Hoka One One, the footwear brand that is credited with launching the maximalist running shoe trend, has a new Southern African distributor. iKhambi Distribution has been awarded the distribution rights from January 2020 for Southern Africa.
Two keen French runners and former Salomon employees Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud launched Hoka One One in 2009, after years spent handcrafting and shaping lightweight shoes with extra-thick midsoles. Initially embraced by ultra-runners because of their enhanced cushioning and inherent stability, the brand now offers shoes for all types of athletes who enjoy the unique ride the shoes provide.
Hoka One One shoes retain features like a low weight-to-cushion ratio and midsole and outsole geometry designed to promote inherent stability and an efficient running gait.
The brand’s South African connection is well-documented: local marathon champions Mark Plaatjies and Johnny Halberstadt, who founded one of America’s leading running stores in Boulder, California, saw Mermoud wearing the thick-soled shoes at a running expo and were so intrigued that they asked to take it for a test run. Hoka One impressed them so much that they not only ordered stock for the store, but Halberstadt and his son Jason also collaborated with the development of the Clifton model (named after the popular Clifton beach in Cape Town).
The rest, as they say, is history – with runners across the world embracing the exceptional cushioning and stability provided by the enhanced midsoles. Recently, the most worn shoe at the Ultra Trail series an Ironman global events broke Bruce Fordyce’s 38-year old 50-mile world record.
Where global footwear brands are changing their focus to their own and selected chain stores, Hoka One One has seized the opportunity to service independent retailers.
“We are honoured to be awarded the distribution rights for the renowned brand in South Africa,” says Christian van Zyl, MD of iKhambi Distribution. “The heritage and passion that drives the Hoka One One brand resonates strongly with our team and business philosophy. Our business is focussed on offering more choice to our customers and greater value in our basket of premium brands.”
iKhambi Distribution is a Pretoria-based brand management and distribution company with a focus on lifestyle and performance products. The passionate team align themselves with best-in-class brands that offer value and excellence to their customers, they say. “Our industry leading team, warehousing and infrastructure enables us to offer exceptional customer support and world-class products through a complete omni-channel marketing and sales approach to a wide range of customers.”
Other brands included in the iKhambi distribution portfolio are Wahoo Fitness, Nathan and Kask.