A few days ago, this year’s UTMB, the most grueling of all ultra-marathons, came to its end. Crossing the finish line is almost impossible as it’s like running four marathons back to back while ascending and descending Everest (32,940 ft, 10,040 meters, to be precise)...Impossible! The winner, however, finished in less than 20 hours, which is truly unbelievable! I’m telling you!
Loved this deep dive. Hoka has been a fascinating brand to watch so great to peel back the curtain on their strategy.
As always, this was a great way to absorb so many interesting messages.
I first tripped over Hoka when buying arch-support footwear for my nephew post-Covid in Hanover NH at a tiny local running store. I had never heard of the brand, but the sales-person expounded the history of the brand, and the research and production of the sole.
Footlocker had a CEO change. They restructured their business which led to moving to other brands and getting away somewhat with less Adidas and Nike (control promotion and money back to each). We will wait to see if this strategy works for Footlocker. Similar strategy was applied by the CEO at a cosmetic company which took a couple of years to turn around
I was hoping for a Gad opinionated take on Hoka vs ON Running in here but maybe next time… Hoka discloses their wholesale margins in their financial filings and last year was ~31% (without the burden of corporate overhead) but overall much better than the Nike $5 you mention. And their direct to consumer sales overall margins are undisclosed but should be even higher margin than that. Really impressive for a footwear brand. I think Nike and Adidas pulling back from mainstream wholesale in the US (like FootLocker) made room for these emerging brands to get the space and reach a more mainstream consumer while holding onto their athletic performance roots. Jim moved to France for two years to finally become the first American male to win UTMB! Enjoyed the article as always.