McLaren is steering its offerings in a new direction. The British luxury carmaker has tapped Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) to create its first-ever footwear, a limited-edition “HySpeed” line of running sneakers infused with design elements from McLaren’s supercars. Carbon fiber plates and nitrogen-filled cushioning make the kicks just as inventive as the vehicles themselves.
New direction — The HySpeed line, started from scratch, has been in development for two years. In that time, McLaren has tapped into other streetwear collaborations, linking with Belstaff and Rhude to create apparel collections and partnering with sustainable brand SunGod to offer eyewear. “Collaborative licensing relationships are absolutely what we’re trying to do, whether it’s sunglasses, sneakers, or streetwear,” Gareth Dunsmore, McLaren’s chief marketing officer, told Business of Fashion. Partnerships make sure the company “stays culturally relevant,” he added.
BOF reports the luxury carmaker has “hit a round patch,” with demand for its supercars lagging due to the pandemic and delays around the release of its latest model, the Artura. McLaren has recently found new fans, however, through its Formula One team highlighted on Netflix’s Drive to Survive show. The team signed a multi-year sponsorship deal in July with K-Swiss, meaning the HySpeed line is only the beginning of McLaren footwear.
Look under the hood — Built with a three-piece segmented midsole, the running sneakers feature “pods” of ample cushioning, aided by APL’s FutureFoam technology. A nitrogen-infused, proprietary-blended midsole compound covers the pod sequence, resulting in a ride that’s responsive and energetic.
A full-length carbon fiber plate finishes off the HySpeed sneaker, bringing the running shoe to the same level as those from industry leaders like Brooks and New Balance. The former has already tapped into nitrogen-infused shoes with its Aurora-BL trainer, while the latter’s FuelCell SuperComp sneakers include carbon fiber plates to deliver a higher amount of energy return. McLaren may be new to footwear, but it’s clearly done its research.
Inspiration from the company’s cars can be seen in the heel padding, which is modeled after the company’s Senna seats for ultra-lightweight comfort and premium support. “Like stepping into a McLaren, it is all about optimizing performance, agility, and speed,” Goran Ozbolt, McLaren’s acting design director, said in a press release. Five different colors of the HySpeed shoes are available, with each palette informed by McLaren vehicles.
Step on it — Like the company’s supercars, however, its running sneakers won’t come cheap. At $450 per pair, the HySpeed footwear is APL’s most expensive to date. Pairs will be sold at the Athletic Propulsion Labs store in Los Angeles, as well as at online retailers including Net-A-Porter, Luisa Via Roma, Pedder Group, and Level Shoes.
If you miss out, there’s more to come from McLaren and Athletic Propulsion Labs. “We have a lot of things planned in the future with them,” APL co-founder Ryan Goldston told BOF. “This is a dream come true for us.”