McLaren is launching into sneakers for the first time as the British luxury carmaker seeks to reach more consumers through fashion and streetwear partnerships.
The automaker worked with footwear brand Athletic Propulsion Labs for its footwear debut. The limited-edition shoes, called HySpeed, are racing trainers in five colors infused with design cues from McLaren’s supercars like its seats and aerodynamics, with a carbon fiber plate and nitrogen-infused cushioning. Executives said the project started from scratch and had been in development for two years.
At $450, the line is APL’s most expensive to date and will be sold at its Los Angeles store and at retailers including luxury online boutique Net-A-Porter, Italian Luisa Via Roma, the Pedder Group from Hong Kong and Level Shoes from the United Arab Emirates. .
The HySpeed is McLaren’s latest fashion move to sell apparel and accessories that rock the supercar brand. The company has previously partnered with designer brands such as Belstaff and Rhude for clothing collections and sells eyewear with the sustainable brand SunGod.
“Collaborative licensing relationships are absolutely what we try to do, whether it’s sunglasses, sneakers or streetwear,” said Gareth Dunsmore, McLaren’s chief marketing officer. The effort is to “ensure that we remain culturally relevant,” he said.
McLaren is going through a tough time, with demand for its supercars lagging due to the pandemic and delays hampering the release of its latest model, the Artura. Last month, the company said it raised $150 million from shareholders as cash dwindled. Its shareholders include investment firm Ares Management Corp., Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
At the same time, the McLaren name is finding new fans in the vital US market through its Formula 1 team, as the sport gains viewership in North America with more local racing and a hit show from Netflix Inc. which highlights McLaren’s racing drivers and executives. In July, the team signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with American footwear brand K-Swiss, with products expected to hit stores next year.
APL, a celebrity favorite that has attracted stars like Lady Gaga and Chrissy Teigen, rarely does collaborations, but has worked with sportswear giant Lululemon Inc. on performance shoes before. The executives have said they plan to extend their deal with McLaren.
“We have a lot of things planned for the future with them,” said APL co-founder Ryan Goldston. “It’s a dream come true for us.”