Fashion-comfort brand Alegria is capturing a piece of the growing athleisure market. Influenced by the popularity of today’s athletic-inspired styles, the company launched Traq, a women’s and men’s shoe collection that fuses performance with technology.
And while it originally launched for spring ’18 under the Alegria umbrella of slip-resistant lifestyle looks targeting teachers, health care and hospitality workers, the brand quickly realized that Traq had unexpectedly tapped into a new audience of thirtysomethings. With its updated styling, paired with signature Alegria comfort features, the company then made the decision to distinguish the two labels with the launch of Traq’s standalone website in July.
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“Ultimately, Traq has the potential to reach a much larger market segment than Alegria,” Scott Cates, president of sales of parent company Peppergate Footwear, told FN. “This [younger] crowd likes to wear shoes they can walk in all day but don’t have to be hardcore athletic or running [footwear].”
Featuring a proprietary Q-chip technology that syncs a built-in pedometer with a smartphone, wearers can track their steps through the day to help promote a wellness regimen, too.
Traq, which retails for $99 to $119, has developed its own identity, said Cates, noting the range of colorful patterns, which includes plaid for spring ’20. Plus, it’s setting itself apart from Alegria by attracting the male consumer. According to Cates, Alegria had trouble finding an audience with men due to its feminine sounding name.
Although Traq is moving the company in a new consumer direction, the brand continues to share retail distribution with Alegria and is sold at Zappos, QVC, Amazon affiliates and independents, in addition to a solid base of scrub shops due to Traq’s slip-resistant outsoles. “Our original goal was to design shoes to be attractive as they stood,” said Cates. “[However], the technology is a bonus. If someone likes to track their steps and [establish] online communities with their friends and families, they can do it.”
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