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Episode 09

Jean-Luc Diard

Jean-Luc Diard, Founder of HOKA One One

If you enjoy lightweight running shoes or the flanged tip and tail of your skis, you owe a lot to this man.

Jean-Luc Diard is one of the co-founders of HOKA One One, the running shoe that changed the course of modern sneaker design, and the former CEO of Salomon. He now runs the Deckers X Lab. What's next for this man?

In 2004, Simon launched Rapha, focusing on sleek, paired-back cycling kit; filling a gap in the market full of loud, logo-soaked apparel. Their aim: to get more people involved in the beautiful sport of cycling.

Deckers X Lab is an experiment in feeling good from the ground up. At least, that is what today’s guest believes! Jean-Luc Diard is the former CEO of Salomon, the Founder of Hoka One One, and the Global VP for Innovation of Deckers X Lab, which creates shoes and apparel for the next human evolution. As part of the Decker’s family, the X Lab develops innovations in comfort for its own label as well as brands like UGG, Hoka, Sanuk and Teva, with its sights set on feeling good from head to toe. In today’s episode, Jean-Luc shares how X Lab is looking beyond footwear and towards the potential in considering multiple different perspectives as well as how they quantify the new and improved experiences they create for their consumers. He also elaborates on the difference between selling shoes and selling wellbeing and how the latter not only makes consumers happy but shareholders too! We also touch on developing footwear for military personnel, the importance of enhancing both performance and experience, and why it’s essential that X Lab considers not just elite athletes but the masses too, plus so much more, so make sure not to miss today’s episode of The Crux with Jean-Luc Diard.

You’re not selling shoes. You have to sell wellbeing. You have to sell something that puts a smile on people’s face.


Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to Jean-Luc Diard and Deckers X Lab.
  • Jean-Luc on whether it’s the brands or innovation that comes first.
  • Their focus on looking beyond footwear and considering multiple different perspectives.
  • Hear about the thread that runs through all the Deckers brands: continuous evolution.
  • The innovation that went into Hoka; ushering in a new era of lightweight running shoes.
  • Selling shoes versus selling wellbeing to make consumers and shareholders smile.
  • Jean-Luc shares some insight into some of the projects he is excited about right now.
  • His drive to help people enjoy the activities they already do and discover new ones.
  • Improving not just consumer performance but experience too.
  • The importance of considering both elite athletes and the masses.
  • Some of the future innovations that Jean-Luc predicts in the footwear industry.
  • Jean-Luc shares the crux in his life: becoming aware of his limitations as an entrepreneur

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Jean-Luc Diard on LinkedIn
Deckers X Lab
Hoka One One
The Crux Podcast
Email The Crux Podcast 
Robert Reedy
Kyle Duford  

Hosted by

Kyle Duford, The Brand Leader Rob Reedy, 2FIFTY9

Special Guest

Jean-Luc Diard, Founder of HOKA

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