Lacoste’s L003 Active Runway Paves a New Path for Its Footwear Legacy


N48° 51’ 11. O”, E2° 51’ 47. O”. If someone showed you these, you’d have no clue what they meant or where they led to right? Well, this geographic coordinate takes you right to the start of legendary sports label Lacoste and the world’s most famous crocodile — but you’ll also find them on the upper of the new L003 Active Runway sneaker.

The heart of the brand is rooted in this Lacoste factory in Troyes, France where after opening in 1933, icons like the polo shirt and other key pieces were first brought to life thanks to the pioneering and fearless spirit of founder René Lacoste.

Fast forward to 2022, and the daring origins of the brand are alive and thriving. We’ve seen fashion and sport coexist in symbiotic relationships for a while now, and when Lacoste launched its most recent collection, it was all about breaking the boundaries and marrying comfort, style, and technicality.

Recently we saw the brand unveil the exclusive pre-launch of the latest iteration of its L003 sneaker, the Active Runway (officially dropping January 2023). The face of the campaign is English singer Ella Mai. The Grammy Award-winning performer became a Global Ambassador for the brand earlier this year, showcasing the new fashion-sport silhouettes alongside the likes of Venus Williams.

Much like its name, the L003 Active Runway is a bold blending of fashion aesthetics with house sports codes. Built off of the bones and identity of the original L003 sneaker and sandal concept shoes that were unveiled during the SS22 fashion show, the Active Runway comprises open-edge raw neoprene, an exaggerated fat lace, suede upper, and breathable fabrics like feather light nylons and oversized mesh. The shoe also comes in a neon green colorway which not only is a nod to a tennis ball but to Lacoste’s heritage and identity. So you can really see how the brand brings tennis history to the streets, driven by the bravery to shift the needle of design, much like Monsieur Lacoste himself. I mean, before you change the game, you need to play it — and this sneaker nods to that maverick attitude.

Speaking of mavericks, the creative mastermind behind this bold twist on the classic streetwear sneaker is Creative Director Louise Trotter. Since starting her journey at Lacoste, she’s not only built upon the legacy of the French brand but started to put her own twist on how we understand the overlap of sport and fashion.

Lacoste has been known to embody a multitude of things; minimalism, sportswear, elegance, tradition, and functionality. “You can be all these things when they share common values that are true to Lacoste,” says Trotter. “René Lacoste was an elegant, champion tennis player who focused on products that performed at the highest level- he respected the rules of the game but also was a game changer, so it’s his spirit that allows us to be all of these things.”

We all know our past informs our future, and with such a rich archive and legacy behind it, Lacoste doesn’t struggle to adapt its traditional narratives in accordance with our cultural zeitgeist. “There are different periods of the brand’s history that I find particularly interesting depending on the type of products — for example, the early polos were particularly beautiful, as were the tracksuits from the mid to late 90s. In regards to the future — the focus has to be on sustainability in yarns and manufacturing, as well as technology to enhance the lifespan and performance of our collections,” comments Trotter.

This is exactly what we see with the L003 Active Runway. The shoe epitomizes the hybridization of sport and fashion where people’s lifestyles, values, and cultural connections become more ingrained in their day to day. “Sporting activities are part of life, and the detail of movement and comfort have become a daily requirement,” explains Trotter.

But just because we need a functional everyday sneaker, it doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish at the same time. “The L003 was born on the catwalk and because of this has a strong fashion identity. It has a running inspiration with magnified proportions and details both in materials and branding. It blends archival house codes with sport and fashion and embodies a bold and playful mood.” Bridging the gap between utilitarianism and luxury is something Lacoste has touched on since its very inception, and in this case, the sneaker does all the talking.

As a brand that is big on collaborations, bringing Ella Mai into the mix is no surprise. “What ties all of our partnerships is firstly a strong connection based on common values. For us, collaboration is an opportunity to connect to communities and to open the brand to new viewpoints. We believe that these will continue, but with meaning and authenticity to share experiences and ideas and to co-create.”

Shop the exclusive L003 Active Runway pre-launch in Europe, the US, China, Korea, and Japan now exclusively on Lacoste.com





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