Lululemon Athletica Inc. is set to debut its inaugural shoe line soon.
In a quarterly conference call with analysts in December of 2020, CEO Calvin McDonald revealed plans for Lululemon to launch into footwear in the back half of 2021 and begin selling in early 2022.
“We’re excited to share our unique point of view and innovation in that category,” he said, but did not offer specifics about the product line.
With 2022 getting closer, certain details about the new footwear line are coming to light. Earlier this month, Lululemon was granted a design patent that gave a glimpse into what some of the pairs might look like.
The shoes in the patent appear to feature part of the Lululemon logo on the sole of the shoe.
“These patents are not indicative of the final design we’ll be bringing to market,” a Lululemon spokesperson told FN. “We are looking forward to sharing more details on our footwear collection in the coming months.”
Lululemon first said it would enter the footwear market in April 2019 at the company’s annual analyst day. McDonald said the team had been developing an in-house shoe range following the success of its collaboration with sneaker label APL, which launched in August 2017.
“We tested, and we learned a lot on footwear, and what we learned is: The guest resonates with us selling footwear,” McDonald said at the time. “We believe we’ve identified an opportunity that will be unique to us and unique within the marketplace.”
With footwear, the Vancouver, Canada-based athleisure brand enters a market of heavy competition: Sportswear giants Nike and Adidas have long commanded a large share of the market. However, smaller brands such as Allbirds, Brooks, and Hoka One One have increasingly taken share from legacy brands in recent months.
Still, Lululemon has plenty of resources to invest in the category. In its most recent Q2 earnings report, Lululemon highlighted growth in e-commerce, direct-to-consumer sales, international presence, and product innovation. Having already achieved its goal to double its e-commerce business in 2020, Lululemon has consistently soared past competitors in digital growth. Competitor Nike’s digital sales accounted for 35% of the company’s total business in its most recent earnings for Q4. Meanwhile, Lululemon’s e-commerce revenue was $597 million in Q2, or 41% of the total revenue for the quarter.
On the international front, Lululemon opened eight new stores outside of North America in Q2, with plans to open up to 40 more international stores this year.