Lululemon CEO Calvin MacDonald said starting out in shoemaking was the underwear maker’s natural next step.
The Blissfeel shoe, the women’s first-ever running shoe, will be available for purchase starting March 22 in select markets across North America, mainland China and the United Kingdom. The running shoes will retail for $148.
The launch marks Lululemon’s official foray into the athletic footwear category, Having previously sold a small batch of shoes from Athletic Propulsion Labs. The footwear industry, for both women and men, could be another important growth lever for a sportswear retailer as it seeks to capture its biggest competitor.
Sports shoe sales boomed during the pandemic as more consumers started running or opted for more comfortable shoes while working from home. It’s an incredibly hot category with competitors ranging from giants like Nike to on the run For more niche brands like Allbirdswhich also makes running shoes.
Lululemon said it aims to launch a men’s shoe collection next year, at which point it will expand its collection of special edition women’s shoes and seasonal sneakers.
Meanwhile, Lululemon said it will be launching two types of women’s cross-training shoes this summer, priced at $138 and $148, followed by a slip-on for post-workout wear, priced at $58, and another training sneaker with more. Supportive midsole, $128.
Lululemon will begin this year with the launch of running shoe and other options for women, followed by a men’s shoe collection in 2023.
The launches fulfill a long-awaited goal for Lululemon and CEO Calvin MacDonald.
Back in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, McDonald’s He said the company saw a white space in the shoe market. He hinted that at some point Lululemon would start selling his own shoes, based on the success she had with the APL.
Branching out into the shoe market was the company’s next natural step, MacDonald said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It represents an exciting moment for our brand,” he said. “We’re getting into the footwear category in the same way we built our apparel business – with products designed to meet unmet needs, and designed for women first.”
Sneaker sales in the United States grew 17% for men and 24% for women in 2021 compared to 2020 levels, according to data from market research firm NPD Group.
According to NPD sports analyst Matt Powell, the top brands of women’s athletic shoes, in particular, are Nike, Skechers, Adidas, Brooks, and New Balance. Powell said he expects sales of women’s and men’s athletic footwear to grow by a low single-digit percentage this year, as a result of last year’s gains, as the first half of 2022 faces greater challenges for the industry than the latter half.
Powell said another round of stimulus checks from the government early last year drove consumer spending. And many shoppers chose a new pair of shoes.
Lululemon’s sales for the 12 months ended January 31, 2021 grew to $4.4 billion from $3.98 billion the previous year. Its stock is down more than 20% since the start of the year.
By comparison, Nike raked in $44.5 billion in sales in the fiscal year ending May 31, up 19% from the previous year’s levels. Adidas has yet to announce its 2021 results. Its revenue for the 12 months ended December 31, 2020, was 19.8 billion euros, or about $21.6 billion.
“Avid problem solver. Extreme social media junkie. Beer buff. Coffee guru. Internet geek. Travel ninja.”