In the competitive retail category of athletic footwear, sneaker brand Hoka has seen sales soar thanks to its distinctive (and polarizing) chunky silhouette and clever marketing. Originally created in 2009 when two French mountain runners designed a shoe that would let them run downhill faster, the sneaker has had an undeniable influence, with countless copycats across the industry. Parent company Deckers Outdoor Corp.—which owns the similarly divisive UGG and Teva—grew sales 90% to $352 million in the third quarter of last year, mainly among 18-to-34-year-olds. CEO Dave Powers credited the brand’s first-ever global campaign—“Fly Human Fly,” a 60-second spot featuring runners sprinting through a color-shifting cityscape—as a “key catalyst” for brand recognition, and recently furthered Hoka’s reach by introducing children’s sizes.
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