Lululemon officially enters the shoe game
Lululemon is synonymous with innovation – it pretty much created the athleisure category, after all. It’s no surprise, then, that the company’s newest foray into footwear takes a unique approach: starting with a women’s collection, reversing the typical scenario.
“A woman’s foot is different from a man’s foot,” notes product manager Sun Choe, speaking at the shoe launch in Manhattan this morning. “And yet, most performance shoes are designed for men first and adapted for women later.”
Instead of treating women like an afterthought, Lulu leans in. (It’s no coincidence that this launch takes place on International Women’s Day, after all.) The brand’s highly anticipated line of footwear is designed specifically for the female foot, including design elements such as the heel cup which decreases the impact of soft tissues on the whole body.
Adding shoes to its range wasn’t an impulsive move for the fitness juggernaut – the brand spent years designing and developing its first line of shoes, which includes four athletic styles that seek to address the concerns and body ergonomics of female athletes.
“Innovation for women has been at the heart of the brand for over 20 years,” adds Choe. “We’ve done countless rounds of wear testing, collecting feedback from thousands of women.”
So what are the details?
As mentioned above, Lululemon this morning announced four new athletic shoes designed specifically for women. Blissfeel, the brand’s running shoe, will be available online and in select stores in North America, mainland China and the UK starting March 22. Lulu also announced three additional styles, which will be released in the coming months: the Chargefeel, Strongfeel and Repos.
feeling of happiness
We’ll dive deeper into what’s available soonest, and which riders got a chance to test out at the Manhattan launch event: Blissfeel. The shoe features an upper that supports movement, as well as foam cushioning technology underfoot that transfers energy to the runner. The Blissfeel will be available in 10 colors later this month.
“What sets it apart is the cushioning, quality and durability,” says Lululemon ambassador – and world-class runner – Jasmine Blocker, who played a key role in the development of the shoe, in testing for wear and giving marks during dozens of private field workouts. Track. “They’ve been very responsive to my feedback. I’ve tried a million brands, and it’s hard to find one that works for me. It’s just my favorite shoe, and I can’t say that enough.”
Of course, she is a bit biased. So while our man in the field couldn’t actually run in the shoes, he joined the short trial to gather thoughts from the many runners in attendance. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with the shoe drawing comparisons to Hoka and Nike Free running shoes, among others. The former composition owes much to underfoot cushioning, which encourages a comfortable heel-to-toe ride. This last composition refers to the somewhat unstructured upper of the shoe, a breathable mesh adapted to the feet.
We only covered 2.5 miles, so it’s impossible for anyone to comment on durability at this point. But the look and feel of the shoe is quite promising. Two local ambassadors plan to wear it on a 70-mile run in Southern California later this year – a real acid test.
The Chargefeel is Lulu’s foray into cross-training – it’s designed for gym time and short runs and features a dual-density midsole for cushioning and energy return, as well as a an upper that provides midfoot support. The Chargefeel will be available in summer 2022.
The Strongfeel is the brand’s answer to the needs of female athletes in training mode. Designed for multi-directional movement, the shoe has been designed with a low profile midsole and a multi-directional outsole that moves with and supports the wearer. The Strongfeel will launch in fall 2022.
Finally, we have the Restfeel – an elevated slide intended for post-workout recovery. Leveraging the same performance ethos that shaped Lululemon’s athletic-focused footwear, the Restfeel is an ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing everyday sandal. The Restfeel will be launched this summer.
But what about guys, you ask? You’ll have to wait a bit: Lululemon announces that it will launch its men’s shoe collection in 2023, with the same intentionality and insight-driven approach the brand took with its women’s line. Stay tuned, guys.
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