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REI Exits Footwear, Kona Kicked To The Curb & Trail Running In The Olympics?


What happened to Cross Country at the Olympics?

Today on THE ROCK FIGHT (an outdoor podcast that aims for the head) Justin & Colin break down some of the more notable headlines to come out of the outdoor industry and community over the past week.


On today's slate:

  • What is Justin doing this weekend? Volunteering and Dad'ing, apparently. (02:45)

  • Per Gearjunkie, details have emerged from the Kona drama at the Sea Otter Classic. (07:37)

  • The new report from Athletics Weekly of a campaign to include trail running in future Olympics games. (15:40)

  • Per Footwear News REI exits house branded footwear and doubles down on running. (21:36)

  • SGB reports on Puma's new compostable sneaker. (28:10)


Head to www.rockfight.co and sign up for News From the Front, Rock Fight's weekly newsletter!


Please follow and subscribe to THE ROCK FIGHT and give us a 5 star rating wherever you get your podcasts.


Have a question or comment for a future mailbag episode? Send it to myrockfight@gmail.com or send a message on Instagram or Threads.



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Episode Transcript


Colin (00:08):

Welcome to the Rock Fight where we speak our truth, slay sacred cows, and sometimes agree to disagree. This is an outdoor podcast that aims for the head, I'm Colin True, and joining me today, he'd rather be hanging with La Ram's first round draft pick Jared verse, but he's here to pawn. It's Justin Haman. I wonder if I would,

Justin (00:27):

Wouldn't you

Colin (00:27):

Want to be down with your boys in LA getting ready for the football season?

Justin (00:30):

I don't know. I mean, I'd really like watching a boy attention the draft. Oh yeah. I mean, I'd love watching a play, but I don't remember enough if I want to hang out with any them. Yeah, I did. I did my, well, my wife is out of town, so me and the girls went and got pizza and they had the draft on and so I saw it and then I chimed in later on to see who the Rams picked.

Colin (00:53):

I don't watch any college football and I kind of tuned in a little bit just to see who the names are leading up to the draft. It's just kind of good drama, but I usually don't care. I do have this weird thing though, where I don't really consider myself to be a Patriots fan anymore. If they win or lose, I don't care. However, I was still very interested with them having the third pick what they were going to do and then I was stoked they took Drake May, but I also, it's not like I'm not like, yes, we got our guy, whatever. And I'm like, oh, okay, cool.

Justin (01:21):

It's weird. It just almost never works out anyway. I mean it's rare. Never. I mean the Rams usually don't really have draft picks very high anyways. It's the first time I've had a first round pick since 2016 and so usually I don't even pay much attention anyway and I dunno, it's silly.

Colin (01:35):

Alright, today we're going to run through some of the more notable or exciting headlines that come out of the outdoor industry and community, but before we get to that, we have a few listener reminders. The Rock Fight Everybody. It's Growing at an incredible rate right now. And if you're one of those new listeners that we just got, please follow the show on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, wherever you hear, it's just please click follow. It really helps us out. And then when you're done with that, head over to rock fight.co and sign up for our newsletter because frankly it's a dope newsletter. It's a good newsletter, you really

Justin (02:03):

Like it. It's a really good newsletter. Take it from me, a newsletter junkie. It's a good one.

Colin (02:07):

And you know what, I'm going to tease anyone who didn't sign up yet because you'll hear this after this next issue goes out. There's going to be a new edition of Rose Colored Haman. We're going to put it in the newsletter this week. Yeah, so you get a little Justin Hausman column in, how about newsletter? How you missed out on it, you didn't subscribe, but don't worry, it'll probably be on the website next week. So go there.

Justin (02:27):

Let's subscribe to the newsletter too,

Colin (02:28):

But subscribe to the newsletter. And lastly, we love hearing from our listeners. We want your suggestions for what Justin can do next weekend. We're going to talk about what he's going to do this weekend in a second. But what do you want him to do next weekend? This is your opportunity. Send what you think he should do to my rock fight@gmail.com. Okay, we're recording this on Friday, April 26th. You are hearing it on Monday, April 29th, which means that in between we had ourselves a weekend. It also means it's time for America's favorite podcast segment. What is Justin doing this weekend? Presented by Long Coffee. So Justin, what are you doing this weekend?

Justin (03:06):

Well, it's going to be a weekend full of excitement. Tomorrow is a big bike race and volunteering at it. I'm going to be one of those people that wears the hi-vis and points you in the direction that you're supposed to be going. And I've never done that before, but it sounds like it could be kind of fun. I don't really know. Do I bring a chair? Do I sit?

Colin (03:27):

Are you going to be at a road crossing?

Justin (03:29):

What it work? Yeah, here's the road you go to now. Just directing the directing the bikes and I got to cheer 'em on.

Colin (03:36):

God, I wish he had had more buildup. You should have grown a mustache and put on some aviators and put some short shorts on and been all militant cop out there. Yeah, you wait until I tell you to cross. You

Justin (03:47):

Hold cars stuff. Well it's not crossing so that they know to turn onto to this road. So I'm just directing them to the Here you turn on this road. Yeah, the cars can do whatever the heck they want.

