The popular athleisure company is rumored to launch a footwear collection in 2022.
Is the popular Lululemon one step closer to its first shoe line launch? While the athleisure company hasn’t responded yet for comment, industry sources say all signs point to yes. The launch of a footwear collection from Lululemon would put them in competition with the likes of Nike and Adidas.
In the past, Lululemon has been somewhat mum when it comes to its plans for shoes, with one exception occurring on an earnings call earlier this year. In the call, Calvin McDonald, Lululemon CEO, announced that the company planned to launch its first-ever footwear collection in early 2022, sharing that Lululemon had been diligently developing footwear and recognizes that its loyal consumers desire a shoe line.
In the call, McDonald also noted that Covid had a profound impact on the company’s demand.
“Since the early days of the pandemic, our guests have been demanding technical product that offers comfort and versatility as they spend more time working and sweating from home,” McDonald said.
Like many other fitness and wellness companies, the pandemic has been good business for the industry, with consumers pivoting more towards health and working out at home. The result has been an increase in sales of at-home gym equipment, fitness wearables, athleisure, and shoes, suggesting that Lululemon has been listening.
A 2019 design patent for the shoes, which appears to be the first of its kind for Lululemon, was just issued this month and referenced a shoe and various views. Sourcing Journal has reported that the drawings include half of the Lululemon logo on the shoe’s bottom. The patent reportedly includes stretch zones and dual-layered midsoles, hinting at ensuring the footwear is conducive to athletic performance.
Lululemon had recently leased 28k square feet in Portland in anticipation of the new shoe line. The company was also reportedly hiring a sock developer and was actively searching for a footwear biomechanics lead. The Portland Business Journal reported that Portland-area employees who have recently onboarded with Lululemon have career backgrounds with Nike, Adidas, and Columbia, showing that Lululemon has some knowledgeable staff behind the new shoe venture.
In a Motley Fool interview back in June, Jena Greene, Bureau Chief of Consumer Goods for the site, theorized that the Vancouver-based Lululemon came out as a winner during the pandemic, a big feat for a company that is direct-to-consumer. Greene joked that Lululemon is over a quarter of her portfolio and loves the company and the product herself.
In the interview, Greene says, “Lulu has managed to elevate itself from the brand of college sorority sisters to a well-regarded household name. It’s done strategic partnerships with high-end fitness brands and experiences that have only worked to elevate it as an attainable status symbol for fitness fanatics alike.”
She further referenced the cult-like following that Lululemon enjoys and how it has led to much success.
“Customers are fiercely loyal due to strong brand awareness and it’s successful social pushes that has paid off. E-commerce continues to outperform. It’s definitely going to be a push going forward and I’m seeing things that I like so far,” Greene continued.
According to CNBC, Lululemon is on track to surpass its 2023 revenue target by close of 2021, two years ahead of its schedule. Sales in the US were also up 63% and 49% internationally in the second quarter. Previously, Lululemon revenue increased by 88%.