Done Deals: Puma Adds LGBTQIA+ Advocate Bethany Meyers as an Ambassador, New Balance Becomes the AS Roma Kit Supplier + More

Catch all the latest news about footwear industry acquisitions, and licensing and distribution agreements here. Got a deal in the works? Tell us at web@footwearnews.com.

Feb. 22, 2021: Puma has made another key addition to its ambassador roster. The German athletic giant announced today that it has partnered with fitness and lifestyle entrepreneur Bethany Meyers, who is also a renowned LGBTQIA+ advocate. The brand stated Meyers will be featured in its studio collection campaigns and activations to help share its body positive and self-love messaging. Additionally, Puma said Meyers will involved in its Reform platform, specifically focusing on the LGBTQIA+ Rights pillar, focusing on the removal of barriers that keep people from participating in sports and the culture of sport.

Feb. 16, 2021: New Balance announced that it will become the kit supplier for soccer club AS Roma starting with the 2021-22 season. According to the athletic brand, the club is the first in Serie A to wear New Balance apparel. Aside from a company statement, both New Balance and AS Roma confirmed the deal through an augmented reality filter game for Instagram that allowed fans to virtually experience the streets of Rome, at the same time discovering the New Balance sponsorship.

Feb. 16, 2021: The Professional Pickleball Association announced today that it has entered retail partnership with both Fila Pickleball and Fromuth Racquet Sports, with both becoming exclusive providers for the Pro Tour in 2021. Fila Pickleball, according to a statement, will become the official athletic apparel and footwear supplier of the tour, and Fromuth will launch a new web store for the Professional Pickleball Association (Thedinkpickleball.com).

“The PPA and Fromuth Racquet Sports share our commitment to growing the sport of pickleball,” Fila North America president Jennifer Estabrook said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we see an incredible opportunity to expand our footprint in the sport, and bring our specially-designed product offerings to pickleball players of all ages, levels, and abilities across the country.”

Feb. 4, 2021: California-based textile and tech company FutureStitch Inc. has signed a multiyear licensing and manufacturing deal with Toms. As part of the agreement, the two firms will design, develop, manufacture, market and distribute a state-of-the-art line of socks. “Our partnership demonstrates FutureStitch’s commitment to working with brands that share our values and guide today’s ideas into tomorrow’s technologies with scalable solutions at every stage of the product development cycle,” said FutureStitch co-founder and CEO Taylor Shupe. Toms CEO Magnus Wedhammar added that the partnership “enables us to leverage the power of FutureStitch’s product design capabilities and highest level of advanced manufacturing to build highly customized products to complement our unique shoe collection.”

Feb. 4, 2021: Camden Media Inc. has agreed to terms with SCL Footwear Group to produce men’s, women’s and children’s footwear for its Outdoor Life subsidiary. As part of the deal, SCL will create shoes across multiple categories, including hiking and trail boots as well as casual footwear and slippers, which are expected to launch in the U.S. and Canada — with distribution to mass, specialty, off-price and e-commerce channels — in the fall. “SCL Footwear Group is a premier manufacturer who appreciates the appeal and trust of the Outdoor Life brand,” said Camden Media head of licensing Richard Oren. “We’re excited to have found a partner who can help us continue to expand the brand and leverage the growing enthusiasm toward outdoor activities.”

Feb. 2, 2021: European comfort brand Tamaris, owned by German footwear company Wortmann Group, has partnered with Waltham, Mass.-based Earth Inc. to reintroduce the line in North America, starting with the fall ’21 collection. “Tamaris should be an instant win in the North American marketplace offering incredible value, design and built-in comfort with a fashion twist,” said SVP Lance DeShazo, who will lead the North American team. The brand debuted to buyers this week as part of the Micam Americas Digital event and will show by appointment at the Magic Orlando pop-up and Atlanta Shoe Market. It is targeting independent retailers, better department stores and full-price websites. Tamaris will also launch a dedicated U.S. e-commerce site in August.

Tamaris Red Leather Bootie
Tamaris red leather booties featuring its comfort technology.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Tamaris

Feb. 1, 2021: Wolverine World Wide Inc. announced that it has signed a new deal making Gardiners Footwear Specialists the sole distributor for Sperry products in the U.K. This follows a three-year partnership with Zone Two Limited. Andy Hewat, senior brand director for the Sperry and Keds labels, said the move is part of Wolverine’s effort to accelerate digital growth across its portfolio. “Gardiners’ market expertise and knowledge paired with their strong independent salesforce will allow us to amplify the Sperry brand in an important international market and increase traffic to our Sperry UK eCommerce channel.” In addition to Sperry, Gardiners distributes dozens of other footwear brands, with a particular expertise in workwear.

Jan. 25, 2021: Rocky Brands Inc., best known for its rugged work and military boots, has added a new portfolio of labels to its roster. The Nelsonville, Ohio-based company — parent to Rocky, Georgia Boot and Durango —  announced it will acquire the performance and lifestyle footwear business from Honeywell International Inc. for $230 million in cash and debt. The purchase includes The Original Muck Boot Company, as well as the Xtratuf, Servus, Neos and Ranger boot brands.

More Deals You Might’ve Missed Last Year

Dec. 3, 2020: New Balance announced it has signed a multiyear sponsorship deal with FC Tokyo, which will start with the 2021 season. In a statement, the Boston-based athletic powerhouse said it will work with the team to deliver designs — including a bespoke offering for all technical kits and training apparel — and limited-edition retail product. Also, NB said the FC Tokyo product will be sold through its retail stores. According to New Balance, the sponsorship will help improve its growth plans for soccer across the continent and further its pursuit of becoming a top 3 global athletic brand.

Dec. 2, 2020: Spyder has joined forces with Footwear Unlimited. Through the partnership, the Authentic Brands Group-owned brand will release its debut shoe collection, which fuses elements of performance, function and fashion for the outdoors, hiking, trail, après ski and everyday activities. According to ABG’s SVP of sports, street and active groups, Wesley Chu, the launch “expands the brand’s year-round essentials for active consumers and presents an opportunity to gain a larger market share.” Prices will range from $90 to $300, and the collection will be available at select retailers, stores and on Spyder.com next fall.

Banner image showing mountain sport, lifestyle Sponsored By Footwear Unlimited

A New Partnership Between Footwear Unlimited and Spyder Creates Limitless Opportunity

Footwear Unlimited will produce Mountain Sport, Everyday Active and Lifestyle footwear collections for Spyder.
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