How These 6 Shoe Brands Are Winning Black Friday Without Having Any Sales

For most brands and retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean one thing: sales.

But while shoppers might enjoy getting a bargain, companies that rely on aggressive discounts going into the holiday season run the risk of killing their profit margins, diluting their brands and competing in a race to the bottom. Many of today’s most popular brands have also made environmental consciousness part of their DNA, which doesn’t necessarily mesh with the standard Black Friday ethos of “more, more, more.”

Still, sitting out the holiday entirely would be a missed opportunity given that, according to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 165.3 million people are forecast to shop over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday being the busiest days. Here are six creative ways footwear and outdoors brands are celebrating the occasion without slashing prices.


Allbirds Lava Tree Runner
The Allbirds Lava Tree Runner.
CREDIT: Allbirds

The maker of the wool sneaker phenom is skipping discounts, it says, because it is “already committed to providing customers with the highest-quality product for the best possible price.” Instead, it’s planning a range of new releases for Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Cyber Monday (Dec. 2). First comes a trio of the brand’s lightweight Tree Runners in limited-edition patterns, including the striped Lava style pictured. Following that are three new versions of its classic Wool Runner silhouette in flecked colorways inspired by holiday-appropriate desserts. Peach cobbler is one, and the rest are still under wraps.

Everlane is once again devoting the shopping holiday to its Black Friday Fund, donating $10 of every sale, up to a maximum of $300,000, to Oceana, an organization dedicated to ocean conservation. In the past, the direct-to-consumer brand has funded beach cleanups, helped install solar panels to power the on-campus apartments at its Chinese factory and started a wellness initiative at its Los Angeles factory.


Nobull Black Friday sneakers
Nobull’s Wild Trainer.
CREDIT: Nobull

Since 2015, CrossFit-favorite Nobull has eschewed Black Friday sales in favor of releasing a limited-edition all-black trainer. For the first two years, the popularity of the style blew past expectations, selling out in seconds one year and minutes the next. Since then, the company has beefed up inventory, and this year it is releasing two limited-edition styles — one with a black upper and a multicolored outsole and another with a multicolored upper and outsole — along with the all-black version. It is also offering fans the chance to win a free pair by signing up with their email address, a tactic that’s already garnered 350,000 entries … and 350,000 new emails.

Over the past five years, REI has turned its Black Friday closure into a global campaign to #OptOutside, shuttering stores and encouraging customers and employees to participate in outdoor activities rather than spending their day at the mall or in front of their computers. For 2019, it is raising the stakes with an Opt to Act campaign that includes a nationwide clean-up effort and an “action plan” for reducing waste throughout the next year.

The sustainably minded shoe brand, which uses recycled plastic water bottles and humanely sourced merino wool to craft its popular flats, sneakers and boots, is dropping new collections over Thanksgiving weekend featuring rich textures and colors geared toward holiday dressing. On the morning of Black Friday, it will release its Metallic Lattice collection, a shimmery metallic navy woven with neon thread, available in all five silhouettes.

Vagabond Shoemakers
The Swedish shoe brand is forgoing discounts this weekend, and instead it is donating 10% of its revenue to Humanium Metal by IM, an initiative that recycles metal from illegal firearms for use by other manufacturers.

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