BUCKTOWN/WICKER PARK — Reebok plans to open an athletic shoe showroom in May that will also offer fitness classes, the shoemaker announced on Thursday.
The new Chicago location — in a storefront at 1702 N. Damen Ave. just north of the Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection — follows the opening of two similar Reebok showrooms in Boston and two in the Los Angeles area.
"The basic concept of the space is to unite the local fitness community in Chicago (Wicker Park and Bucktown specifically) around all of the Reebok core values of physical, mental and social well-being," Reebok's experiential marketing manager Kristen Steinhubel said in an email.
She said the location would be more of a "showroom" as opposed to a shop that sells goods you can take home immediately.
"It's not a traditional retail store," she said. "There will be current and featured product housed here, however it's a 'brick and click' model where people can come try on and test our latest products and then have their purchases shipped overnight direct to their homes."
Steinhubel said the store will allow customers to "experience the latest fitness trends with the top and freshest local rising instructors" and that much of the revenue generated from the fitness classes will be donated back towards a "BOKS program" that provides fitness programs to Chicago schools.
Most of the classes will be free but some could cost $5 or $10, Steinhubel said.
Though certain shoes on display can be tested out for special fitness classes, Steinhubel said the majority of the time customers can just try the shoes on to make sure they know the correct size when ordering.
Once open, the new Reebok Chicago outposts will join two other athletic shoe stores nearby: Nike Running, 1640 N. Damen Ave. and Finish Line, 1629 N. Damen Ave. Last year, an Asics at 1630 N. Damen Ave. shuttered.
Anthony Genovese, a retail broker at JLL Chicago, represented Reebok on the real estate transaction and said he believes "the health and fitness trend is here to stay."
"Just steps away from Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, the showroom will attract fitness enthusiasts, who are interested in browsing Reebok’s latest athletic wear and looking for a place to break a sweat," Genovese said.