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Why Foot Locker Invited Sneakerheads to a Virtual Cookout

With a new crossover event, Foot Locker hoped to find common ground between the fervently passionate fandoms of foodies and footwear fanatics.

Foot Locker, in partnership with New York food review outlet The Infatuation, kicked off the hottest season of the year with its virtual “Summer Sizzle” cookout, catering to athletes, chefs and sneakerheads alike on June 29.

The idea for the virtual cookout was spurred on by the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, which has limited the number of real-life BBQs on consumers’ social calendars.

“Summer has always been the season to unwind and enjoy time with family and friends, and this year that looks a lot different,” Foot Locker vice president of marketing Richard McLeod said. “Whether you’re gathering virtually or in-person, we can still come together and celebrate the things we enjoy about summer.”

Foot Locker put together a stacked roster of celebrities and athletes for the inaugural Summer Sizzle. Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson was slated to join attendees at the cookout, along with Nike master trainer Kirsty Godso and JJ Johnson, a chef residing in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.

The Infatuation co-founder Andrew Steinthal, and self-described “chief sneaker enthusiast,” hosted the event.

Summer Sizzle featured an assortment of sneakers from Adidas, Jordan, Nike and others, as well as a collection of apparel and accessories for men, women and kids.

Attendees were able to enter a sweepstakes to win a pair of Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Tie Dye” sneakers and participate in a live question and answer session online.

With this move, Foot Locker is joining its peers in the performance apparel world in learning to cater to consumers who have adapted to the pandemic’s new normal.

As more consumers gravitate toward indoor and socially-distanced activity and exercise, retailers with a large brick-and-mortar presence like Foot Locker will need to adapt.

Brands of all kinds have taken thoughtful approaches to staying connected with their communities. In the pandemic’s early days, Levi’s hosted a concert series on Instagram Live while sustainable luxury label Stella McCartney hosted a number of creatives on a newly launched Stellavision channel, also on the Facebook-owned platform.