Can Lululemon’s line of shoes pose a real threat to Nike and Adidas?

When you think of sneakers, the mind immediately jumps to brands like Nike (NKE) – Get the Class B report from NIKE, Inc.puma (PUMA) and Adidas (ADDDF) – the retail giants have more or less dominated the athletic shoe giant for decades.

Other brands making athletic shoes are either smaller and more specialized or one or two products in a larger clothing collection. This, however, does not stop Lululemon (LULU) – Get the Lululemon Athletica Inc reportis trying to take some of that market cap with its new shoe line.

Lululemon getting into shoes now?

After years of selling leggings, hoodies and sports bras, the sportswear company announced the launch of its first running shoe earlier this week.

Known as Blissfeel, the women’s shoe will retail for $148 in stores across North America, China and the UK starting March 2.

Other styles of sneakers, training shoes and pool slides known as Chargefeel, Strongfeel and Restfeel will be unveiled in the coming months, while a connection of men’s shoes will arrive next year.

While Lululemon has already experimented with a few very limited edition shoe collections, the Blissfeel is the first official shoe to be sold as part of the brand’s permanent offer.

“We enter the footwear category the same way we built our apparel business – with products designed to address unmet needs, designed for women first,” said Lululemon CEO Calvin. McDonald’s, in a statement.

As the pandemic has caused many to abandon business casual for good in favor of sportier and more comfortable clothing, sales of sneakers have also soared.

Lululemon Lead JS Shoe Line
Lululemon Lead JS Shoe Line

The global athletic footwear market is expected to grow from $70 billion in 2020 to $102 billion in 2025.

This, in turn, means there is room for more variety in the market as the consumer tries out new ranges and strays slightly from the bigger names. Nike is now valued at $30.44 billion, down about $4 billion from 2020. Adidas was valued at US$14.3 billion in 2021 from $16.5 billion in 2020.

Lululemon, of course, is not the David of the Goliath story. While the Vancouver-based company started out as a local West Coast business, it now has nearly 500 stores on four continents and was worth $41.45 billion as of March 2022.

As Lululemon already competes with Nike and Adidas for market share in the workout wear and athletic recreation categories, a line of shoes will only raise the bar.

“The shoe is the natural next step for us to extend and apply our long history of innovation in fit, feel and performance, and this represents an exciting time for our brand,” McDonald said.

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