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By Hannah Connolly
n 1998, luluLemon took its first steps into the athletic apparel category, since then it has grown to become a world leader in premium fitness-wear. Anchored by a commitment to putting the wearer first, more than two decades of insights has now accumulated in the release of a debut footwear collection.
The Blissfeel running trainer was the first off the mark, followed by Chargefeel, Strongfeel and Restfeel. Now, with a literal head to toe offering, luluLemon is showing what happens when design meets feeling.
In fact, it is the “Science of Feeling” to be exact, which anchors all steps of the luluLemon design process — from leggings to yoga matts, water bottles to sports bras, each empowering countless people to step into their fitness practices feeling supported and confident.
Over the last month, The Stack World has been putting these shoes to the test to see how they work in the lives of four busy London based professionals, each with their own unique approach to fitness and wellness in the city.
Strongfeel, like Blissfeel, was created with a woman's foot in mind first, quite literally breaking the precedent of male led design in the footwear category. The result is a lightweight yet supportive training shoe that holds the wearer whether they are jumping, cutting or lifting – leaving them feeling empowered in their stance.
Here to put them to the test is Stack World Member, Teju Olabode. Read on to find out her take as she shares her experience…
Stepping into Confidence with Teju Olabode
Teju Olabode adopts the mantra: “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor,” into all facets of her life. As a Solutions Architect at MetaPack, a London based SaaS company, the city itself plays a big role in her approach to wellness and fitness. “I approach wellness in the city as a way of tapping into my need for exploration. I like to see and try new things, learn new skills and push my limits."
It's an all-encompassing approach where nothing is off the table: "Whether it’s doing Tough Mudder with my girls in the park (Finsbury Park), going wild water swimming (Hampstead), taking a rock climbing course to overcome a fear of heights (Mile End Wall) or booking a beginners cycling course (Olympic Park) as I begin the long journey towards one of my life long dreams of one day being a triathlete, all these activities encompass what I personally view as wellness from an active perspective.”
For so many people, the ability to transition easily into the various parts of the day is vital – from the office to the gym, from Pilates to a meeting, being able to move with ease without carrying a second, or even third wardrobe around, enhances our relationship with wellness practices.
So, how does a trainer like Strongfeel fit into Teju’s world? Well, according to her “It fits perfectly.” Adding, “I love the hybrid nature of the shoe, I can use the same pair across many of my day-to-day functions. luluLemon has found that sweet spot of creating an active city shoe.”
Sharing, as we caught up after first stepping into StrongFeel, that the design makes this trainer a stand out, being smart enough to function in an office setting, but being functional enough to dive into a workout. An important caveat for Teju, who is currently embarking on the Daily 20.
“It’s working out every day in 2023, for at least 20 mins a day. I need a shoe that I can wear all day that doesn’t hinder me from being active if I need to be. For example, if I’m working in the office that day, I can either head out for a lunchtime walk, or head straight to the gym without having to swap my shoes.”
Strongfeel also fits into her desire for travel and indulge her passion for exploration: "I love traveling and deciding whether to pack additional sports shoes for training could mean forgoing my favorite toiletries/clothes and can be the deciding factor between working out or not. With these shoes, I know I have a single pair that covers both functions. I can work out in them no problem, and I can also see the city I’m visiting wearing them because they are stylish enough to wear in a non-sporty fashion.”
Design plays a key role and was a stand out for Teju whilst trailing out the trainers, especially in looking at the details. “I mostly look for stability, fit and flexibility – they are great in offering a foundation for weightlifting… I love the clean lines of the upper and the multiple layers of different materials giving the shoe a quality feel. Additional care has been taken in the design of loopholes for the laces - I like that it has a mix of loops and holes which aids in better fastening and fit of the shoe.”
Being free to push the limits is Teju’s chosen approach to fitness, but flex and intuition are of equal importance and to her is the foundation of her idea of wellness. “If I'm not feeling it, and it's going to take away a portion of my mental and/or physical wellness/harmony, then I try my best to honor that feeling by not moving forward with it. Instead, I seek things that fill me up, expand my mind, that bring joy and that will make me feel better in the long term.”
New to the world of luluLemon, she explained that “she never really understood why they were so popular”, but this all changed post-trail saying, “After wearing the products, I understand why consumers love the brand – the quality is unmatched and the brand identity feels inclusive and community led.”
Since committing to exploring all facets of her fitness interests Teju has noticed many positive lifestyle impacts and has unlocked a new appreciation for personal style in her approach to fitness-wear.
Telling us: "I almost didn’t recognise myself at times, but since I started regularly running and embarking on the Daily 20, I have seen a massive boost in my mood, my body is changing and I feel like myself again. I no longer feel like I need to hide my body by only wearing all black. I am incorporating more personal style like a cute choker or brightly coloured accents which makes me feel great.”
For Teju quality and style are synonymous and the key is not compromising on either. “The items will support me where I need them to, so I can focus on my workout without the worry of whether my clothes are falling down or falling apart.There's something about using quality goods that instantly boost your mood, and with the mood boost comes a boost in confidence, and that's how I feel wearing lululemon products: confident.”
Check out the luluLemon footwear range, including the Restfeel here, and keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the series where our Stack World Members will be trailing Chargefeel, Strongfeel and Blissfeel.
Images for The Feeling It Series were taken by JKG PHOTOGRAPH, makeup and hair by Maya Czarnecka.
In part three of our Feeling Series with luluLemon, Solutions Architect Teju Olabode puts the Strongfeel training shoe to the test and shares her London-centric approach to fitness.
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