Formula 1 teams are no longer just motorsports outfits; they are full-fledged luxury brands… McLaren, one of the sport’s most iconic teams, has now entered the sneaker world with a high-octane collaboration. The legendary British F1 team has collaborated with Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL), a Los Angeles-based performance footwear brand, on the HySpeed, a stylish all-purpose trainer.
The colorways and swoopy angles of the shoe recall McLaren’s exotic road cars, but there’s also F1 and supercar-inspired tech in the sneakers. They have a carbon fiber shank, nitrogen-infused soles, and 3-piece cushion heel padding inspired by McLaren’s Senna hypercar seats.
They’re also exorbitantly priced, much like a McLaren car. They are APL’s most expensive sneakers to date, costing AU$747… It’s no surprise they’re dubbed “the pinnacle of luxury performance.”
In comparison, a pair of Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT percent – the shoes that controversially helped Eliud Kipchoge break the two-hour marathon barrier in 2019 – will cost you ‘only’ AU$370 (i.e. less than half the price of the HySpeeds). This collaboration is the latest in a long line of collaborations between McLaren and luxury brands. McLaren has long collaborated on exclusive models with ultra-high-end watchmaker Richard Mille, and last year collaborated on a unique (and similarly pricey) clothing capsule collection with cult luxury fashion label Rhude.
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“Whether it’s sunglasses, sneakers, or streetwear, collaborative licensing relationships are absolutely what we’re trying to do… [we want to] stay culturally relevant,” McLaren Chief Marketing Officer Gareth Dunsmore tells Bloomberg.
McLaren isn’t the only F1 team that uses fashion to attract new fans. Ferrari, for example, launched its own high-end clothing brand last year. Hell, AlphaTauri (Red Bull’s junior team, formerly Toro Rosso) is a clothing line.
All of this points to the growing reality that in modern Formula One – a sport defined by the blockbuster success of Netflix’s Drive To Survive and increasingly popular among young people – competition isn’t just on the track…
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