The genuine 361 Degrees brand is currently being introduced to key running specialists by its South African distributor, Sole Brands – a new company owned by Roger Noades, formerly of Reebok and Columbia, currently of Le Coq Sportif, fame.
“I am excited about 361 Degrees and what it’s going to be able to offer our – and other – markets, especially over the long term, when using the Chinese market as a barometer,” says Noades.
“I will be using all the efficiencies the Le Coq (Sportif) team and infrastructure has on offer, with Janine Stokes as the only new addition to the family.”
Retailers will know her well as the local brand manager most closely associated with ASICS running footwear for most of the brand’s life in South Africa so far.
Sole Brands is currently offering 10 to 15 SKU’s across men’s and ladies’ specific running styles, but only to key running specialist channels. This is to establish the brand base. Once established, they might spread the channels broader, especially if the range offering is expanded, says Noades.
This true version of the brand bears no resemblance to the 361 Degrees branded products Tubby Reddy sourced from his Hong Kong friend for Team SA to wear at the Olympic Games, he points out.
In fact, the 361-Spire 3 was just voted the winner of the Running Shoe category at ISPO this year. This neutral running shoe with excellent cushioning will only be introduced globally later in the year. The brand’s EMEA region was also the sponsor of the Running Symposium held during 2018 ISPO Munich.