November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES


HAVING established itself as home to extensive sports performance products, The Athlete’s Foot (TAF) in recent years has revamped itself, leaning towards a lifestyle concept focusing on every sneakerhead and life-athlete who considers sport and style equally important.

It is a direction that has paid off, the people behind the store said, especially in the Philippines where the sneaker culture continues to gain momentum and grow.

In line with TAF’s new push to communicate its “emphasis on sneaker culture, streetwear, and athleisure fashion,” it added to its growing list of stores in the country last week, opening its flagship store at the Powerplant Mall in Rockwell, Makati, on Thursday, and a day later, its first franchise store at the Evia Lifestyle Center in Las Piñas.

Situated in a 270-square meter area at the second floor of the premium mall in Makati, TAF at Powerplant features an extensive range of apparel and footwear from top brands Nike, adidas, New Balance, Asics and Saucony.

Among the kicks sold in the store are the reintroduced styles and collections from Nike like the Air Zoom Mariah, Cortez, and Air Max, as well as new colorways of the adidas NMD R2 and classic staples such as Campus, Superstar, and Stan Smith.

The stores also has products that represent a hybrid of performance and lifestyle that stay up-to-date with the market’s interests and niche such as Rastaclat, Crep Protect, and Garmin, among others.

“We are happy to say that we have been growing in the last year and a half. Initially TAF was more into the sports performance concept so we focused more on performance product. But in recent years we have revamped to a lifestyle concept and along with the rebranding also came new consumers who are more into fashion and [are] trendy -- and good thing we sell those products they want,” said Miguel Patrick S. Punsalan, assistant brand manager for The Athlete’s Foot, in an interview with a group of writers during the launch of the TAF Powerplant store.

“We target consumers aged 18 to 30 years old who are active and outgoing. People nowadays are just too busy and they are looking for products to wear 24/7. They want something constant to wear. Everything we sell in this store is basically athletic-inspired and they can be worn practically everywhere, be it at work or at play,” he added.

Mr. Punsalan went on to say that since adapting a new look and thrust in the country, stores that have gone through the renovation and sport the new concept experienced growth of at least 30%, something they expect their newly opened flagship store to take a cue from.

Meanwhile, to cater to the sneaker demand south of the metro, TAF opened its first franchise store at the Evia Lifestyle Center along Daang Hari Road in Las Piñas.

“The TAF store in Evia Lifestyle is our first franchise store. We recently launched our franchising program and anybody interested in opening a TAF store can course their inquiries to us, Planet Sports, Inc., and we will assist them in setting up everything,” said Mr. Punsalan.

Planet Sports, Inc. spearheads The Athlete’s Foot brand in the country.

Like the flagship store at Powerplant, the one in Evia also sells top apparel and footwear brands.

“It’s great to open there. The Cavite area has a lot of residences but interestingly there was no decent sneaker store in that area. So when the opportunity to open a TAF store in Evia came, we knew we had to do it. Now they have a destination to go to for great sneakers,” the TAF official said.

It was an observation the mall shared even as they said they are happy to add TAF to its roster of top retail shops.

“The Evia Lifestyle Center is our premier mall in this area. We have great retail shops here and restaurants but we realized we were missing the shoe part. We had no rubber shoes store and we thought of The Athlete’s Foot and we’re happy that now we have one like this. I believe every mall has to have a decent rubber shoes store and Evia now has one,” said Manuel B. Villar, Vista Land and Starmalls chairman, during the TAF store opening in its mall last Friday.

With two new stores, Mr. Punsalan said that the TAF brand in the country would continue to grow moving forward, with more store openings lined up for the remainder of the year.

“The sports and lifestyle industry is definitely growing in the country and we believe we are in the right market backed by the brands that we have which have been very creative with new items that consumers want. Competition has been stiff, so we have to continue to evolve,” Mr. Punsalan said.