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Lululemon Reveals Its First-Ever Women’s-Focused Footwear Collection — and Performance Is Key

Lululemon today launched its first-ever footwear collection — consisting of four different silhouettes that will be released through the course of the year.

The collection kicks off with the Blissfeel running shoe, which will be available for purchase across North America, Mainland China and the United Kingdom starting March 22. Two more training shoes, the Chargefeel and the Strongfeel, and a slide for recovery, the Restfeel, will also launch later in the year. Prices for the sneakers will range between $128 and $148, with the slide-on priced at $58.

“We’ve been pushing that philosophy of feel-first performance apparel since we began and it’s the core ethos of the brand,” said Chantelle Murnaghan, VP, of research and science for product innovation at Lululemon. “And this was just such a natural extension to that, because we’re consistently trying to drive new sensory experiences for our guest from head to toe.”

To launch the collection, Lululemon took a women-first approach, relying on data and footwear scans from women to create a shoe specifically designed for the female foot. The brand plans to launch a collection of men’s footwear in 2023.

“Creating an entire line of footwear for women-first is really a completely different approach,” said Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald. “It’s not women-also. It’s women-first.”

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.

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, as they focus on winning over the performance-focused consumer.

Lululemon’s shoes, while fashionable and colorful, also play in the performance footwear lane.

“These are not fashion shoes,” said Matt Powell, sports industry advisor at NPD. “These are really built for performance. I think that’s great. I think that’s exactly the right place to be.”

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