Hoka One One shoes
Outside Business Journal

REI Names HOKA Top Vendor Partner of 2020

The co-op also honored Cannondale, NEMO Equipment, Fjällräven, and Darn Tough Vermont as part of its annual Vendor Partner of the Year awards

Hoka One One shoes
Eric Smith

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Fresh off the heels of a standout first quarter, Hoka One One racked up an impressive honor from one of its biggest retail partners when Seattle-based REI Co-op on Thursday named the footwear brand its 2020 Vendor Partner of the Year.

Hoka, the Goleta, California-based subsidiary of Deckers Corp., was a step ahead of other brands last year in several critical areas, according to Chris Speyer, REI vice president of product.

“Our vendors and their offerings play a vital role in keeping REI relevant to the consumer and our members,” Speyer said. “It’s always a challenge to select one partner as our vendor of the year, but for 2020, Hoka stood out as a truly exceptional partner. Its ongoing commitment to progressive products, compelling collaborations, and innovation truly resonated with our running customer. Most importantly, we’re excited by Hoka brand’s commitment to its impact agenda and particularly its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Hoka’s win at REI comes a few weeks after the brand delivered 74.2 percent growth for its parent company in the fiscal fourth quarter. Hoka, part of Deckers’ performance lifestyle group along with footwear brands Teva and Sanuk, posted sales of $177.5 million in the period. That provided a nice lift for Deckers, which reported companywide Q4 sales grew 49.7 percent to $561.2 million.

But Deckers announced even bigger plans for the brand, as CEO Dave Powers laid out an ambitious and aggressive top-line goal for Hoka.

“Over the long-term, we’re investing in major drivers of our business, including building Hoka to a $1 billion-plus global performance brand that represents a significant portion of total company revenue, driving our direct-to-consumer business towards 50 percent of our global revenues, scaling international markets across brands and seeding opportunities beyond footwear,” he said.

REI’s Other Vendor Partner Winners

Hoka wasn’t the only brand REI recognized in its Vendor Partner of the Year awards. The co-op bestowed 2020 divisional honors on the following companies:

  • Action sports: Cannondale. REI said the Wilton, Connecticut, bike maker “responded to pandemic market conditions with quick, confident leadership and decision making.”
  • Camp: NEMO Equipment. This was the second straight win in the camp division for NEMO. The Dover, New Hampshire-based gear brand won “for its ongoing commitment to product innovation, and work to complement REI’s broader sustainability impact goals,” the co-op said.
  • Apparel: Fjällräven. REI said the Swedish apparel and gear brand “exceeded partnership goals by designing a customized, brand experience allowing customers to get to know Fjällräven’s brand in a new way.”
  • Footwear and basics: Darn Tough Vermont. The Northfield, Vermont-based sock brand “wins again this year not only because of the superior quality of its socks but also for its exceptional handling of volatile supply needs in 2020,” according to REI.

REI’s Vendor Partner of the Year awards program dates to 1993. The co-op’s four merchandising divisions—action sports, camp, apparel, and footwear and basics—nominate brands based on how well they partner with REI “to meet customer needs, raise the bar for product quality, and drive sustainable business practices.”