Foot Locker has made a major investment in the business of longtime strategic partner, Pensole, to support new designers and the industry.

Foot Locker has made a $2 million (approximately £1.5 million) investment in Pensole, a strategic partner that operates a footwear design academy. Part of the sneaker community for three decades now, its mission is to create a pipeline of designers to serve the industry.

The group offers students free tuition and a hands-on curriculum around the footwear and apparel design process. From product inspiration to concept development to manufacturing and branding, mentees are trained extensively in all areas and equipped with strong skills.

Since the 2010 debut of the programme, 400 enrolees have graduated and are currently working in the field. The move by Foot Locker deepens its longtime Pensole collaboration, extends the relationship between the companies, and furthers their joint growth initiatives.

Both brand brands and vendor partners will work together on new educational offerings and the creation of exclusive products for the Foot Locker family of brands. In 2015, the label supported Pensole in its master class design competition, Fueling the Future of Footwear.

“With this investment, we are excited to extend our partnership with Pensole, a brand that shares our commitment to fostering education and driving design innovation and excellence in the industry,” said Richard Johnson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Foot Locker.

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