Colin (03:57):

Is there anyone you don't like in this race that you could redirect wrong?

Justin (04:00):

Yeah, good point. It's hard to tell though when they got the glasses and the helmet on. That's a really good, yeah, you just keep on going this way. Keep on going this way. God, what happens if I miss one? Oh, that would suck.

Colin (04:09):

Right? And the kids come see you and you're all distracted and then it's like, what did someone go by?

Justin (04:14):

I should probably look more into the details. There was a Zoom call about it on Tuesday that I couldn't go to, but there's an email. I'll read the email five minutes before I leave the house in the morning to see what I'm supposed to

Colin (04:23):

Do. I mean, I dunno. I've always read those horror stories of races either running, biking, whatever, where people are like, oh I got off course or whatever. And I'm sure I definitely had moments during races that I run where maybe you're looking for the sign you don't see it. But I never went off course in anything I ever did. Not that I went did thousands of races or anything. So they usually are pretty good about these things being marked.

Justin (04:43):

Yeah, it would be pretty hard to miss this one. I know the street really well. It could be pretty difficult and if you do miss it, there's not another, I guess you know what I can see actually how it could be

Colin (04:53):

Confus. That's probably why you're there because it's

Justin (04:55):

A little, yeah, there's like one street that you turn on and there's like if you miss it, you could turn on the next one then that would not help. So maybe that's it. I dunno. But also, I don't know, I guess I think it's like eight to noon. So at noon if you haven't gotten there, I guess tough shit. I don't really know.

Colin (05:10):

1201, someone comes riding up. Where do I go? I can't help you. I'm

Justin (05:14):

Off the clock. Sorry I'm off the clock. I've only ever done one of these these, it's a race, but it's also kind of a fun, it's a race but it's also just a fun ride. But I've only done one and I don't even remember the people directing you. I just was trying to survive actually,

Colin (05:32):

Here's what you should do for next weekend. I want to know how many people Thank you. I am the biggest no matter how bad I'm feeling, any volunteer, I'm out. Thank you so much for being here. These things don't happen without you doing what you're doing this weekend without volunteers, races don't happen. And anytime if I saw any, I don't even like it when people don't even say anything to the volunteers, just say thank you to every single person you see, I was actually out mountain biking on some trails near my house a few months ago and there was a trail running race going on and I was just thanking the volunteers as I was going by. Hey, thanks for being here. It's so cool that you gave up your day to be here so that these people could do this thing. So I'm curious what that experience is going to be like. But

Justin (06:13):

That's Saturday. But the real adventure, I have a big adventure this weekend and this is one that they really need to be doing some training for. But my little girl's turning five in a couple weeks and her best friend turns five or just did. So they do a big combined birthday party and that's on Sunday and they'll be about 7,005 year olds and four year olds at this thing. Where is that your house or my wife? No, it's at a park. My wife and her friends, my wife and the other little girl's, mom planned it all out. They don't really involve me, but that's going to be a big deal. That's going to be a huge undertaking. I don't really know what to expect.

Colin (06:52):

Any dads that you're going to need to avoid people. You're like,

Justin (06:55):

Oh, that guy's going to be here. No, thankfully no. It's funny, the moms are all really close at this preschool, but the dads, I'm friends with this little girl's dad and there's a few other I'm friendly with, but the dads don't really hang. The moms all get together and hang all the time, but the dads never do

Colin (07:11):

What Justin is doing. This weekend is presented by a long weekend coffee where we are taking suggestions for the future additions of Justin's weekend. Want to start off your day's adventures and all of your weekends the right way. Head over to Long weekend Coffee, load it up on some beans like the secret handshake, which is the favorite blend of the rock fight. And then check out add at checkout. Enter the promo code Rock 10 to get 10% off of your first order long weekend coffee. More weekend please. Alright, let's get into some headlines. So we're going to start this week with a follow-up from last week because when we were recording our headlines episode last week, news was just breaking about Kona bike setting up and tearing down at the Sea Otter Classic. As it turns out they were not on their way to River Otter Fest at the Haman's House. That's true.

Justin (07:54):

I was so disappointed. I had a big welcome party all set up.

Colin (07:57):

They were actually being called home because their parent company, Kent Outdoors had decided that no amount of BOGOs can make Kona profitable for them.

Justin (08:05):

Buy one, get one free to non salespeople.

Colin (08:07):

Excellent. Thank you for pointing that out. Kent primarily owns Watersport brands like Boat, Aqua Glide and O'Brien, and they're going to be looking to sell off Kona, but that is in no way a foregone conclusion.

Justin (08:17):

I've never said that boat out loud.

Colin (08:20):

It's a hard

Justin (08:21):

OI was always like

Colin (08:23):

Bodie

Justin (08:24):

Botte Boe. It's boat. It's just boat.

Colin (08:28):

Those makes up for me saying Btop on yesterday's spot when it's at a best stop,

Justin (08:33):

It's just boat.

