Hey ladies – have you ever arrived at your neighbourhood yoga studio and thought, I just need something between my tender tootsies and this nasty studio floor?
Nike, Inc has the answer for you: the Nike Studio Wrap, the next step in “yoga footwear.” Why would we need appropriate footwear for yoga? Nike explains:
First, uncovered feet are not always allowed in gyms and studios for hygienic purposes. Also, the bare foot can sometimes slip right in the midst of the most Zen moments. Socks slip too, and while socks with sticky grip on the bottom seem like the obvious solution, they can also scrunch up, move around and aren’t always the most flattering to walk around in.
The Portland Business Journal identified the real reason behind the new product. In the competitive yoga apparel market, lululemon maintains its tight grip on the upscale demographic. Nike’s line of yoga clothing still lags far behind, even though their pants retail for an average of $70 each instead of $100. The Nike Studio Wrap will retail for $110.
While “yoga footwear” may seem like a new and potentially lucrative niche product, Nike’s innovation isn’t actually ahead of the game. Adidas introduced a yoga shoe at least four years ago. Their product has evolved from a complicated strappy design (seen here on former ambassador Rainbeau Mars, circa 2009):
… to a more simple ballet flat:
Is the world big enough for two brands of yoga footware? Will upscale yoga consumers prefer to bind their feet in elastic straps or slip on ballet flats for the long commute from change room to studio space? Only time will tell.