Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Merrell Taps the Female Market with Barefoot

Last week, Merrell launched a microsite to reach and educate an audience of women who are involved or curious about joining the barefoot movement. The site is an extension of their commitment to the bareform running community, and the target market is exclusively female.

According to a study by the National Sporting Goods Association, there are now over 16.9 million women runners in the United States, which is a 23% increase since 2006 (PRWeb). Merrell seeks to interact with this widespread group of influencers by providing a forum to share personal stories, meet and set fitness goals, and engage with other runners through Merrell's social media hubs.

The site is a reaction to a discussion that took place at last year's NYC barefoot run, where participants voiced concern over the lack of female perspective within the barefoot running community.

Those involved in the discussion felt that the original focus of barefoot was centered on a male audience. Though the movement has since shifted to include a significant group of female enthusiasts, they are still often left out of the conversation by major barefoot brands.

Merrell has recognized the importance of leveraging the female voice and deeply engaging women, as these individuals are sometimes more socially active online and willing to share and listen to advice, ask questions and connect with one another.

The microsite, titled "Pretty Strong," also features a video that highlights the barefoot experiences of four fitness gurus in the Merrell community.

As Emily Snayd, a featured runner in the video explained in an interview with Merrell, "Once we get women engaged and feeling the way their bodies are made to move, we will help unlock the code of healthier running and fitness."

Helping women join the barefoot community will surely create growth for the minimalist running movement and continue to entrench the running style as a permanent component within the fitness realm.

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