Connect with us

Hoka, Shanghai

PORTFOLIO: Its new locations are “not just about running”




AS A CATEGORY, THERE’S a lot of competition in running shoes and any brand wishing to make a direct-to-consumer appeal will want to have a presence on the high street or in malls.

With this in mind, Hoka (Goleta, Calif.), the training and running shoe brand that is a subsidiary of Deckers, has been opening stores in China, a major market for any label looking to be successful.

Similar to the Nanjing Road location (shown below), the Hoka store at Shanghai’s Kerry Centre mall boasts a flexible merchandising system.

Similar to the Nanjing Road location (shown above), the Hoka store at Shanghai’s Kerry Centre mall boasts a flexible merchandising system.

Hoka turned to U.K. design consultancy Green Room Design (Birmingham, U.K.) to create the blueprint for its initial foray into permanent direct-to-consumer retailing. Additionally, as Creative Director Andy Turnbull, says: “Running as an exercise has taken off steeply in China since about 2017, so they [Hoka/Deckers] felt it was the right thing to do.”

The first stores launched in Shanghai in the autumn of 2021, one of the city’s high-profile shopping streets, Nanjing Road, and the other in the Kerry Centre mall. At 2000 square feet, the Nanjing Road store was a flagship for the brand, according to Turnbull, who notes that as part of the Hoka project, Green Room worked on all format sizes, working from the Nanjing Road template.

“The [Nanjing Road] store’s pretty well-enabled. The merchandising system is 100 percent flexible. It’s not just ‘run’ or ‘off-road.’ None of it is done by gender, which makes it more inclusive,” says Turnbull.


To this flexibility can be added kit lockers, a hydration station and an eagle from the French Alps on the ceiling (prior to its acquisition by Deckers, Hoka originated in France). The lockers are important as this is a store in which test-driving the merchandise is a central part of the shopping experience.

Practically, this means that the Hoka stores are “not just about running,” as Turnbull notes, adding, “It’s about walking or people who are on their feet for a large part of the time, rather than running up and down mountains all day.”

Running Shoe Brand Trots Out a Flexible Store Design

The store took six months to shape, from briefing to its doors opening, including determining the form of the different formats that have been used. This is rapid and as Turnbull explains, “It helped because it was China, and everything gets done quicker in China.”

A total of nine Hoka stores have been opened across the East Asian region to date: five in China, a store each for the Philippines and Korea, and two in Japan. Given that the Shanghai stores only opened relatively recently, this shows that the Deckers/Hoka team in this part of the world mean business. The brand also has Europe and the U.S. (where it has previously traded from pop-ups) very much in its sights.

The numbers so far may sound like a drop in the ocean when set against the estates of, say, Nike and Adidas, but it is fair to remark that Hoka has hit the ground running and looks set to continue doing so.

📷: Courtesy of Hoka, China




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

Promoted Headlines





Most Popular