DSW parent Designer Brands, Inc. acquired the Topo Athletic running footwear company. The transaction expands the brand’s reach into the performance athletic and outdoor footwear categories.

Topo’s founder and CEO, Tony Post, will remain as CEO of Topo, reporting to Bill Jordan, president, Designer Brands (DBI).

DBI said in a release that Topo immediately brings Designer Brands’ owned-brand business into the premium athletic category. Topo footwear, designed for running, walking, hiking, and overall comfort, is recognized worldwide in the space.

The deal closed on December 13, 2022.

Before founding the company in 2012, Post was SVP of product and marketing at The Rockport Company, then was the CEO of Vibram USA, managing its U.S. sole business and launching Vibram FiveFingers.

DBI said Post’s vast experience and DNA for innovation make Topo a strong fit for Designer Brands’ approach to growth.

In an FAQ sheet distributed to Topo customers and employees, the company said that Topo would continue with its current management, corporate employees, run specialty and outdoor specialty distribution and reps, and specialty sales organization.

Topo reported that DBI would not sell the brand in its retail stores, DSW or Designer Shoe Warehouse. DSW sells running and outdoor specialty brands, including Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Merrell, New Balance, Puma, Salomon, and Timberland, among others.

Topo’s headquarters will remain in Framingham, MA, “near mile 8 of the Boston Marathon,” and continue to ship from its SoCal warehouse.

Topo further diversifies Designer Brands’ broader portfolio of owned brands, which include Vince Camuto, Jessica Simpson, Crown Vintage, Mix No. 6, Lucky Brand, and Kelly & Katie, comprising six of the Top 50 fashion brands at Designer Brands and will now also grow in the athletic/athleisure space with Topo and the previously announced LeTigre acquisition.

“Topo represents another exciting growth opportunity for Designer Brands and further propels us to our goal of doubling sales of our owned brands by 2026,” said Jordan. “Tony Post’s visionary leadership reminds us why the best athletic shoes must deliver a better experience so our customers become passionate about our brands. Designer Brands continues to control its destiny with more than 30 million customers in its loyalty programs, more than 700 points of distribution and three online platforms totalling more than $1 billion in sales. Following our most recent year-over-year quarterly sales increase of 25 percent in owned brands and 33 percent within our direct-to-consumer channels, we are confident Topo will continue to strengthen our owned brands portfolio and help extend our reach around the world.”

“Topo’s focus on helping people achieve healthy lifestyle goals aligns perfectly with Designer Brands’ mission to inspire self-expression,” said Post. “We found synergy with their management team from our first meeting. They understand our brand mission, they support our strategy and focus around specialty retail, and they are excited about our growing global footprint. Nothing changes in our strategy, distribution direction or management team. Designer Brands brings a deep set of resources that will help Topo continue to grow, innovate and deliver a better experience for our customers for years to come.”

The Consello Group served as the financial advisor, and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP served as the legal advisor to Designer Brands. Consensus served as a financial advisor, and Goodwin Procter served as a legal advisor to Topo.

Photo courtesy Topo Athletic