A Fast-Growing Shoe Company Is Taking On Big Brands Like Nike And Adidas

Some high-profile fans are already rocking these kicks in public. A Fast-Growing Shoe Company Is Taking On Big Brands Like Nike And Adidas Giphy

News that is entertaining to read

Subscribe for free to get more stories like this directly to your inbox

It might not have the recognizable “swoosh” or three stripes of its more established rivals, but Hoka has set its sights on the big guys and is rapidly gaining ground with its unique take on casual footwear.

A billion-dollar gamble

Hoka was established in 2009 by a pair of mountain runners in the French Alps who were looking for comfortable shoes that could stand up to heavy use in a wide range of conditions.

When former marathon champion Mark Plaatjes got his hands on a pair, he was sold — and ended up purchasing 770 pairs to stock the shelves of a store he owned. From there, a variety of athletes took notice … as did a company called Deckers Brands.

The company, which included shoe brands Ugg and Teva in its portfolio at the time, bought Hoka in 2012 and set a lofty goal of turning it into a billion-dollar property. It achieved that goal a decade later, and Hoka has continued to expand since then.

What makes it special

Hoka means “to soar or fly” in Maori, and enthusiasts say that’s what it feels like when they wear a pair. Specifically, there are a few ways that Hoka has sought to set itself apart from the crowd.

  • Comfort: A trademark midsole adds an extra layer of cushioning
  • Performance: It’s curved design, known as the “meta-rocker,” propels runners forward
  • Appearance: Bright colors and bold designs demand attention

And it doesn’t hurt that some prominent figures have been seen sporting a pair — from President Joe Biden to pop star Britney Spears. Athletes, models, and entertainers like Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon have brought attention to the brand, and its parent company is reaping the benefits.

Hoka makes up about 40% of Deckers Brands’ earnings, sending stock prices up 78% last year.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee May 4th, 2024
Share this story: