New Lululemon and Tracksmith running shoes?

Last week, lululemon announced their launch of men’s footwear, including a new performance running shoe.

On the same day, Tracksmith introduced a soon to be revealed “Super Shoe” performance running model, The Eliot Racer.

Lululemon has a lot to learn from Tracksmith.

Let me tell you what I really think…

I’m so ambivalent about Lululemon’s footwear program. On the one hand I’m not at all surprised to see a brand that has become synonymous with over-hyped, over-priced, under-performing apparel come out with shoes that can only be described as “lowest common denominator” and would probably be mistaken for Sketchers if you removed the branding…

…But on the other hand it’s pretty obvious they’re throwing a ton of capital at the category, and this is the best they can come up with? It really makes no sense.

This is my surprise too. I don’t doubt that footwear could be a huge potential for them. They have the brand, the technical knowledge, the resources.

It’s just that the result is/was so mediocre. Say what you want about the clothing, but I do find it is well designed, well executed and has ownership of a good chunk of the market for a reason. Yes, it’s expensive, but the quality is good and the customer service and consistency of message to match is unparalleled. Go take a look at competitors like Alo and Vuori and you can really see the difference.

I just don’t know what happened in footwear. Did apparel people try to do footwear? I heard they hired a bunch of Nike and Adidas people and set up in Portland after the first collection so maybe they realized it was bad and are working to fix it? Maybe the better product is still in the pipeline.

I’ve actually be trying to reach out then for years, but never got anywhere. It’s a very closed off company (like Nike). Maybe that’s the problem.

FWIW Below is a skech I did in 2017 just for fun. I think Lululemon footwear could actually be pretty amazing if they took advantage of everything they know about fit, materials, details, fabric…

The original founder’s son (and by proxy the original founder) were clients of our studio years ago. At that point they were so far down the rabbit hole of drinking their own kool-aid it wouldn’t surprise me if they put out product like this - thinking anything they touched would automatically turn to gold - but it’s my impression the founders don’t have much to do with operations anymore after their many public foot-in-mouth insertions a few years ago. Who knows.

I think Chip just owns a lot of stock now but isn’t involved at all.