Colin (08:34):

Yeah, it makes sense, right?

Justin (08:36):

It makes sense. It

Colin (08:37):

Is kind of stupid. They just call it fucking boat. I don't know why you got to get cute boat, stop being cute. But anyway, it's not a foregone conclusion that they'll find a buyer. So there's a real chance that kona's over. So definitely some more details than we had when we recorded this last week, but what did you think when you heard about this?

Justin (08:54):

I guess I wasn't that shocked. I mean on the Gear and Beer podcast and on Adventure Journals podcast, I've just lavished praise on the Kona Unit X, which is one of my favorite bikes, which is their frigid rigid like adventure bike frame that I really like. And it's a great deal. I mean probably even better now, it's like 1500 bucks. Yeah,

Colin (09:19):

It's going to be a classic suit,

Justin (09:21):

Right? But other than that, I don't know. I don't know anybody who has a Kona, I don't really see 'em in stores. They seem like they kind of went down the budget brand at least. I don't even know if that's true, but it kind of seems like that to me. And I mean when I saw the buy one get one free thing, I'm like, wow, you never see that with anything other than shirts. So that seemed like a bad thing. But I will say I didn't realize how much the bike industry was struggling. I knew it was not doing well, but reading some of the reports about this, I was blown away by how bad it's gotten. And something about some big British financial firm that invests in a lot of British bike industry stuff is they don't expect it to come back for two more years. To get back to where it was.

Colin (10:03):

Escape Collective did a great podcast series about the state of the bike industry. I'd recommend it. It was really good. Wade Wallace hosted it. It's like a four part series.

Justin (10:10):

It's a good name.

Colin (10:11):

It is, right.

Justin (10:12):

Is that just because superhero, they just made too many bikes and they had a glut of inventory or what happened?

Colin (10:22):

Yeah, I mean the short of it is going into Covid, everybody thought that they were going to go out of business, no one's going to be able to do anything. And then they realized that, oh, everybody can go outside. So everybody's sold out of everything. And then to get back to where they needed to go with factory shutdowns and lack of raw materials, it was kind of a nightmare. And then I'm sure I think that ended up with people probably over ordering to make up for what they were missing out on during Covid. And that's all kind of still being sorted out for Kona. We talked about this, I think when we talked about the Unit X. It's an OG brand man. It's been around since 1988. I didn't realize it was that old. In my experience, I never, never really around for a while.

Justin (11:03):

I see a lot of old ones. I probably see more old ones than new ones. It's a

Colin (11:06):

Pacific Northwest brand, so I don't know if it's kind of one of those, if you're in the front range of Colorado, you see a lot of Yetis, but you don't see a lot of Yetis in other places. I imagine it was something more like that. I'd see them around and I had a buddy when I lived in Washington who rode one, but same as you. I never really thought much about them. But then if you look so Kent, who bought them in 2022 and they cite Covid as a determining factor for we're getting to this point. I'm like, you bought 'em just two years ago. The challenges in the bike space were happening at that time.

Justin (11:33):

That's a terrible, well, it might've been cheap

Colin (11:36):

Probably. Or the founders just punched. It was the original founders who sold it to Kent. So their founders were like, all right, we're done. They probably got a deal, got a little bit of money. But I don't know, it just feels like their core competency is water sports. To our point about who they are, every other brand on their website is a water sports brand. And I just wonder if they just kind of underestimated what it would take to own a bike brand.

Justin (11:55):

I just don't dunno what that name means to people. If it was like giant went out of business, is somebody going to go buy be? I know they're big, but are there giant heads? I don't know mean. I don't know if there's people out there that are clamoring to bring Kona back, so I don't know what they offer the other brands. You know what I mean? Yeah. I mean I guess you could say that about virtually any bike brand really, other than the boutique ones. Well it's

Colin (12:22):

Probably why that's not a rosy outlook because they would probably need a more independent, if you and I were like, Hey, we really like Kona, we want to buy a bike brand and own a bike brand. And we bought Kona and kind of operated on a smaller level, that's probably what it needs.

Justin (12:35):

But

Colin (12:37):

I'm sure those buyers aren't growing on trees.

Justin (12:40):

And this isn't to say anything about their bikes. The only bike I've ever had is a unit X. I may have mentioned this before, but the bike that got me into mountain biking at all was my buddy got a Kona Hanzo like 10 years ago or something like that. And I hadn't seen a new mountain bike this bike, this was the first 29 er I'd ever seen. It was the first, actually, it might not even have been a 29 er yet, but because even 27 5 wheels would've looked huge to me. Sure. Because I would've been coming off of a 26 and it was the first dropper post I ever saw. And I was just like, I remember riding it full speed into a curb because look at this giant fork. Let's see what this thing can do. Just UNK over a curb. And I'm like, I'm getting a mountain bike.

Colin (13:16):

This

Justin (13:16):

Is magic. I'm getting one. And that bike seemed cool, but I didn't know anything about it. But yeah, I dunno, it's a bummer. I mean, it's always a bummer. It's a bummer. I've heard of the brand. They've been around for a long time. I always feel for the people that lose their jobs, of course. And it's also just, what a lame way to do it. I don't know. You can't outdoors. But surely you knew before Sea Otter that this wasn't going to work. That was lame. How the hell did that happen?

