Where has all the color gone?

I have a hard enough time finding shoes that fit my feet.  With the wave of neon/brightly colored running shoes hitting the market, why are motion control shoes so bland?  I did some research and confirmed what my intuition was telling me.  There are very few, if any, motion control shoes in exciting colors (I’ll use neutral or cushioned, stability, and motion control to describe types of shoes throughout the rest of the post).

Genetically, I’ve been given flat feet that roll inward.  I basically have no arch to speak of.  Since it’s genetic, my brother also has the same condition, which worked out well for me, because I bought the same type of sneakers that he had when I first started running.  Over the years, I’ve tried some different sneakers (Asics Gel-Fondation, Asics Gel-Evolution, Asics Gel-Kayano, Brooks Adrenaline, and most recently the Asics Gel-Forte).  I’ve had some foot issues in the past (blistering and plantar fasciitis), but overall my experience in the motion control/severe over-pronation shoe world has been pretty good.  When shopping for new shoes, I definitely don’t want to stray too far from what I know works.

When looking for shoes in the past, it’s been more important to find a shoe that won’t damage my already-susceptible-to-injury feet.  With neon colors taking the world by storm, I feel like I’ve been left in the dark ages with my current Asics Gel-Forte shoe (disclaimer: I also use Superfeet to further limit my over-pronation).

According to the Asics Pronation Guide, the Gel-Forte’s are Asics only answer for over- and severe over-pronators.  I’m not calling out Asics for not designing enough motion control shoes.  What I am calling them out on, as well as other shoe companies out for is the lack of color and color choices in their motion control lines.  I headed to the websites for Asics, Brooks and Saucony to research available shoes in their motion control/over-pronator and cushioned/neutral lines (using each website’s shoe advisor tool to help me select the right shoe for the given foot type).  A few images will help illustrate my findings.  First the motion control/over-pronator shoes:

Asics Men’s Gel-Forte available in mostly Grey/blue or white/grey:

Asics Gel-Forte

Asics Gel-Forte

Brooks Men’s Beast available in Grey/blue, grey/red or grey/gold:

Brooks Beast

Brooks Beast

Saucony Men’s Stabil available in Grey/blue or grey/black:

Saucony Stabil - probably the best color scheme of these three

Saucony Stabil – probably the best color scheme of these three

Why are all of these shoes so boring and dull?  Let’s contrast with some shoes designed for medium arches and mild pronation:

Asics Gel-Cumulus Lite-Show available in neon yellow and black:

Asics Gel-Cumulus 15 Lite-Show

Asics Gel-Cumulus 15 Lite-Show

Brooks Pure Flow available in 8 different color schemes:

Pure Flow 2 in orange and black

Brooks Pure Flow 2 in orange and black

Saucony Men’s Guide available in 6 color schemes including blue and neon yellow, neon orange and grey, and grey and neon yellow:

Saucony Guide 6

Saucony Guide 6

Why such a discrepancy?  Do the shoe companies associate over-pronators as boring people?  Probably not, but what could be the cause?  My hunch in that the market for motion control shoes is so small that, economically, it doesn’t make sense for companied to invest in their motion control lines.  I couldn’t find a whole lot of information concerning market size.  I did come across this Huff Post article, in which the author interviewed the owner of a NYC running store.  The owner stated that 60-63% of shoes sold are neutral, 30-35% are stability, and the remaining are motion control.  In this environment, it appears that shoe companies are defaulting to dull colors for motion control shoes.  Does that have to be the case?  Potentially not, the UK version of the Asics Gel-Forte is a little more exciting that my current model:

UK version of the Asics Gel-Forte

UK version of the Asics Gel-Forte

Maybe this is just another case of the Europeans being ahead of us in the fashion industry.  First it was the Ray-Ban Wayfarers, then Birkenstocks, maybe running shoes is next….

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