Hoka shifts toward lifestyle with urban redesigns of performance footwear

Hoka One One is at a crossroads. Owned by Ugg parent company Deckers since 2013, the little trail running brand founded in Annecy, France by former Saloman executives Jean Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud in 2009 has transformed into a real powerhouse over the last few seasons, achieving sales of $571 million in the fiscal year ended May 2021, up 62% from the previous 12-month period.

Performance footwear is still the core of the brand’s business, a fact reflected by the upcoming launch of Hoka’s Rincon 3 on August 1, with marketing efforts spotlighting the shoe’s cushioning properties and lightweight design. But the brand is also looking for new growth levers. For this reason, the development of a relevant apparel offering consistent with the label’s wider proposition has seemed like a real possibility since its first foray into the category in mid-2020.

And indeed, the brand recently recruited its first senior director of apparel, Evie Moe, whose previous experience notably includes a six-year stint at Perry Ellis. However, Hoka has also noted that the running and trail running trends are proving popular in the fashion footwear category. This has led the brand, whose chunky-soled shoes feature a distinctive silhouette, to test out its potential in urban footwear.