Colin (13:40):

How do let that team leave for Sea Otter?

Justin (13:42):

That's incredible

Colin (13:43):

To me. Even if you weren't sure you knew things weren't going great,

Justin (13:48):

I can just imagine two people arguing about this, right? In some boardroom somewhere we're sending them. No, we're not. That's exactly what happened. And then someone who's higher up is like, no, Paul.

Colin (13:59):

Yeah. I kind hope this is a cautionary tale for those acquiring outdoor brands. I wonder if this is still another case. I mean, I don't know, maybe they have all these water based brands that are like, oh, let's add a bike line. But clearly they were making the brand bigger than it was because they had so many bikes that they were doing Buy one, get one. Now you can say that maybe they inherited some problems from Covid and that's kind of what they're referring to in that press release that they were trying to clean up. But I don't know, you gave it two years. You knew you were buying into a category that was struggling coming out of the pandemic, and then two years later you're like, ah, this isn't working out. All these brands are not just going to print money for folks, especially a small niche brand like Kona. So it does seem like it was probably not a good call to begin with.

Justin (14:40):

Well, RIPI guess maybe preemptively, but because even if they get bought, well, I don't know. That happens sometimes, right? Eagle Creek went under and it got bought by people that I think that used to work with Eagle Creek.

Colin (14:50):

They did loved one did seem like another one that was dead in the water and somebody, it was like a former employee that is bringing it back.

Justin (14:56):

So maybe that'll happen. I don't know. I mean, I do feel like I like the name and I'd be interested if they came back and just sold three different frames and it was kind of a small deal. That'd be cool. I

Colin (15:06):

Think it's a cool name. I think obviously they've made good product is evidenced by your experience. And just like I said, I've known people who are really good mountain bikers who rode Konas. It's a Pacific Northwest brand though, called Kona. It just sort of doesn't line up to me.

Justin (15:18):

I was shocked they weren't from Hawaii. Yeah, me too. I don't know. I was shocked. I don't know what the Kona references.

Colin (15:23):

Yeah, maybe I got to dig a little more. Maybe one of the owners was Hawaiian by birth or something like that, but it just, I don't know. Weird branding. It was 1988. Everything was loose back then, right?

Justin (15:35):

Was it? I don't know. I was 10. I don't know. I probably had a huffy.

Colin (15:39):

Alright, well next thing we're going to talk about Athletics weekly.com. That's a news outlet. I don't, I dunno if we've reported from here on the Rock, but we are right now. They reported this week that runners in the UK have come together for a United Trail run from London to Paris to campaign for the inclusion of trail running at future Olympic games, running it as a relay. Four runners left the UK on April 11th and took turns running it, running the 450 5K at France, finishing on April 14th. Organizers of the campaign include footwear brand, Merrill, and recent trail running stories like Jasmine Paris's performance at the Barley and Brit Russ Cook, who recently completed the first ever length run of the length of Africa, have been used to highlight the growing popularity of trail running. So you've recently become a competitive ultra-marathon on marathoner.

Justin (16:27):

So what are your thoughts

Colin (16:29):

On trail

Justin (16:30):

Running at the Olympics? I actually, it's funny, I'm surprised that it hadn't occurred to me before that it was weird that it wasn't part of the Olympics. Well, so

Colin (16:38):

Cross country used to be there. But are you looking at the outline? Don't look at the outline. How long has it

Justin (16:42):

Been? I'm not since

Colin (16:43):

Cross country has been at the Olympics.

Justin (16:45):

Oh God. I would've thought it still was

Colin (16:47):

Me too.

Justin (16:48):

I don't know. 10

Colin (16:49):

Years, 100

Justin (16:50):

Years. Oh my God. It's never really been a part of it in the modern world.

Colin (16:54):

As I was reading this, it was what I was thinking like, well, cross country's got to be in there.

Justin (16:58):

I never really thought about the fact that cross country is basically trail running. It's totally trail running. I mean you're not often on a trail. Usually you're running over rolling hills

Colin (17:06):

Or something. Like fields

Justin (17:06):

And stuff. Yeah, but I've never thought about that before. They were trail runners. I guess they probably do

Colin (17:11):

Fells running. I guess

Justin (17:13):

Cross country was always like, I wish one of those things where if you look back, I don't wish I'd played high school football. I wish I'd ran cross country in high

Colin (17:19):

School. Yeah, totally. Cause it's like a 5K, right? It's like three miles usually four miles

Justin (17:23):

Or something. It's crazy. Our high school had an amazing cross country team, but yeah. How was that not in the Olympics? I don't

Colin (17:29):

Know. I think it's a kind of a cool idea. My initial response was like, I don't know. Is this just trail running, trying to be, are they

Justin (17:35):

Going to build trails?

