McLaren steers from supercars to shoes with $450 launch

Its HySpeed limited-edition trainer will be available in the UAE — following two years of designing

McLaren's first foray into the world of 'sneakerheads' is coming to The Dubai Mall. Photo: Athletic Propulsion Labs
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McLaren is taking its first steps into the trainer business.

The luxury British carmaker is looking to reach more consumers through fashion and streetwear and has partnered with Athletic Propulsion Labs for its footwear debut.

The limited-edition line, called HySpeed, are running trainers in five colours infused with design elements from McLaren’s supercars like its seats and aerodynamics, with a carbon fibre plate and nitrogen-infused cushioning. Executives said the project started from scratch and has been in development for two years.

At $450, the line is the sport brand's most expensive to date and will be sold at Level Shoes in The Dubai Mall, as well as at stores in Los Angeles, Rome and Hong Kong.

The HySpeed is McLaren’s latest move in fashion, having previously linked up with labels including Belstaff, Rhude and SunGod.

“Collaborative licensing relationships are absolutely what we’re trying to do, whether it’s sunglasses, sneakers or streetwear,” McLaren chief marketing officer Gareth Dunsmore said. The push is about “making sure that we stay culturally relevant", he said.

McLaren is going through a rough patch, with demand for its supercars lagging due to the pandemic and delays hampering the release of its latest model, the Artura. Last month, the company said it raised $150 million from shareholders as cash dwindled.

Its shareholders include investment firm Ares Management, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

At the same time, the McLaren name is finding new fans in the vital US market through its Formula One team as the sport gains viewers in North America with more local races and a hit Netflix show, which prominently features McLaren’s racing drivers and executives.

In July, the team signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with US shoe brand K-Swiss, with products set to hit stores next year.

Athletic Propulsion Labs, a celebrity favourite that’s attracted stars like Lady Gaga and Chrissy Teigen, rarely does collaborations but previously worked with athletic-wear giant Lululemon on performance footwear. Executives said they plan to expand on their arrangement with McLaren.

Updated: May 30, 2023, 7:50 AM