Athletic apparel company ASICS today acquired popular running app Runkeeper for an undisclosed amount of money. Runkeeper founder Jason Jacobs announced the news in a blog post on Medium, in which he promised that the merger of a "digital fitness platform and world class physical products" will be one that should benefit fans of both companies.
Partnering with ASICS to fulfill this vision together makes a ton of sense. We both have deep roots in and focus on running as a core component of the fitness experience. There is strong alignment between our brands and core values. And from people using our Shoe Tracker feature in the app, we know that ASICS shoes are by far the ones that Runkeeper users run in the most!
Jacobs promised that Runkeeper users won't see many changes to the core app experience due to the acquisition, but thanks to ASICS' resources, the app should be able to expand and grow at a faster rate. The specifics of the integration into physical products for the two companies has not yet been disclosed, but an automatic run-tracking shoe seems to be in the cards with Runkeeper's mentioning of the popularity of ASICS shoes among its users.
Runkeeper offers a free experience, but power users can spend $9.95 on a more premium version of the service. Last summer, Runkeeper announced that it cut 30 percent of its staff to shift focus "from purely attracting lots of users to wringing more revenue from those users," which ASICS' acquisition should help contribute to as well.
Fitness clothing companies have been making acquisitions in the digital space for a while now, in the last year alone Under Armour purchased MyFitnessPal and Adidas purchased Runtastic. One of the first technical integrations of digital fitness into a wearable was the Nike+ step counter, which you could insert into a tennis shoe to sync with the company's running app.