From a classic celebrating a major milestone to a sneaker stalwart reinventing ways to shop, industry leaders capture this week’s footwear headlines.
Wolverine’s 1000 Mile Boot Ages Gracefully
The Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot is one of those lucky soles that get better with age. The U.S.-made classic lace-up boot is celebrating its 100th anniversary—a rarity in today’s fast fashion obsessed culture—with a special Centennial Edition featuring upgraded genuine American bison leather from Horween Leather Company and its hallmark Goodyear welt construction and stacked leather outsole.
On Tuesday, the company feted the shoe and the one-year anniversary of its New York City store with an in-store bash chock-full of details that hark back to Wolverine’s storied past. In preparing for the benchmark year, Wolverine delved into its archives. Marketing manager Lauren Poole said, “We continue to uncover old advertising for the 1000 Mile Boot from the 1920s, 30s and 40s that highlight its popularity in those decades.”
A first of its kind, the original 1000 Mile Boot debuted in 1914 with a shell horsehide. Dubbed “soft as buckskin,” but “wears like iron,” the boot became a signature work product for Wolverine and was one of the first shoes to be nationally advertised in the U.S. Today the likes of Dylan McDermott, Jonah Hill and The Roots wear the boot, which ditched the horsehide in 2009 for premium Horween leather.
Poole noted, “The boots are, and have always been, made with durable, long-lasting materials, and gain more character as they age and become more and more comfortable.” She added, “The 1000 Mile Boot also has an incredibly timeless look, which has made the pattern relevant throughout the last 100 years, and it has become an iconic part of the Wolverine Brand.”
Timberland Eyes Growth Opportunities
VF Corp.-owned Timberland revealed ambitious plans to grow revenue to $3.1 billion by 2019, more than 82 percent higher than the $1.7 billion the company expects to sell in 2014. Driving that growth is a plan to increase revenue in the Americas by 14 percent—or $1.4 billion—over the next five years. The plan calls for wholesale revenue to grow $825 million to $2 billion and direct-to-consumer business to increase $570 million to $1.1 billion. Timberland’s ecommerce is expected to increase 31 percent annually.
The company outlined the goals during an investor meeting on Wednesday. To help edge the expansion along, Timberland is betting on newness to emerge from Timberland’s Stratham, N.H headquarters, the site of VF’s footwear innovation center.
Timberland also announced plans to open 130 stores across all geographic regions by 2019, which would bring the brand’s store total from 230 today to 360.
Foot Locker and Adidas to Open Interactive Shops
Foot Locker may start to look more like an Apple store in the near future. Over the next year, the sneaker retailer and Adidas will begin to roll out “The a Standard,” interactive “stores within stores” poised to step up the shoe-shopping experience with a technology-infused atmosphere. The project will include touch screens showcasing detailed product information, customer reviews, 3D images and performance features of the most premium Adidas styles offered in Foot Locker stores and online.
Stacy Cunningham, executive vice president of marketing for Foot Locker, said, “Designing a dedicated section in our store with Adidas provides us a great opportunity to connect further with our customers by offering an elevated product assortment in an engaging and interactive environment with The a Standard.”
Adidas began to implement touch screens into its own stores in 2012. Sales jumped 500 percent in just two weeks for digitally advertised cleats. Foot Locker hopes to repeat that success. The technology will also collect analytic data, like most-popular items, enabling the store to better manage its inventory.
Foot Locker plans to add The a Standard in 28 stores in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.