Saucony Hopes 'Marathumb' Can Reverse Sales Slide

If America’s feet moved as fast as our phone-scrolling, we’d all be elite runners. Saucony, the Wolverine Worldwide sneaker brand, says people put an average of 79 miles per year on their hard-working thumbs.

The company has created a Marathumb Challenge app to encourage people to match their scrolling mileage with physical activity.

The research is based on polling from HarrisX of a 1,000-person sample. Saucony says that while 60% of consumers say their phone-scrolling and use has increased in the last year, more people are trying to break themselves of the habit.

For those with Android phones, the app platform pulls metrics on screen time and actively compares scrolling distance to stepping distance. For iOS users, the platform links the number of steps to the average national distance scrolled per week.



The Rockford, Michigan-based company plans to kick off the first six-week challenge on Jan. 22. There’s a social media component, so users can tag Saucony and invite others to play. And the app allows for daily and weekly tracking.

 Those who move more than they scroll are eligible for Saucony-branded merchandise.

The company says the effort is linked to the brand’s “belief in the transformational power of movement.”

The contest is timed to the launch of Saucony’s Ride 17 sneaker, a lightweight shoe made for both everyday movement and longer runs.

Yet the promotion also lands at a moment when Saucony is limping through a crowded footrace in the performance running category. At a time when buzzier running shoe brands are flying out of stores, Saucony’s sales fell 14% to $116.4 million in its most recent quarter.

Sales of Decker’s Hoka brand jumped 27% to $424 million in the most recent quarterly results. And sales at On, the category’s Swiss darling, increased by 57%.

Brooks continues with the No. 1 spot for the seventh consecutive quarter, with industry sources Circana reporting it has a 21.4% share of performance running.

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