Hoka Opening Retail Sneaker Stores

Hoka Retail

Hoka will open a pair of retail stores on Wednesday (Sept. 1) on 5th Avenue in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood and on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, in a move that puts the sneaker brand’s money on brick-and-mortar locations as growth accelerators for parent company Deckers.

The company signed short-term leases in both locations, Hoka President Wendy Yang told CNBC, but is likely to look to extend the deals. “We want to learn more directly from the consumer … about what they like, what they want and how their decision process works, in a one-on-one way,” Yang said in the report. “The biggest thing is creating a conversation with consumers in-person and letting them experience the benefits [of Hoka] before purchasing.”

Both Hoka shops will feature 3D foot-scanning devices to help with proper sizing and lockers to allow customers to store their belongings while they take the shoes they’re trying on for a test run.

Hoka’s revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, through June 30, was up 95 percent to $213.1 million, from $109 million at the same time in 2020. This was the first time Hoka’s sales were higher than that of sister brand Ugg.

“Five or six years ago, the only people buying Hoka were the runners that were in the know,” Yang told CNBC. “They were the early adopters that were trying this new, kind of crazy shoe. But that’s not the case now.”

Related: Foot Locker Cashes in on Supply Constraints

Other footwear brands might see Hoka’s move into standalone retail stores as threats to their market shares.

Foot Locker Inc. benefited during the quarter that ended July 31 from strong demand and relatively low supplies of products, meaning they didn’t have to impart heavy discounts to sell high levels of athletic shoes and apparel.

Foot Locker reported net income of $430 million, or $4.09 a share, on $2.28 billion revenue for the quarter ending July 31, compared with net income of $45 million, or 43 cents a share, on $2.08 billion revenue for the same time a year earlier.

But Foot Locker isn’t slowing down. The company is buying Japanese sneaker and streetwear retailer Atmos for $360 million and California-based athletic retailer WSS for $750 million.