Colin (17:37):

Well, that's it, right? Or is it some sweet local trail network? If you're running and if it's really trail running, right? If you have Jim Wamsley and Courtney and are the best trail runners out there who are like ultra marathoners. I say other thing too, what length are we talking about? Is it a 5K? But if you're on single track where it's like passing is hard and stuff like that, that could actually be really interesting.

Justin (17:58):

Could we talk a little bit about the absurdity of how the Olympics? I mean, I was just thinking about how, okay, so that obviously be a summer Olympic sport. Of course if you're going to have it in Beijing, where are you going to have the trail running, right? I'm sure there's trails not terribly far, but they're going to be farish away. I hate that the Olympics does this where it's like some of the events aren't really that close to the Olympic Village. Are you aware of what's going on with surfing in the Olympics this year?

Colin (18:25):

No, I'm not.

Justin (18:27):

So the 2024 Olympics are in Paris, right? Right. Do you know where the surfing is? It's in Tahiti.

Colin (18:34):

What?

Justin (18:35):

It's in Tahiti.

Colin (18:38):

Why?

Justin (18:39):

It's French Polynesia.

Colin (18:41):

Oh, come on.

Justin (18:43):

So it's at pu, which is one of the world's gnarliest waves. And so you have all these people that are going to qualify and it's during CHOP's prime swell season. This wave is ferocious. I mean they occasionally cancel world tour events there too gnarly. Wow. So you're going to have a bunch, you're going to have the guy who got in from the Netherlands. Well actually, I mean there's some good surfers there, but it's insane.

Colin (19:09):

This is going to be like it's what,

Justin (19:11):

4,000, 5,000, 6,000 miles away from France.

Colin (19:14):

What's the Jamaican bobsled team equivalent of the surfers this summer?

Justin (19:17):

Honestly, honestly. Dudes like people from the Netherlands, something like that. So it's just the other part that's insane is France has great waves in the summer. Really? It really good waves. Oh

Colin (19:29):

Yeah. English channel.

Justin (19:31):

Well, yeah, but the Atlantic coast has terrific. I mean France has terrific.

Colin (19:34):

That's what I'm saying. The western part of France is on the ocean

Justin (19:38):

And all the waves.

Colin (19:41):

Why wouldn't you just

Justin (19:41):

Do that? Why wouldn't you just do that? I mean, I guess

Colin (19:44):

I think that's way cooler. I would love if you had some crappy break. You know what I mean? That doesn't just like, Hey man, you got to make hay with what we got out here. Sorry, we're in France. This is what

Justin (19:53):

We got. But are the surfers even going to the opening ceremonies? I mean, how

Colin (19:57):

Make sense? Oh, they're going to be in Tahiti

Justin (19:59):

And they're having to build this. They always have contests there, but they're having to build this huge elaborate thing that the locals are furious about because they don't want it. I mean, this is a tiny little town in the middle of the South Pacific. It's not like it's in Papa Aate on the main island of Tahiti.

Colin (20:16):

They do. Isn't whitewater an Olympic sport too that do something, build courses and things like

Justin (20:21):

That? I think they do. Yeah. Well, everybody thought that once wave pools were a thing, they would just build one for every Olympics, which is insane because it costs like a billion dollars. Well,

Colin (20:28):

You're touching on what makes it I'm concerned about if I'm concerned about anything with adding trail running is if you're going to find a really cool local trail network, and let's say if the event's like a 10 K or something like that, right? It's like, okay, so it's like it's not just a sprint in trails. There's real single track. It's real trail running then great. But if it's going to be one of these, well, we have to have it close to the arena. So we're going to carve a dirt path through the city and call it trail running, then don't bother.

Justin (20:54):

Sometimes they do that with cross country skiing where they make a thing where there's some hills, but it's basically just like a built loop, right? I mean, I don't know. Who knows? Yeah, I mean, but if you can do surfing, you can do trail running.

Colin (21:06):

Absolutely. I guess there's probably more upsides than down, but I thought this was kind of interesting to your point. That's why I was like, wait a minute, what about cross country? And then it said in the article, 1924 was the last time that

Justin (21:17):

They had cross country trail running. Brands must be fired up about this.

Colin (21:21):

Well, Merrill's leaving the charge.

Justin (21:23):

Yeah. Trail running brands. I said though, that was really good. Sorry Meryl. Sorry Meryl.

Colin (21:31):

Maybe they'll give them the jungle box you can wear after the trail running race. Yeah,

Justin (21:34):

Totally. Totally.

Colin (21:35):

So just yesterday, footwear news reported that after 2024 REI would exit its house branded footwear business REI, who for a long time has made tents and sleeping bags, backpacks and apparel created REI branded footwear four years ago, but are now stopping that part of their in-house line Fan ZI hope I'm pronouncing your name correctly, i's general manager of the run category was quoted as saying, we don't think that our true differentiated value add is in the manufacturing of footwear.

Justin (22:02):

I agree.

Colin (22:02):

So do IREI did say they'd be doubling down though on the running category. Demand for running and fitness categories have doubled since the pandemic. And as a response REI has created in-store experiences focus on running, which they intend to expand. So any initial thoughts on that?

