Craft Running Shoes: An Insider's Look + the Ultimate Hybrid

Ever heard of Craft running shoes?
πŸ‘ŸThe 50-year-old Swedish clothing brand, Craft Sportswear, stepped into the running shoe market in 2019, and it's been blazing a path of success ever since...on roads and trails.
πŸ‘€Want an insider's view of Craft running shoes + a look at the brand's ultimate road/trail hybrid?
πŸ‘‰Check out this interview with Craft sales rep Nick Siino...

πŸ‘ŸQ: How did you get into the running shoe industry?

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: I started running track and cross country in middle school. I kept running in high school, and then I ran club cross country in college at the University of Californiaβ€”Davis.

  • I started working at Fleet Feet as a floor associate and did some marketing work for them. 
  • When I realized I could do more in the running industry than just retail work, I started talking to shoe reps.
  • After that, I worked for Salomon for about four years.
Nick Siino is the Craft Sportswear sales rep for northern California. The sales and distribution side of Craft Sportswear is managed by Waypoint Outdoor.

πŸ‘ŸQ: How did you find your way to Craft Sportswear?

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: About six months ago, I was looking for a bit of a change and way to move up the ladder.

  • I started looking around for running shoe brands that were up and coming in the industry. You know, brands with the most room to grow.
  • That's how I found Craft. I looked at their footwear and thought: "Wow, this is a tremendous opportunity to grow with a small brand that has a lot of potential. 
  • I decided to get in on the ground level and hope I can help grow Craft into a really big brand.

πŸ‘ŸQ: What's the Craft Sportswear origin story?

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: Craft Sportswear actually started in 1973 in Sweden making base-layer clothing for Nordic skiing.

  • To this day, they're most well-known globally for their base layers and clothing line.
  • Craft launched its footwear line around 2019, so it's still pretty new to the game.
  • We launched with the CTM Ultra Trail Running Shoe. The idea behind this shoe was to create an all-encompassing shoe you could use on any terrain at any pace from paved roads to gravel roads and mountain trails. Check out recent WeeViews on the CTM Ultra Trail Running Shoe here
  • Now we've expanded our line of trail shoes, launched a road shoe line, and have the only true hybrid shoe in the industry: the Nordlite Ultra.
The Craft Nordlite Ultra is a hybrid shoe designed for running paved roads, gravel roads and trails.

πŸ‘ŸQ: Tell us more about the Craft Nordlite Ultra hybrid running shoe

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: It's the centerpiece of our hybrid/gravel category right now.

  • It's a highly-cushioned shoe with our supercritical Cr Foam
  • This shoe, more than any other shoe in our line-up, blurs the line between road and trail.
  • This shoe works really well for road running, trails, and even speedwork.
  • Our CEO Eric Schenker ran the Boston Marathon in the Nordlite Ultra.
  • Craft-sponsored athlete and footwear tech rep David Laney ran UTMB in this shoe. Fun fact...UltraRunning Magazine named David Laney the Ultrarunner of the Year in 2015. 

πŸ‘ŸQ: What differentiates Craft compared to other running shoe brands?

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: It comes down to the different types of foam we offer. I don't think any other brand has this many types of foams made from different materials.

  • Cr Foam. This is a really soft and bouncy foam that performs well on a variety of terrains. It's a bit of a racing-foam and really lightweight.
  • Px Foam. This foam has a kind of thermal-beaded structure that gives you a lot of durability and maximum energy return. Even with a bigger stack height, this foam allows the shoe to remain pretty light.
  • Ud Foam. This is ultra durable and our firmest foam. It just lasts forever. I'm ran a ton of miles in shoes with the Ud Foam and have yet to blow one of the shoes out. For the runner who likes a firmer ride, the Ud Foam is the best option.
Craft-sponsored athlete and footwear tech rep David Laney at UTMB.

πŸ‘ŸQ: How did the Nordlite Ultra perform at UTMB?

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: David Laney came back from France talking about how much he loved the Nordlite Ultra for the race.

