Lululemon is going from the road to the trail. While announcing a six-day ultramarathon dubbed Further for March 2024 with a range of Lululemon athletes, the brand also released its first running shoe built to handle the trail environment, the Blissfeel Trail, and said it will work with the ultramarathoners to continue pushing forward in women’s-specific running footwear.
Lululemon first entered footwear in March 2022, launching three ranges of sneakers. While two, the Strongfeel and Chargefeel, are designed with a focus on gym environments, the Blissfeel took on the running space. Then in March 2023 came the Blissfeel 2. Now, though, the Bissfeel Trail releases, meant as a “road-to-trail” offering.
Sure, the Blissfeel Trail has the requisite outsole lugs designed to handle uneven terrain, a more reinforced upper for stability and a heel counter, but what female athletes really focus on was simply a fit designed for them.
“Being able to try the new trail shoe, it really fits my feet well,” Camille Herron, an Oklahoma-based ultrarunner who set a world record in March for running the farthest of any athlete—male or female—in 48 hours by covering 270.5 miles, tells me. “I’ve never experienced a women’s specific fit. It feels different, it feels comfortable. The first time I went on the trails with them, I was happy and comfortable.”
Herron cites both the space in the toebox and the grip and cushioning as items that really set the Blissfeel Trail apart. “I feel the difference in the Lululemon shoes because it is made for our feet,” she says. “I need to keep my feet happy and healthy. I feel so blessed they are making a women’s-specific shoe that elevates us. You feel that difference. It is all about the difference and comfort. You feel it with the clothes, now I am excited about footwear.”
Simon Atkins, Lululemon senior vice president for footwear, says having the opportunity to work with the group of women participating in Further—the women will also bolster research efforts into female runners—really gives his team an opportunity to learn in the footwear space. As they build performance models designed specifically for the female foot, the shoe’s lasts—the mold that determines the fit of the shoe—uses over 1 million scans of women’s feet to offer a better fit, such as considering a female’s foot being slightly narrower, having a different rise and a higher arch.
It will all lead to yet another new footwear option in 2024. “We are developing a new shoe and testing it to the extreme,” Atkins says. “It fits in the running performance category. We are investing into foam chemistry to get the most shock absorption and energy return.”
Atkins says that as a challenger brand in the space, Lululemon has focused on both feel and sensation in developing footwear, all while focusing on a female’s need. While development continues for additional running products, the new Blissfeel Trail, which launched in five colorways, was meant as a “versatile product” that expands the current range.
The midsole comes from the Blissfeel line, but the more rugged outsole has directional lugs designed to grip well in the heel, but still allow road-friendly toe-off. The TPU wrap on the toebox offers additional support and molded eyestays up the durability.
Montana Farrah-Seaton, an Australian-based ultrarunner, says comfort, durability and stability are the key needs in a trail shoe. “To have a narrow-fitting shoe made for females’ feet makes all the difference,” she tells me. “You feel connected to the ground.”
Working with the team in the future, she’s excited to have a voice in the process and “help create something that will help us and help other people.”
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