With the holidays upon us, we are excited to share a peek into the creation of our limited-edition footwear and apparel products for the season. We sat down with Nick Hemmer, Brooks footwear senior merchandising manager and Kate Locke-Peck, Brooks footwear color and trend design manager to discuss the Ugly Sweater Levitate 2. We also chatted with Terri Perlman, Brooks apparel merchandising manager and Leah VandenAkker, Brooks apparel graphic designer, to give us the scoop on the background of the Ugly Sweater Long Sleeve.
What was the inspiration behind this shirt as well as the shoe?
Leah VandenAkker: For the shirt, we took inspiration from the traditional Nordic fair isle knitting pattern. Fair isle typically features multiple colors and we loved the idea of creating a technical shirt that mimics a sweater.
Terri Perlman: From the apparel side, we looked at the footwear direction and determined how we could align an Ugly Sweater theme to apply to a product that features a larger surface area. It was important to ensure that the products had a tie in, whether that be colors, print, etc.
Nick Hemmer: We collaborated with the apparel team to align on the direction and concept. We wanted something that felt classic and the red and green really evokes that feeling.
Kate Locke-Peck: We actually started with a different concept originally but landed on this iteration because we wanted to make a statement by utilizing holiday colorways.
On the footwear side of things, how did we decide to use the Levitate 2 to bring this Ugly Sweater concept to life?
NH: This is a way for us to continue to focus on our Energize experience and invite a new customer to experience DNA AMP. The knit upper allowed us to have more print options (versus a mesh upper on other styles such as Ghost or Adrenaline GTS). The rib collar also provided different design options for us.
Ugly sweaters have become somewhat of an iconic holiday pop culture trend. Does this shoe and shirt fulfill a desire for a product that the runner was seeking?
NH: Most of our limited-edition shoes are based on something our customers are already participating in and where we know runners show up. Ugly Sweater runs are a moment in time where we can reach runners and share a niche product that speaks to them.
TP: Ugly Sweater is definitely of interest to our customers. We’re a quirky brand so runners expect something fun like this to come from us.
LV: Run Happy spirit is where we play. We want to offer something fun during the holidays to bring a festive vibe to their runs.
How did we weave our Run Happy spirit into this shoe?
NH: Run Happy is literally part of the print on the shoe—the words are woven into the upper—and it’s a testament to who we are as a brand. We’re excited to have created a shoe that allows runners to celebrate Run Happy and wear something that’s fun and different.
KLP: From a design aesthetic for the shoe, we looked closely at vintage holiday fair isle sweaters from Nordic countries. Many of the sweaters included a line of text throughout the print so we thought it was important to include text in our print as well. We chose to use Run Happy!
Aside from the shirt looking festive, is it equipped for running? Are there special Run Happy nods?
TP: The Ugly Sweater Long Sleeve is from our distance program, so it’s just like the Distance Long Sleeve for men or women. The shirt is runnable and features DriLayer Burst, which resists odors and is great for wicking away sweat and keeping you dry. Shop the Ugly Sweater Long Sleeve for men or women .
LV: Run Happy spirit is where we play. The Ugly Sweater Long Sleeve allows us to provide a fun apparel piece that brings a festive vibe to customers while on the run. In the pattern itself, you’ll see running hot chocolate, running elves and a line of Run Jolly text.
Are there any surprises in the features of the shoe? Any hidden symbols in the upper or parts of the shoe that aren’t as apparent?
NH: We think the red and green holiday bells are a special addition to the shoe.
KLP: The glitter outsole is fun and unexpected, as well as the velvet touches. You’ll see that velvet is used for the Brooks logo as well a velvet stripe on the back heel of the shoe. The red and white striped laces also give a nod to candy canes.
The Ugly Sweater Levitate 2 is available for purchase on Friday, Nov. 16, along with the Ugly Sweater Long Sleeve. We hope that these products bring some extra cheer to the season ahead!