πŸ‘ŸQ: What's the Craft company culture like?

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: It's a small team of about 15 people in the U.S., with a bigger staff based in Sweden.

  • Here's what makes that interesting. When a situation arises, I can just hop on a call with the national sales manager or send him a text.
  • Because we're a small brand, we're able to figure things out extremely quickly. 
  • It's also really easy to access our product design team in Los Angeles. Our sponsored-athletes call them up whenever they have feedback, and they're really receptive to suggestions to keep making the brand and shoes better.
Pro athletes sponsored by Craft Sportswear recently competed in races like UTMB, Western States 100, and Hardrock 100.

πŸ‘ŸQ: What's the Craft shoe-design and development process look like?

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: All of our shoes are designed in conjunction with our athletes.

  • They get prototype versions in advance, run a ton of miles in them on different terrain, and get a chance to make adjustments to the shoe
  • By the time a shoe goes to production, it's sometimes completely indistinguishable from where we started
  • Our athletes play a crucial role in the design process. They'll tell us things like: "I don't really like this upper." "This foam needs to be softer or firmer." Or identify durability issues.
  • We're on a mission to create really high-performing running shoes, so testing and collecting feedback is really important.

Feedback creates new trail shoe

  • In fact, that's how the Endurance Trail shoe was created. Some of our athletes like one of our flagship shoes, the Pro Endur Distance, so much, they asked for a trail version.
  • We readjusted the upper to make it more stable, and put a different outsole on the bottom.

πŸ‘ŸQ: What's the next running shoe Craft plans to release?

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈNick: Next season we're releasing an amazing road shoe called The Pacer.

  • This is the softest shoe we've ever made.
  • This is really going to be a kind of shoe that will work for every runner.
  • It will work well for recovery runs, too. And it's soft and protective.
  • We'll be selling it at a competitive price point around $135, and we hope it will be successful in the market.
Fun facts about Craft Sportswear sales rep Nick Siino.

Fun facts about Nick Siino

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈLongest run

  • During COVID I did a 40-mile road run in Davis, Calif. It was my own Backyard Ultra Challenge.

πŸ—“οΈNext race

  • Lake Sonoma 100K in Healdsburg, Calif. on October 21, 2023. The race director, Skip Brand, is the coolest dude. He's the owner of the Healdsburg Running Company, and he's really connected in the running community. He can convince anybody to run this race. "You have to do it. It will be so fun." He's got a way of brining everyone he meets into his circle.

⌚Favorite running watch

🦺Favorite hydration pack

  • Salomon Sense Pro 10 for longer runs. I don't have one single complaint about this vest. It's a lightweight racing pack. It fits two 500mL bottles in the front. There's room for more full bottles in the back, and it's easy to swap them out.


  • Nuun and Tailwind for hydration. Spring Energy for fuel. I know some runners get extremely specific about how much sodium and sugar they consume. But if I'm completely honest, my fueling strategy looks more like complete chaos. I will literally eat anything. Sometimes I'll grab something from the vending machine or grab a pack of red vines and go.


πŸ˜€Pre-race ritual

  • I do something a little different every time. But there is ONE thing that's mandatory: A double shot of espresso. That's the one thing I can't do without. As long as I get that before a race, everything else will probably be OK. On race day, I wake up and go straight for the espresso machine.

πŸ‘‰Advice for runners: Enjoy a daily 'fika'

  •  "Fika" is a Swedish word that kind of translates to "coffee break." Everybody needs a mid-day "fika." That's the Craft way. 

πŸ‘ŸWhy give Craft running shoes a try?

  • If you're looking for a hybrid shoe that can do everything from road to trails, give Craft a try. We're one of the only brands with a hybrid shoe category. The Craft CTM Ultra and the Nordlite Ultra are both really incredible shoes that can do it all.
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Evan Jensen
SANDY, Oregon
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I help RUNNERS reduce injuries, fix running form, run longer & faster by strength training without running ragged. I'm a NASM...


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