A WORLD-RENOWNED sports footwear company based in the Lake District is to open its first ever store.

The dedicated inov-8 shop in Staveley - named 'The Forge' - will welcome customers for the first time this month.

“We hope The Forge will become a real hub for adventure-loving locals and tourists who enjoy running, hiking and fitness," said Michael Price, chief operating officer of the company, which sells footwear, clothing and equipment for gym-goers, off-road runners and hikers.

“As well as it being somewhere to buy kit, we want it to be a place where people can come to share in their passion for the outdoors or to seek advice.

“Coming out of lockdown, the Lake District is set for a bumper summer. We see it as a great opportunity to invest in retail, even though it comes at a time when some stores are sadly closing."

The company is opening The Forge in partnership with Kendal-based running store Pete Bland Sports, which was the first retailer to stock inov-8 shoes back in 2003.

Matt Bland, managing director of Pete Bland Sports, said the two companies had 'worked together on many ventures over the years'.

"This will be the biggest, but the joint teams of Pete Bland Sports and inov-8 feel we can build something special to sit alongside our store in Kendal," he said.

“It’s a milestone for us and a positive step as the business rises once again after the latest lockdown and the events of the last year.”

Mr Price said the store, located in Mill Yard, next to inov-8's newly-refurbished offices, would help to build a 'vibrant local economy'. He also highlighted inov-8's green credentials.

“It’s not just retail and people we will focus on," he said.

"Sustainability is also of paramount importance to us as a business. We have recently switched to renewable energy and have worked with Mill Yard to have solar panels installed above the stores and office."

In the coming weeks, inov-8 will publish details of trail routes that begin from The Forge's front door.

The shop will initially be open five days a week, between Thursday and Monday, with its first day of trade being on Thursday, April 15.