Nike, Asics, Adidas or New Balance? Winners of the runnosphere?

This is the english version of a post recently published on eCairn’s French blog.

A member of our growing team recently got into running again. This returning runner looking for current trends and state of the art gears turned to the runnosphere for recommendations and information.
Through reading genuine reviews and comments on certain running shoes from local runner-bloggers, he finally bought a pair of Asics Trabucos: A true example that demonstrates how influencers impact more and more our purchase decisions (here’s a study on the same topic).

While on the subject, he ran a complete analysis of the French runnosphere, so I felt compelled to run it on the English runnosphere (runners blogs in english language).

Here’s the map of the english runnosphere:
Note that I’m showing only the top 500 out of 2000+ in our list and I’m willing to bet there are 5000+ out there as in any major tribe

Each color identifies a cluster of influencers. So we have  3-4 different clusters and, when analyzing what’s behind each cluster we find that it’s quite geolocalized:

  • The blue cluster represents the tip of the Pinoy runnosphere (runner-bloggers from the philippines who blog in english)
  • The red cluster one is American
  • The small purple cluster is the bloggers (they network within themselves more than with other runnosphere members)
  • The light green one is British

That can be explained because, through their passion for running, members relate to each other thru the races/training experiences which are, it goes without saying, local.

Here’s an important take-away. If a brand wants to leverage niche influencers, plans need to be thought according to the local dimension found in their conversations. In our example, it’s quite strong but in other examples, like the beautysphere, it’s not.

Now let’s look at the conversation:

Like the French one, the english runnosphere talks mostly about the action of running. The bulk of the talking is on training, races, the distance, the time and other elements of runners’s races.

Now, let’s open briefly the brand chapter: Which brand is the darling of the runnosphere?

The first graph compares Nike with Asics and Adidas, the second one Nike with New Balance and Mizuno:

With no surprise, Nike comes first!

However, the surprise comes in the form of Vibram which disrupted the market with their five fingers shoes a few years back. As illustrated in the chart below, it’s fast growing popularity is now comparable to well established brands like Mizuno and New Balance

(by the way, if you happen to see some footsteps in the dirt as you walk on your favortite trail, it’s not big foot or the yeti, just a five finger adopter came there just before you)

If you’d like to read a bit about running, find below the top 20 influencers in the runnosphere:

Rank Url Title Name Twitter
1 Tall Mom on the Run
2 Shut Up and Run! Beth Risdon
3 RuntoTheFinish Amanda Brooks
4 Mission to a(nother) Marathon Marlene Sykes
5 The Studly Runner Marcia
6 Shut Up and Run! Beth Risdon
7 runner’s rambles | Confessions of a Runaholic Aron
8 RACING WITH BABES Tonia Blanchet
9 misszippy1 Amanda Loudin
10 If I can’t convince you – – I’ll at least confuse you.
11 Run With Jill
12 The Boring Runner Adam Ricklefs
13 CAUTION: Redhead Running
14 (RDM) Running Diva Mom
15 Frayed Laces Frayed Laces
16 Steve in a Speedo?! Gross! Steve in a Speedo
17 RUN FASTER MOMMY! Heather Gannoe
18 5 Miles Past Empty Amanda Brandon
19 MCM Mama: Bringing out the Runner in every Mama
20 The Happy Runner

Interestingly, more than 50% in our top 20 are female bloggers.
The runner gender split is about 50/50.
May be female runner are just more out there in social media after all.

5 thoughts on “Nike, Asics, Adidas or New Balance? Winners of the runnosphere?

  1. Sorry Jake, after owning 5 pairs of Nikes & 3 pairs of Asics, I must vote for Asics since they are much more comfortable. Even though Nikes look good and, like you say, never go out of style, the features of the shoe which enhance comfort and support are better with Asics. Ps: about the style – have you seen Nike’s styles lately (like the LunarEclipse+) – some are starting to look like kid’s toys rather than a shoe. I’m sure these will go out of style one day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *