Hoka shifts toward lifestyle with urban redesigns of performance footwear
Hoka One One is at a crossroads. Owned by Ugg parent company Deckers since 2013, the little trail running brand founded in Annecy, France by former Saloman executives Jean Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud in 2009 has transformed into a real powerhouse over the last few seasons, achieving sales of $571 million in the fiscal year ended May 2021, up 62% from the previous 12-month period.
Performance footwear is still the core of the brand's business, a fact reflected by the upcoming launch of Hoka's Rincon 3 on August 1, with marketing efforts spotlighting the shoe's cushioning properties and lightweight design. But the brand is also looking for new growth levers. For this reason, the development of a relevant apparel offering consistent with the label's wider proposition has seemed like a real possibility since its first foray into the category in mid-2020. And indeed, the brand recently recruited its first senior director of apparel, Evie Moe, whose previous experience notably includes a six-year stint at Perry Ellis.
However, Hoka has also noted that the running and trail running trends are proving popular in the fashion footwear category. This has led the brand, whose chunky-soled shoes feature a distinctive silhouette, to test out its potential in urban footwear.
Hoka has reimagined two of its models – the Bondi and the Clifton – renaming them the Bondi L and the Clifton L, with the L standing in for "Lifestyle." These streetwise redesigns feature suede uppers, offbeat colorways and, perhaps most interestingly, mismatched left and right feet.
Available now on Hoka's website, as well as through the brand's retailers, these limited-edition shoes look to be a test to see if, having won over runners, the label can hope to find similar success in fashion footwear.
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