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A good pair of running shoes is like a dream, accompanying you along each mile, and in many ways, making those miles easier and more comfortable. But even the most perfect running shoes have a shelf life. For avid runners, that shelf life is even shorter than the mainstream fitness enthusiast. Running experts say shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, depending on height, weight, gait, and level of cardio intensity.

atreyu-cfm-9298-1582044410This presents a problem from the perspective of cost (that’s a lot of shoes if you’re running 20 or more miles a week), functionality (it’s bad for your body to run in broke-down shoes), and environment (apparel waste it one of the leading contributors to landfills and climate change).

Enter Atreyu Running. The fledgling, Austin-based business was founded by Michael Krajicek, who was inspired to create a cost-friendly, highly functional shoe when he was training for his first Ironman. The Atreyu shoe was created with the intention “to build a performance commodity as opposed to a shoe that was merely ‘build-to-last’. We (Atreyu) found that in order to simply enhance mileage, we would have to sacrifice a substantial amount of fit and feel. We set out to change the paradigm and utilized a price-point and subscription service to reflect that value.”

Market Innovation 

This type of market innovation poses an interesting disruption to traditional shoe retail, as the price of running shoes and their accompanying technology becomes more and more inflated, excluding some mainstream consumers and adding excessive cost to a relatively low-barrier-to-participation sport.

Subscription Business Models

Subscription models like Atreyu that offer consumers cost benefits and convenience and are on the rise — surveyed people find it to be a better solution for retail purchases. Subscription-based business models also help companies improve customer service, such as identifying and addressing key pain points and engaging on a regular basis. Not to mention that the recurring revenues offer a steady income for the company.

With the current influx of subscription-based products and services, brands that will stand apart from the pack are passionate founders like Michael. With more demands on people’s attention and budgets, a brand’s authenticity, relatability, and engagement will dictate where they fall in this prioritization. Atreyu Running has our attention and more brands would do well to contemplate how they too can captivate niche markets in a meaningful, benefit-driven way.