Most of the design-innovation news that's come out of the sporting goods world in the last little while has been dominated by the two major players: Nike and Adidas. They've got the fastest this, the most high-tech that. Reebok, a company of a similar nature, has been trailing for some time now. However, instead of trying to compete, Reebok has chosen a different, more boutique direction.
Last week, Reebok opened their new Fit Hub concept store in midtown Manhattan, a dedicated retail space designed as a gym slash store. But this isn't any gym, it's a CrossFit gym, using trendy and addictive fitness method to spur some growth for Reebok.
Being that the CrossFit community is a close-knit and loyal one, this seems like a great idea. Wear out your shoes during your workout? Here's a pair, suited just for your needs, on your way in or out the door. And unlike Foot Locker, the staff at the Fit Hub were hired because they know their stuff. The Fit Hub is also the only place to find much of their product, which before was only available online.
The retail concept was designed by Ziba, who used the gym idea as an inspiration. The inside is a mixture of hard lines and vibrant color blocking, with a real unfinished gym-like feel. (As Core 77 points out, none of the plywood is fully painted.) The wall-mounted rigs can be changed around for different uses and to hold different products, and the step stools in the shoe department have the same handles as the equipment in the gym.
The 10,000 square foot gym (the Box) is called Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave. This isn't Reebok's first gym in New York, but it caters to a totally different group than the more luxurious, spa-like gym it has uptown. If those gyms are the past, this gym is made for the new wave of fitness buffs that is the Crossfit culture, whether they are beginners or go daily like some of the hardcore CrossFiters that I know.
There are Fit Hubs in Russia, Korea and Dubai. The New York location is the American debut and is located in prime real estate on 37th and 5th Avenue, and will likely serve as the tester location for the American market. Seems to me like a good retail strategy that falls in line with something like Nike + or Fuelband where the product is meant to be about more than the product, it's about inspiring and providing a healthy lifestyle.
Images: Gensler Architects