REI’s New Trail Runner Is Packed with Planet
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REI’s New Trail Runner Is Packed with Planet

Mar 29, 2023

REI turned years of customer feedback and design ideas into a brand-new running shoe, its first such product drop in more than half a century.

The Seattle-based outdoor retailer on Thursday introduced the REI Co-op Swiftland Multi-terrain (Swiftland MT), a shoe engineered for the rigors of trail running, which accounts for just a "tiny sliver" of the road running business, according to Matt Powell, an industry analyst with Spurwink River.

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"More than half of our customers who are hikers or campers are also runners, so we developed the premium Swiftland collection, and are expanding the collection to the run assortment we carry to give runners more options at the co-op," Fan Zhou, REI general manager for run and footwear, said. "The running community continues to grow every year, and it's been great to see REI Co-op support that growth with its own business expansion, product innovation and partnerships."

Designed with low-carbon technology, the trail runner is incorporates recycled and bio-based materials. It features a 90 percent recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) FirmaKnit Run upper, 10 percent Bloom Algae TerraLoft Run compound in the midsole and 20 percent recycled rubber TerraGrip Run outsole. The laces and webbing are 100 percent recycled PET, with the collar lining comprising 75 percent recycled PET and collar foam and reinforcements made of 70 percent recycled PET. The rock plate is 100 percent recycled nylon, while the TrailBed sock liner is 30 percent Bloom Algae. The overlaps are 30 percent recycled thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).

The Swiftland MT, available in men's and women's sizes in REI stores and e-commerce site for $130, is currently only offered to REI members. The trail running shoe joins the rest of the retailer's Swiftland collection of joggers, vests, socks, pants and hydration vests. Beyond products, REI is supporting running communities with initiatives like weekly group runs from the Seattle flagship store and race sponsorships for the likes of the Denver Marathon. The company also partnered with Strava, the largest sports community in the world, to offer a virtual run challenge. From June 7-29, REI members can join the REI + Strava challenge to receive $50 off the Swiftland MT sneaker.

The decision to release a running shoe aligns with the co-op's commitment announced last year to broaden its running assortment and investments.

"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," Zhou said at the time. "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."

Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.

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