Justin (22:19):

Well, both the winding down, but also the mere existence of re's footwear category is news to me. Same. Yeah. I honestly, I mean I go to REI all the time, I guess I don't really go to the shoe department for whatever reason, but I had absolutely no idea that you could buy an REI branded shoe until this very moment. And the

Colin (22:38):

First time I saw 'em was in a picture in this footwear news article and I'm like, oh yeah, they do have them. I guess I did not know either.

Justin (22:44):

What were they?

Colin (22:45):

I had some trail runners and boots. They said they did. Well, of course they said they did well, right. But it's like, I don't know. I think branding probably matters on footwear more than any other piece of product. I have no problem having an REI almost anything, but if you told me I had to wear REI shoes, I would be like, no,

Justin (23:01):

That's interesting. I wonder why that is. I agree with you though. I mean, I've had some REI stuff that's really good. I mean, my first tent was an REI tent. It's great. Someone's still using it. If it's 20 years old. I have some REI jackets that are good. I have no issue at all with their stuff. But yeah, it would not occur to me to buy, I wouldn't buy a pair of shoes.

Colin (23:18):

I think it's, and this is going to sound really insulting. I don't really mean it this way, but I think it's Ari, I stuff feels it's like the generic version of the other brands and if it looks bad, it looks like anything else, right? I mean it's honestly, I'd say this is a cautionary tale even for Run Rabbit who I talked about I think on a solo pod a couple of weeks ago about they're releasing a running shoe. It doesn't just, you have good ideas, good design, good colors. It doesn't mean footwear is a tricky beat. One of the first things you and I ever talked about, low expanding of the trail running like it doesn't mean it's going to work just because you're already making one style of shoe footwear is its own animal.

Justin (23:56):

Yeah, that's some hubris there. But I also have always wondered to what level is REI actually designing and making their stuff versus just slapping their logo on it. I actually have no idea. Oh no.

Colin (24:07):

I mean, look, I sold them when I was at ptech. I mean, they have a design and manufacturer, like a production team, just pretty much anybody else? Anybody else? I don't really understand the positioning as much anymore. This might be an interesting conversation to have with somebody who would know a little bit more about it because in the nineties, early two thousands, EMS and Re's in-house line did feel like the sort of more cost effective version of the bigger brands. Totally.

Justin (24:32):

Yeah.

Colin (24:32):

But it's all the playing field's really leveled that way in terms of the materials and performance. It's all kind of the same now. I think you could probably really make the case that a Gregory Backpack versus an REI backpack, it will be personal preference. It's the biggest difference versus before you'd be like, well, clearly the Gregory is going to be better. So I don't know, and I think, but as footwear, that was a tough place to go with it. So I think this is probably the right call and honestly kudos to REI for making the decision and not just continuing to write it out. Finally, a story about somebody who is saying, Hey, we are going to make less stuff. We're actually going to physically, we really are making less, but what do you think of REI as a run destination, especially as a competitive ultra marathon or where do you go to buy your run stuff? No, but well, I

Justin (25:16):

Go to, we don't have, Nike sends it to me because I'm a competitive ultra marathon. I don't know. That's a good question. I don't think it would be my first choice, but having said that, I don't know. I mean they probably mean, do they mean trail running?

Colin (25:34):

I think trail trail destination going to be some road as well. They just really want to, I think they're kind of throwing a dart at the,

Justin (25:40):

What does that mean? Does that mean that they're just not doing well? And they're like, well, we got to bring in more stuff.

Colin (25:45):

I'm definitely reading the terrain about what's growing and saying we should do more of that. I mean, I've bought a pair of lone piece from them before I was buying my kids something and I needed a new pair of trail runners. I'm like, oh, there's my shoe that I wear. Sure, I'll just pick up a pair while I'm here. But it wouldn't be my guilty. Still have.

Justin (25:57):

But as a non-business owner, I still always react. I always have the same reaction to this sort of stuff, which is like if you're REI and you're kind of doing fine and everybody's getting paid and everyone's relatively happy and you're like, oh, you know what? Road running is this huge thing. Let's spend a bunch of money to tap into that. Isn't that usually what messes brands up?

Colin (26:19):

Yes, I think so.

Justin (26:22):

I also think, I didn't go to business school or anything, but it just seems like that's usually what happens when Kona or whatever fails. It's like, well, yeah, we did this one thing. We're really good at it and it seemed fine, but we had to grow. Well,

Colin (26:34):

Maybe people take the wrong lessons too. The brands coming out of the nineties and two thousands that got acquired and then the hardwares and TNFs and stuff like that, but that was also, everything was new, and so those were the companies that there was room for them to grow if you wanted to buy them and invest in them. Now it's like, I think we're pretty well covered in some of these categories. The Kona one's probably a good example. What did you think you were going to do? There is already Trek and Giant, so are you going to try and compete with all those guys? But the REI one's interesting because as a runner I would much rather go to a run shop, a sports specialty run shop that is staffed with people who are running marathons and stuff like that, right? Oh, this is a run place. But they're also REI isn't like Dicks, which a big sporting good store.

