Expanding from its successful niche in hydration products was a natural for Naked Sports Innovation — it was just a matter of when the time was right. That time is now and, according to co-president and co-founder Lindsay Dakota, designing shoes is something Naked has thought about for several years.
“As with the innovation of our other products we were waiting for the right time to create the shoe we wanted and continued along the same narrative as our hydration products.” Dakota says. “That is, to not only create something that hadn’t been done, but to also create a new level of performance.”
The result is the Naked T/r Trail Race, featuring laceless technology, a carbon fiber midsole plate, Linerloc non-slip insoles, Vibram outsoles and a knit cuff for ankle security. Naked teamed with performance footwear designer Danny Dance to create what it calls “the most advanced trail racing shoe ever.” MSRP is $289.99.
“We wanted a shoe that met the demands of the most difficult conditions encountered by athletes and runners,” explains Dakota, adding that they wanted a shoe that, once on, made runners forget they were wearing a shoe — not in a barefoot way, but in a way the made them trust the shoe was going to perform intuitively.
Another goal was to make a shoe where runners didn’t have to stop and re-tie them or be in danger of getting in the way of terrain, catching on roots or snagging on sharp rocks.
The interesting angle is that Naked designers turned to soccer shoe design for inspiration, since soccer player footwork and athleticism is unparalleled. They also knew that the design and construction couldn’t follow the same path as typical trail running shoes.
The Naked T/r ultimately performs as “a finely tuned race day weapon for both amateur and occasional trail runners who will benefit from knowing they have on the same shoes as elite trail runners.”
The marketing of the new shoe will align with the same message as all other products by Naked, points out Dakota. “We design extremely innovative products that solve many issues that most have not addressed yet and we provide gear that allows you to get outdoors and not have to think about your gear,” he says.
“We feel the market currently is the perfect time for Naked to launch shoes,” he says, adding that “anytime is a good time for us because what we create is new and does not follow the same path as other brand’s offerings.”
He stresses that the time felt right for Naked to expand into trail footwear because, in his words, “with the dearth of innovation in the trail segment, Naked is poised to continue leading by innovation.”
Of course, the marriage of idea with material and construction has to be right, he adds. “Now is that time and the shoe now becomes an integral segment of the whole Naked story.”
Naked will continue a similar distribution strategy as its existing hydration product lines, with the footwear being a part of its wholesale and global distribution platform as well as the direct relationship with its select specialty retail partners.
Headed into 2023 Naked plans to continue building out its product lines by sharing the ideas of its premium lines with newly expanded product. Hydration will continue to be the core category, while footwear will expand and go into other disciplines. Apparel is also on the drawing board.
“Beyond that we have several amazing initiatives we will continue to explore in both performance and lifestyle,” Dakota promises.