After a strong Q3 earnings report in November, Foot Locker announced it would be investing more in the business—and its first move is a strategic partnership with children’s footwear startup, Super Heroic, an organization focused on encouraging children to play.
On Thursday, Foot Locker announced a $3 million Series Seed II investment in the footwear startup.
“Today, we announce something that has been in the making since 1994,” Jason Mayden, CEO and co-founder of Super Heroic wrote in a blog post celebrating the investment. “A partnership between a boy who grew up to live his dream and an organization that played a fundamental role in helping to provide access, awareness and a genuinely unique connection to sport and youth culture for so many of us who grew up in the ’90s.”
Super Heroic has so far raised $10 million in venture capital, including the investment from Foot Locker, and one of its earliest investors was Los Angeles Laker great, Magic Johnson. The Palo Alto-based footwear company was founded in 2016 and Foot Locker will be the first brick-and-mortar retailer to shelve Super Heroic shoes.
Mayden is a former Jordan brand designer and footwear expert that says he started his journey out of a desire to help his own child with special needs. With that vision, he co-founded the company alongside Harshal Sisodia, a former Nike and Jordan digital brand director.
Mayden and Sisodia’s first shoe, the TMBLR V1, was “designed and built for how kids move and discover the world,” thanks to a lace-less fastening mechanism and specialized soles that are designed to grip at awkward angles to facilitate a child’s sometimes-erratic movement.
More than that, each box containing a Super Heroic shoe comes with a cape and stickers, which is all part of the fun.
“The core elements of Super Heroic are pretty simple, which is to encourage, enable and enhance play for every child in the world,” Mayden explains in a video expressing the brand’s vision. “It’s high quality, high performance, well-designed product. It’s fun. Everything we do is fun.”
Along with the investment, Foot Locker will assume a role as an official board observer and brand advisor to Super Heroic. The partnership will be lead by Foot Locker’s head of strategic investments, Vlad Estiverne, in a “hands-on” capacity. Additionally, Foot Locker will help lead growth initiatives for both product and content, like Super Heroic’s cartoon universe, Phase 5.
Richard Johnson, CEO and chairman of Foot Locker, said the partnership is a natural one, thanks to a shared desire to encourage play.
“With its robust talent and cutting-edge innovation, we look forward to working with Jason and the entire Super Heroic team to offer an exciting, fresh product to our customers, while realizing additional growth opportunities for the future. Giving kids the tools to be active is in our DNA,” Johnson said in a statement.