Justin (27:16):

Right. But it sounds like maybe they want to be a little bit

Colin (27:19):

Well, that's it. You trying to, because going to compete against the Dicks, but you're also saying if you're doubling down on running, you're kind of competing against the little local run shop. It's kind of a weird thing.

Justin (27:30):

It feels like if we started a cooking show.

Colin (27:33):

Yeah. Why does it feel like that?

Justin (27:35):

Well, I mean it's like that's not really in our wheelhouse. We like to eat, we like to eat. We like to eat while we're camping, we like to talk about food. It kind of in some ways makes sense. But I wouldn't start a podcast that was a cooking podcast. That's kind of how it feels to me a little bit. Have you heard of this book?

Colin (27:52):

It's called The Joy of Cooking. I'm not sure if you've heard of it. It's only been around for hundred

Justin (27:56):

50. It doesn't feel like it's in re's wheelhouse, I dunno.

Colin (28:01):

I agree.

Justin (28:01):

Just stick to camping. Just stick to the camping and the Got to

Colin (28:05):

Camping, got to, got to grow. Got to do you though. Yeah, we got to. It's the American Way. Alright, last thing. According to SGB, after two years of work, Puma has released a commercial version of the res suede. So it's re suede sneaker, and again, with the naming conventions people, Justin and I are going to start a consultancy about how to name your products, showing that it could turn the shoe into compost under industrial conditions made with what? Well, there's a little bit

Justin (28:32):

Coming here. Oh, I know what it means. Means.

Colin (28:33):

So made with materials that would decompose, consumers will have the ability to return used shoes to Puma, to be put through a specially equipped industrial composting process and then get a 20% discount on their next purchase. So not quite plant your shoes in a potter or in your garden and then don't have to worry about it, but good step in the right direction.

Justin (28:54):

I wanted to make fun of this until you explained it. This seems like a great idea. As long as it's, I mean, is it outrageously expensive? I mean, if you get 20% off but it's 30% more to buy it, that's not going to work. But I mean I would love that. It seems very, a very obvious thing to do. It's bummer that you have to send it back, but I learned we can't recycle or not recycle. We can't put compost bags in our compost here because our county facility doesn't process that, and so all we can put is just raw food. That's it. And some cardboard boxes, not others.

Colin (29:33):

Yeah, pizza boxes usually you can, right? Why is that? You can't recycle them. They get oily from the pizza, but

Justin (29:40):

You can, it can't. I put, but I'm not supposed to put a regular cardboard in there. I don't

Colin (29:44):

Know.

Justin (29:45):

Maybe it's like food grade, cardboard. I don't

Colin (29:47):

Know. I think it's all a scam.

Justin (29:48):

I do too well because I watch 'em dump everything into the same bin in the truck anyway

Colin (29:52):

At the

Justin (29:52):

Landfill, but thank you. Yeah. I mean, yeah, it seems great. I mean it's because they probably last the same amount of time. It's interesting. I mean, they're made of bio-based phones. People, I

Colin (30:06):

Think the volunteers, the testing, they had people wearing 'em for 18 months or something like that, so I guess this is maybe, maybe the analogy is when flat screen TVs were $3,000 if you want to want, and now they're like 200 bucks at Target. You got to start somewhere, and so it's like, Hey, to start this, we want compostable shoes. Well, for right now, you got to send it back and we got to compost it for you.

Justin (30:31):

I guess I do kind of also feel like, are these things just kind of, not necessarily greenwashing, but just to make you feel a little bit better? I mean,

Colin (30:41):

I don't trust anybody on this stuff.

Justin (30:43):

I don't know enough to know whether or not the shipping of the shoe back to them and however they compost it. Is that doing something bad too? It always boils under what is your main concern here? Is it like proliferation of stuff? Is it carbon emissions? And I just don't know the answer, so awesome. But it also feels like maybe just don't buy as many shoes.

Colin (31:07):

I think that's always a good idea. Although I do love shoes.

Justin (31:09):

Or just make shoes that don't have to be compose because they last a lot longer. I don't know. Well,

Colin (31:14):

I think it's some combination of both eventually. Then if we can get to the point where you can compost anything, it's where you want get to. I don't know. I guess if you think about if there's any sort of regulations coming, I would love to see the first thing they pass if Congress could pass would be, Hey, you have to just be really upfront about you can't market your shoes with any sort of marketing hyperbole anymore. It's just like you got to be honest about what this is and what it does and if it's like, yeah, this compost, but it never will. Well,

Justin (31:40):

Right. I don't know what that means. Does it turn into actual fertilizer and why does that have to be an industrial situation being burned? I don't understand how that works. Should

Colin (31:48):

They be able to use the word compost under this? Because compost to me means I put it in my backyard and it turns into dirt,

Justin (31:53):

Right? Yeah. I mean, just make shoes out of dirt. How hard could that be? Just real soft dirt.

Colin (31:58):

I don't know.

