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Brief Published: 7 Jan 2021

Innovative US Athletic Flagships

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On Running

Approximately 75% of Americans intend to work out more in 2021 than they did in 2020 (FYT, 2020) – a market that savvy retailers are accelerating with tech-smart, community-centric athletic store openings. We highlight the ones to know across the US.

  • On Running, New York City: The first global flagship from Swiss brand On Running reimagines gait analysis as a hands-off, tech-driven experience – reflecting strategies in Creating the Contactless Store. A 62ft screen occupies an entire wall in the 1,630 sq ft NoHo flagship. Sensors fitted above it analyse movement patterns when they detect a human figure and provide shoppers with the chance to run the entire length of the store to receive a full-body gait analysis.

    An algorithm matches foot strike, hip tilt and arm swing with one of 50,000 movement profiles to generate three show recommendations – an approach that reflects the brand’s emphasis on supporting an individual’s signature running style rather than correcting perceived form deficiencies (like flat feet or overpronation). Shoe collection is self-service, with all sizes stored in deep-set wall drawers opposite the screen. Driving home the low-touch angle, payments are taken directly by sales associates with tablets.
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On Running
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On Running
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On Running
  • Arc’teryx, NYC: Three new NYC stores from Canadian outdoor brand Arc’teryx, located on the Upper West Side, Bleecker Street and in the Flatiron District offer a limited selection of its bestselling gear. Referencing the brand’s rugged roots, shop interiors resemble mountain cabins while its key services include courier delivery, kerbside pickup and virtual fit consultations to accommodate Covid-19-era customer needs.

  • FP Movement, Boulder & Miami: FP Movement, the athleisure offshoot of US womenswear brand Free People, debuted new locations in Boulder (two-storey, 1,500 sq ft) and Miami (2,285 sq ft) in late 2020. In both, the focus is on services that facilitate holistic wellness routines, echoing themes surveyed in Retail’s Wellbeing 360°. Nutritional supplements sit alongside loungewear, performance workout gear and clean beauty brands. There’s also space for in-store movement classes, such as yoga and Pilates.
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Arc’teryx
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Arc’teryx
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FP Movement, US
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FP Movement, US
  • Nike Community Store, Los Angeles: As detailed in Leaning into Local, part of our Community + Commerce Spotlight Trend, Nike’s Watts community store in LA leans into art, activism and upskilling to connect with the primarily Black and Latinx working-class neighbourhood. The vast majority (85%) of staff live within a three-mile radius of the store, and a partnership with local art collective Love Watts produces a community zine showcasing employee profiles and Watts’ street art.

    Emphasising its athletic credentials, the shop also acts as a clubhouse for local youth sports groups, such as Street Soccer LA, Students Run LA and Mamba League, an eight-week youth basketball intensive.
  • Foot Locker, Los Angeles: In nearby Compton, US sneaker retailer Foot Locker also opened a community-centric ‘power flagship’. Akin to the Nike store, its staff live within a five-mile radius and local artists have designed murals for the space. The shop’s stock is similarly reflective of the locality, with megabrands adjacent to hyperlocal labels, such as Viva La Bonita.

See also Retail’s Spirit of Adventure.

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Nike, Watts
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Nike, Watts
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Foot Locker, Compton
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Foot Locker, Compton
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