Lululemon just dropped its first sneaker collaboration

Lululemon's sneaker collaboration with APL.
Source: Lululemon
Lululemon's sneaker collaboration with APL.

Lululemon was well ahead of the activewear curve when it first launched in 1998, selling leggings and hoodies that customers wanted to wear for everyday life years before athleisure became the norm. Now the $44 billion category is crowded and intensely competitive, which is why the company is trying something new with its first-ever sneaker collaboration, designed in partnership with California-based Athletic Propulsion Labs.

The three-style collection riffs on two of APL's best-selling sneakers, the Techloom and the Ascend, but features colors that will be exclusive to Lululemon: cinder rose (an all-over dusty pink), black ombré (a black-to-white gradient), and black all-reflective (a black knit that uses reflective yarn).

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The co-designed shoes are available starting today and mark the next stage in a collaboration that was first reported in August, when Lululemon began selling APL sneakers in 23 of its stores. With the latest launch, the company will expand its offerings and roll out the footwear in more locations.

This comes on the heels of another collaboration aimed at young, style-conscious customers (or "guests," to use Lulu parlance) with wellness star Taryn Toomey. Earlier this year, following waning sales growth, Lululemon invested in a trendy cycling company and hired Vice to makes its ads.

"We are interested in learning and growing with like-minded brands and people who are up to interesting things," Lululemon executive vice president Celeste Burgoyne told Racked. "APL shares Lululemon's brand values of providing a technical product that elevates the health and wellness of all." Plus, with the sneaker market booming, it gives shoppers one more reason to pick them over the competition.