REI Co-op broadens its selection of running gear and expertise to help more people get outside

Co-op adds more running gear, expert resources and community running support

Apr 14, 2022

REI Co-op, a leading resource and national retailer for running, is amplifying its commitment to the sport by continuing to invest in a multi-year strategy that builds upon recent category growth. Customer demand for running and fitness products has doubled since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. REI is meeting this demand by broadening its product assortment of the most sought-after running gear, evolving in-store experiences, deepening training for retail product experts, and expanding national and local partnerships to help more customers turn to the co-op for their running needs.

"REI's run business has grown more than 65 percent since 2019. As interest and demand for run continues to grow, the co-op is uniquely positioned to serve runners of all skill levels," said Fan Zhou, REI general manager for run. "From those participating in their first marathon or seeking a new solo sport, to seasoned athletes looking to set a new personal best or explore new running routes and terrain, we're committed to being their partner and one-stop-shop for gear, inspiration, tips, training and more."

With its long history of helping people get outside, REI is poised to help runners of all skill levels confidently run outside on any surface, through the woods, in the desert, on the trail or in the city. The co-op is growing its already broad assortment of technical running gear to help runners feel supported for extended durations and through any weather condition on either pavement or gravel. REI's extensive roster of partner brands, including HOKA ONE ONE®, On Running, Brooks, New Balance, Salomon and Smartwool, provide a holistic offering of essentials to ensure every runner, from novice to elite, finds exactly what they need to achieve their goals.

REI's in-house product label is also offering new options in 2022, like the Swiftland Running collection. Designed specifically with the runner in mind, this versatile line of apparel, accessories and gear is available in inclusive sizing, and is designed to optimize distraction-free mobility, comfort, and protection from the elements.

REI will complement its broadened product offering with updated in-store and digital experiences. The co-op is piloting new store layouts and deepening staff training to serve as inspiration hubs for all running gear and equipment needs. Customers will find running footwear fit services expanding in all stores and online. The fit service will factor in an assessment of fitness level, customer goals, and where they plan to run to help select the appropriate shoes. Additionally, the co-op is deepening its engagement with local run clubs and is creating more opportunities to connect communities through their passion for the sport.

Customers can also expect to see more programs to help them set and meet their running goals, like increased access to expert advice with 1:1 virtual outfitting session led by REI product experts who are also American Sports & Fitness Association (ASFA) certified running coaches.

Viewing running as an on-ramp to the outdoors, REI believes that by helping customers to confidently run outside, more individuals will be inspired to explore other types of outdoor movement. Data from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) shows that over 232 million Americans participated in some form of sports or fitness activity in 2021, bringing the inactivity rate down to its lowest recorded level.

The same study also found that half of the runners surveyed also participated in other outdoor activities, like fitness, cycling and camping. Catering to this swell of consumer interest, REI is building long-term partnerships as part of a brand-level commitment to invite more underrepresented consumers into running and the outdoors. Through continued grant and gear support for Black Girls Run and REI's Path Ahead Ventures initiative, the co-op is investing $30 million to empower 300 Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian American Pacific Islander entrepreneurs to cultivate, grow and scale their businesses.

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.