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Runners’ lab takes a new stance on online sales to foreign countries. To preserve our unique offering for local buyers and reduce the ecological impact of overseas trade, we deliver only in Belgium and the Netherlands.

In December, we opened a new physical location in Rumst. With more than 80 employees, 6 stores and a webshop, you would think there would be no limit to the growth ambitions of the Beveren-based family business. Yet in March 2023 we made the clear decision to scale back online sales to just Belgium and the Netherlands.

Save unique offer for local runners

“We noticed that exclusive shoes were bought up very quickly by foreign buyers.” says Koen, CEO of Runners’ lab. “As a running store, we are known for an extensive and quality selection of competition shoes and spikes, but have sometimes had to disappoint local customers over the past two years.”

“We resolutely choose to remain locally relevant and are willing to make drastic choices to do so,” continued Koen. “We will sell online only in Belgium and the Netherlands. Fellow entrepreneurs and especially suppliers often don’t understand this decision because it does limit our online sales. But it is a very conscious choice.”

“Helping people play sports injury-free is our mission; this is only possible through personal advice. We see our webshop as an extension of our service in the store. We do not compete with international webshops.” clarifies Koen. “We will continue to differentiate ourselves through knowledge, experience and an offering that allows us to meet all the needs of runners and walkers. We have no ambition to grow internationally, because outside the local market we cannot offer that personal touch and high quality.”

Ecological choice?

“I hate greenwashing” speaks Koen confidently. “We are very aware of the polluting textile and footwear sector. The most ecological thing you can do is still buy quality products and then use them as long as possible. We even have our own workshop to make shoes last longer.”

“But the ecological impact of international trade has certainly been the decisive argument in this decision,” continues Koen. “In the management team, there was consensus very quickly that it was illogical for shoes made in Asia to come to us so we would ship them from Belgium back outside Europe.”