Lululemon Taps Adidas, Nike Veterans for Key Footwear Roles as Brand’s New Shoe Biz Threatens Industry Giants

Just a few weeks after launching its inaugural shoe line, Lululemon has made additional investments in its footwear and creative team.

The company on Tuesday announced the appointments of Simon Atkins to the role of SVP of footwear and Phil Dickinson to the role of SVP and global creative director. Both executives will report to Sun Choe, the company’s chief product officer.

The hiring announcement comes as Lululemon rolls out its first-ever footwear collection, which consists of four different silhouettes that will be released through the course of the year. The collection launched on March 22 which the debut of the Blissfeel running shoe. Two more training shoes, the Chargefeel and the Strongfeel, and a slide for recovery, the Restfeel, will also launch later in the year.

“As we continue to build upon our strength in bringing product innovation and technical credibility to our guests in head-to-toe solutions, we’re excited to bolster our product leadership team with the appointments of Simon Atkins and Phil Dickinson,” said Choe. “Both leaders bring a deep understanding of guest needs and a global mindset that will enable the brand to accelerate and scale our growth around the world.”

Phil Dickinson
Phil Dickinson joins Lululemon as SVP global creative director
CREDIT: Lululemon

Atkins joins Lululemon after a 25-year stint at Adidas, where he most recently served as SVP and GM of global basketball and U.S. sports. Dickinson spent 15 years at Nike prior to starting his own creative agency, Some Ideas, in 2013. He joins Lululemon in the newly created global creative director role, where he will help shape the brand’s strategy for product and creative direction.

Last week, Lululemon announced that it passed $6 billion in annual revenues for the first time last year. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based athleisure brand reported fourth-quarter net revenues of $2.1 billion, an increase of 22% from the same period last year. Lululemon also reported that its direct-to-consumer net revenue increased 22% in fiscal 2022, with company operated store net revenue increasing 70%.

Though Lululemon’s footwear line is still new, industry experts have high hopes that the products will challenge industry giants like Nike and Hoka One One. According to a report from Matt Powell, NDP’s VP and senior industry advisor for sports, strong loyalty to the Lululemon’s apparel will likely carry over to footwear and the category has the “potential to be another market game changer.”

“Driven by the brand’s higher price-point compared to its competitors, women who bought Lululemon activewear spent 30% of their total activewear purchases there, in the 12 months ending January 2022 — capturing more of their customers’ spending on activewear compared to brands including Fabletics, Under Armour, and Adidas, which each capture less than 10% of their customers’ activewear purchases,” Powell wrote in the report. “I expect that the strong loyalty to Lululemon apparel will likely carry over to footwear.”

Lululemon’s first footwear collection has already made waves, thanks to its women-first approach that aims to create a shoe specifically designed for the female foot.

“Lululemon’s brand strength is unparalleled and it’s an incredible time to join its best-in-class Product team,” said Atkins. “I’m excited to be part of Lululemon’s continued growth story, and build on the positive response the brand has already received in launching its footwear offering.”

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