Justin (31:59):

It's all weird. I just know that if I had to, I sold a pair of shoes on Poshmark this week and it still took me two extra days to go to the post office. I was two days after I was supposed to do it, and I was getting actual money for it. If the shoes cost the same, I just have a feeling that people will just kind of do what they do with the shoes normally. That's

Colin (32:16):

True. The promise of compostable shoes is you didn't give me an errand to run at the end of life. I just get to throw it away and stop feeling guilty about it.

Justin (32:24):

Yeah. I mean, I don't know. I look forward for the day where there's giant bins at their shoe store and you can just drop your shoes in and deal with it. I don't know if REI does this, but Sports Basement, which is our local chain of Reiss basically, but there's only five of them. They have these giant where you just toss in your little green propane canisters when you're done using 'em and they deal with, it's cool. And it should be like that for virtually everything.

Colin (32:47):

Yeah, there's a long way to go in this stuff. And that's the thing we really don't know about most of it. And everybody's just telling you how great their stuff is

Justin (32:53):

Mean. If it makes you feel good, I mean great. It's probably is good. It probably is good.

Colin (32:57):

Well, I mean we'll know because it's been a few years. This hasn't progressed any further. I guess it's not going to matter, but if in a few years it's like, oh yeah, we used to have to do that industrially, but now we've cracked the case on you being able to do it at home. You

Justin (33:07):

Just put it into Mr. Fusion in your car and it powers your car.

Colin (33:10):

See, now you're thinking you said hydrogen Z. Right?

Justin (33:12):

This is what Elon Musk should be working on, this kind of stuff. Yeah. Get us Mr. Fusion already.

Colin (33:16):

God damnit Elon,

Justin (33:18):

Just a can of beer and a banana peel and you're like, okay, we're good to travel through time.

Colin (33:23):

Cyber trucks getting recalled, right? All the cyber trucks getting recalled. Let's

Justin (33:27):

Put a what a shame, God, what a shame. But

Colin (33:30):

Maybe it says it gets recalled and you get it back with a Mr. Fusion, then it's like, ah, all right. I buy cyber truck tomorrow.

Justin (33:37):

If you have a cyber truck and it gets recalled, you should also not be able to drive whatever your other nine cars are. It should be like punishment. You should have anticipated this. You have to suffer a little bit, but they

Colin (33:45):

Give you a razor scooter as a loaner.

Justin (33:47):

Yeah,

Colin (33:48):

That's what you get. Until we give this back,

Justin (33:49):

You have to drive a 1988 Honda Civic and it's a five speed. So good luck with that. That's a

Colin (33:54):

Dope car.

Justin (33:55):

Such a good car,

Colin (33:56):

Right? Well anyway, I mean look, nobody else has released, put out anything about a composting shoe, so good job, Puma.

Justin (34:03):

That's awesome. Also, kind of forgot Puma existed until this conversation

Colin (34:06):

Just about to ask you what do you think a Puma

Justin (34:07):

Is, Fila next? Are they still around?

Colin (34:09):

Yeah, they're around. All these brands are still around. I think Puma actually has some juice though. I think fashion wise, I think they're kind of doing something. Not that. Definitely not in our

Justin (34:17):

Demo. Must to be so into Pumas. I bet they're make killer basketball shoes and you just wouldn't know unless you're super into it. Oh, they probably make really good soccer shoes. Puma's European, aren't they? Aren't they boots? They probably make really good soccer boots, soccer boots.

Colin (34:30):

One of my 13 year olds got a pair of samba classics lately. Very recently. Hey. And I was kind of like, I think I might have to get myself a pair of samba classics.

Justin (34:37):

Are they black?

Colin (34:37):

Yeah, of course. She was talking about getting some different color by guy. Just get the black ones, honey. Just get the

Justin (34:42):

Black ones. Never had 'em. Never had 'em. Really? Never will.

Colin (34:45):

Nope. Why not?

Justin (34:47):

I told, we talked about this. I always felt like they looked like Irish gangster shoes or you had to have a super super Moed Subaru or something. They just felt like

Colin (34:59):

We did talk about this.

Justin (35:00):

Yeah. If I was going to go to my shift at the bar where I pour Irish car bombs all day, I'd wear, I dunno why I associate them with Irish stuff, but I do for some reason. She

Colin (35:09):

Looks good at 'em. They fit her. They're

Justin (35:10):

Cool, they're super cool. I just never, you're right. I never pull and pull it off.

Colin (35:15):

I'm just going to go get another pair of Chucks or something. Alright, well we can wrap it up there. Thanks for listening to the Rock Fight is a production of Rock Fight LLC and for Justin Hausman. I'm Colin True. Thanks for listening and of course, as he always is, he's here to take us out. It's Krista Makes with the Rock Fight Fight song. We'll see you next time. Rock fighters rock. Fight

Chris DeMakes (35:42):

Into the bike where we speak our truth. Stay sacred cows and sometimes agree to disagree. We talk about human power, outdoor activities and pick bikes are fantastic that we find interesting. Black culture music, the latest movie reviews, ideas for the head. This is where we speak truth. This is where we speak our truth. Rock bike.



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