trials broadcast, although Sara Hall (DNF) and Lindsay Flanagan (12th) didn’t have the results the brand was banking on. New Balance had the least visibility with its new shoes, but a few runners sporting pairs of Fuel Cell TC shoes were spotted in the men’s and women’s races, including pre-race favorite Emily Sisson (DNF).
On the apparel side, Oiselle and Tracksmith dominated.