In 2009, two college athletes and identical twins came up with a unique idea in their dorm room at the University of Southern California. With performance in mind, Adam and Ryan Goldston launched what would become a revolution in luxury footwear. Nearly 10 years later, Athletic Propulsions Lab (APL) continues to build and change a sector that the brothers ultimately created. Here, we chat with Adam and Ryan about the inspiration behind the brand, running a business with a sibling (and identical twin, no less) and what's in store for APL.
What inspired you to launch APL and what was the driving force for starting the company?
AG/RG: We founded APL in our college dorm room in March 2009. As former athletes, playing both basketball and football at the University of Southern California, we envisioned creating a company providing revolutionary products which showcased the intersection of design, luxury and performance.
We always wanted to jump as high as we possibly could. We were always looking for everything that could help us jump higher, but nothing existed that could instantly help us. We always say the best inventions come from a need, not a want. Everyone has basic human needs, but in addition to those basic needs, everyone has personal needs or goals. Ours, as mentioned, was we always needed to jump higher. In June 2010, we debuted the first shoe designed and proven to instantly make you jump higher due to APL's revolutionary 8-spring Load 'N Launch Technology in the forefoot. As a result, the Concept 1 became the first shoe banned in the NBA's 64-year history for performance reasons for "providing an undue competitive advantage."
The brand is truly a great example of style meets function meets comfort. When you are creating new products, which of these elements comes first?
AG/RG: APL is rooted in technology and innovation, so performance always comes first.
Your latest launch is the new Big Logo Slide, which like all your products, is revolutionary in its own right. Tell us about the slide and what makes it so unique.
AG/RG: With the introduction of our Techloom Slide we sought out to create the world’s most comfortable slide. We engineered this slide to the highest degree, as we do with all our footwear. We believe comfort starts in the footbed. We created a proprietary 3D molded footbed, that is covered in an antimicrobial mesh which forms to your foot as you wear it. As soon as you put it on, the slides feel incredible. The Techloom strap lays flush across the top of the foot and gives the wearer enough support to keep their foot in place, but also enough stretch so that they don’t feel any pressure.
The Big Logo TechLoom Slide, $100, athleticpropulsionlabs.com
As you approach nearly a decade of creating revolutionary and forward-thinking products, what would you say has been the biggest achievement for the brand?
AG/RG: We created a new category—luxury performance. Before us, the luxury stores weren't selling performance products. We felt that the customer going into luxury retail stores were wearing performance product daily, so there was a huge opportunity for us to create and own that market if we got the right partners on board, which we did. Creating this category has led us to achieve many awards and accolades such as being the first athletic brand to be inducted into the CFDA.
In the booming world of athleisure, how does APL continue to stand apart?
AG/RG: Athleisure is a bit different than what we're doing. We created the luxury performance sector, which is more active fashion than athleisure. We are constantly debuting the most innovative technologies in the space, and as you eluded to earlier, we have been doing this for nearly 10 years, so we have a strong grasp on what our customers want. We will continue to zero-in on that. We have a 2-way conversation with our customers, so when we speak, they listen; but also when they speak, we listen. That definitely sets us apart, and is part of the reason all of our releases have been successful. We are not with anyone; everyone at APL is solely focused on building APL to be the best APL that it can be.
What are the biggest challenges of building a brand with a sibling?
AG/RG: Our greatest advantage is that we are identical twins. We haven't had any challenges building a brand as siblings. If anything, it's an unfair competitive advantage we have over others because we constantly know what the other is thinking, and we have the same morals, dreams and goals. When you are aligned on those things, everything else falls into place. In addition to being on the same page for what your goals are, being identical twins, we can be incredibly honest with one another because we are closer than you could ever be with anyone else. There is an inherent trust that exists between us that could not be replicated in any other type of situation, so we can make decisions independently knowing the other is on the same page.
You’ve seen the company grow in many ways since launching, but what’s next for APL?
AG/RG: We have quite a few exciting collaborations coming up. We cannot reveal any details right now, but we try to work with like-minded companies that are not in our immediate categories. For example, in the past we’ve partnered with SoulCycle and Renault Sport Formula One Team. In addition to the collaborations, we will continue to build out APL experiences worldwide that you will see starting in 2019.
You are based in LA. When you travel to other markets like New York, Chicago, or Miami, how does your customer in those cities differ?
AG/RG: New York is our number one global market, which is amazing since we're an LA-based brand. Our customers in key markets may differ slightly in terms of colors that they're looking for (mostly during the winter months), but our customer profile is very similar across the globe. It's someone that wants to be comfortable, look great and perform at their highest level (should they choose to). It's the reason why we see people wearing the shoes at the global fashion weeks, in the gym, running errands or getting married in them. They were designed to fit your life no matter what you choose to use them for and in every market, there are a lot of people that see that and wear APL that way.
Visit athleticpropulsionlabs.com to discover the Big Logo Techloom Slide and the entire APL collection.
Photos courtesy of APL