It's a constant struggle in stores to find the correct balance between being welcoming to customers and smothering them with attention, information and "experience". At this month's HIKE NIKE pop-up on the Bowery, we aren't sure thatchy are even bothering to try.
A typical complaint in New York City stores is that people either can't find sale help or are treated dismissively by the ones who are available. Not so at Hike Nike. The moment The Shophound walked into the temporary store a couple of days ago, we were descended upon by a genial Nike representative who proceeded to give us a lengthy spiel about the store and its various attributes, which while informative was also slightly oppressive. Let us breathe Nike people. It's not that the store doesn't need a bit of explanation. The front room serves as a mini-museum of sorts featuring the evolution of classic Nike styles such as the iconic Cortez into the more rugged ACG styles that fuse sneakers with hiking boots. If that designation sounds familiar, you may remember the ACG sub-brand from the '90s when it was created for the brand's trail running and hiking styles. Now, ACG is being relaunched more for style under the Nike Lab division, aimed at the city dwellers who probably accounted for much of the brand's success the first time around when they snapped up now classic styles like the Lava Dome and the Terra Humara. The store has even organized a series of "city hikes" over the course of the month to re-acquaint New Yorkers with the concept. Upstairs, there is a preview display of the sleek new ACG capsule collection launching on December 2, and in the back room visitors can try on ACG items to purchase or pre-order —and you will get a lot of help. In fact, we couldn't even enter the back area without making sure we were registered with Nike.com. Once past the gate, the new Nike Lab Sneaker-boots on display looked great, mixing classic Nike looks and flyknit styles with heftier, more rugged soles in serious shades of black and army green. Getting the fashion right has never been Nike's problem, but a lighter touch on the service might do a bit better on selling the Hike Nike concept.
Hike Nike NYC 135 Bowery between Broome & Grand Streets, Lower East Side
Have a look inside of the store after the jump