So, apparently APL has just launched a collaboration with F45.
If that makes no sense, then let me explain. F45 Training is an Australian-born fitness phenomenon; a fast, intense but apparently fun circuit-based training method specialising in high-intensity group workouts that deliver rapid results.
A video on APL’s website shows groups of young women in baseball caps and guys with beards and tatts and sweat working out furiously and fist-pumping to loud music, which is the literally the opposite to my idea of fun. But it’s a hugely popular franchise business with 1300 sold across 36 countries in just three years, adored by both celebrities and athletes.
F45 has just launched its first sneaker collaboration with Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL), a company that specialises in luxury, high-performance sneakers, founded in the US by identical twins Adam and Ryan Goldston.
The brand became known when it created a new category of performance-enhancing basketball shoes with compression springs that were apparently banned by the NBA for creating an unfair advantage – a marketing concept the brothers could have only dreamed of, and “the best thing ever when it happened”, admits Adam.
The global sneaker market is huge and hype-filled, dominated by the major players like Nike, ASICS and Adidas, but increasingly infiltrated by luxury fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga, who offer oversized, slightly clownish, multi-coloured high-tops and trainers that retail for more than $US1000 ($1400).
Kanye West’s Yeezy collaboration with Adidas has been a massive success, each collection selling out immediately in stores, with sought-after styles being traded online for enormous sums.
The word is that Yeezys are far easier to come by lately – could be that there is a greater supply, could be that it has finally dawned on everyone after Kanye’s rant in the Oval Office that he’s actually a d—head.
But the very concept of a high-performance shoe that is both comfortable and beautiful is extremely tantalising. But in my experience, luxury fashion houses can’t always deliver on the technology level – they look like trainers, they feel like bricks.
Although, APL began with a basketball shoe, “our long-term vision for our brand was always to sit at the intersection of where luxury and performance meet”, says Adam.
“There are no big logos, we let the design, the materials and the technology tell the story”.
The three styles in the F45 /APL collection are sleek and feather-light, with a nifty stretch-mesh upper that feels like a comfy space sock.
These are shoes so comfortable you could sleep in them, which is increasingly a determining factor for me when it comes to choosing any fashion item whatsoever.
Where once I looked at people who collected sneakers as aesthetically challenged, I have come to realise that luxury/performance is probably the only category that is worth paying big money for.
There’ll be far less expenditure on the podiatrist.