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Birkenstock x Sport

Birkenstock was is in the news today as it finished its first quarter as a publicly traded company. After 250 years, Birkenstock launched their IPO on October 11 and the stock price opened at $41 per share. Today it closed at around $43 down 8% after missing its initial revenue targets. All signs still point to growth in 2024 for the German footwear company, but for today they are riding the rollercoaster of being a publicly traded company and needing to meet investors expectations.

As the Q1 results came in, a few articles came rolling through my feed about Birkenstock looking to capitalize on the Sports world, particularly the Running market. Is Birkenstock going to get in the Running Footwear business??? Nope - - it's all about RECOVERY. Using the slogan RUN, BIRKENSTOCK, REPEAT the company is banking that their iconic footbed will make them a player in Running Specialty doors and beyond.

There are a couple foundational concepts to consider here as a Sports Business class. One is DISTRIBUTION. If Birkenstock can unlock new distribution in the Running Specialty space it will increase marketplace presence and introduce new consumers to their product. Another is POSITIONING. Aligning Birkenstock with recovery for athletes now opens a new consumer purpose. Why am I buying this sandal? "They fit my personal style and they are great for recovery between workouts, after practice or games, and just anytime off the court, field or pitch."

This shift in mindset is providing them new opportunities to grow their business and interact with consumers in new ways. If the foray into Running Specialty is successful, what is next? Birkenstock branding could quickly appear on the perimeter boards of a Premier League match as the official Recovery Footwear Supplier of a club like Crystal Palace, whose kit supplier Macron is strictly in the apparel game.

What do you think? Is this a real opportunity? Is it a stretch? Are you like me sitting here as a semi-retired athlete who on occasion would rock 'Birks' to the pitch who is now feeling fully vindicated that it wasn't just a style move??? Are there other brands (think Uggs, Crocs, etc) that could benefit by embracing and working with Sport to grow their reach?

The Gap, JCrew, Polo, LV, etc have all leaned into Sport x Fashion.

Pick a Brand. Put yourself in a leadership role and create the business plan for why Sports is the next big incremental growth opportunity for your company. Go.

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