Sneakers, kicks, trainers – whatever you call them they’ll likely be the first form of footwear to have graced your tiny feet on graduation from the crib. They’ll befriend you through childhood, stick with you in your teens and still take space in your wardrobe for a brief cameo when necessary. With age, there’s often a strange neglect that befalls the humble sneaker; the older you get, the lesser time you invest in sourcing that perfect pair, and in my case, the more awkward it is to introduce them into my ‘grown up wardrobe.’ That said, it’s always nice to come across something a little special that catches my attention and sparks interest outside of my comfort zone (ironically, these shoes are very comfortable.)
Though the likes of Nike (with Nike ID and other projects) having paved the way for custom sneakers, New Balance have pleasingly followed suit by introducing a similar service around the much loved 574 silhouette. The 574 online service greets you with a blank canvas shoe, broken down into four key zones for customization. There’s a great selection of colours on offer and each choice is mirrored in a real-time demo shoe that sits to the side of a simple, well laid out control panel.
At present the platform solely allows control over the colour of various portions of the shoe, though I hope you’ll soon be able to explore different fabric options and other NB silhouettes. In addition to the control of colour options throughout, you can have a custom message embroidered on the heel of each shoe. I opted for NCL and NYC for my custom text, a nod to being on the cusp of leaving my hometown Newcastle and moving over to New York in the near future. Once ordered, the shoes will arrive with you in one week which is a pretty staggering turn-around for a custom pair; there’s great scope to be as subtle or as loud as you like with your choices and I do hope this is indicative of NB’s future projects.
I feel like since Kyle posted about some lady shoes that I should balance the scales and throw in some rad men’s shoes. What you see above is a collaboration between Outlier, purveyors of fine biking goods, and Feit, a small team of shoemakers trained in the art of traditional shoe making. Together they’ve made the Supermarine, a shoe that’s highly water resistant but still extremely comfortable. The specs on these things are crazy, so I’m going to cut and paste them so you see just how much was put into making these:
A full length French vegetable leather outsole provides an excellent combination of flexibility and stiffness, while a two piece Vibram sheet rubber layer ensures solid grip and traction. A cork midsole adds in natural breathability and shock absorption. Everything is sewn together using the traditional handmade Goodyear welt construction. Waxed cotton laces, a 3M reflective heel cap, a discreet lace tuck and a buffalo leather insole with natural latex arch support complete the package.
So basically they’ve created some of the most well made, best looking riding shoes ever. I love that these are simple yet extremely functional. These beauties don’t ship until some time in June, but you can preorder yourself a pair by clicking here.
If I were a girl, I’d buy these shoes right now. Made by Stockholm based shoemakers gram, these modern take on a plimsoll totally caught my eye because of the fabric they’re made of. They remind me of pattern that Josef Frank may have made, with bright vibrantly colored leaves and birds and all sorts of interesting elements. What’s also cool about these is that each one is unique do to the randomness of the fabric:
Due to the fact that the print is originally being used for large furniture the patterns on the shoes may vary immensly, giving each shoe a truly unique expression.
While these kicks might be a little more expensive than most, I think the fact that you’re getting a unique, one-of-a-kind pair of shoes makes up for it. You’ll never meet another person in the world who has your shoes, so that’s pretty rad. To get more info on these click here.
It’s kind of funny to me how I’ve totally drunk the Nike kool-aid. A year ago I couldn’t tell you a single thing about any Nike product out there and now I’m mildly obsessed with all the creative work they put out. Case in point, a guy named Greg Washington just sent me an email about a site he worked on for Nike’s new Jordan BTC, a snazzy new shoe which honestly was the part I was least excited by. No, the design nerd in me was freaking out over the beautifully designed Flash site that makes me fondly remember the promise Flash had in the world of design until it was abused until it became an annoyance.
There’s just so much to write about. There’s the beautiful choice of colors, the amazing type, the way the site scrolls with the words as the interview progresses. It’s such an elegant way of presenting an interview with such a talented man, the one and only Tinker Hatfield, who’s done more for sports design than anyone else I can even think of. I’m sure I sound like I’m shilling for Nike at this point, but I find it extremely impressive that a company the size of Nike can make themselves seem like they’re just a bunch of cool guys you’d want to hang out with.
Marimekko, Finnish textile designers known for their bold patterns, have teamed up with Converse to create a beautiful line of women’s shoes that I’m pretty jealous about. These complex patters are taken from Marimekko’s back catalog, including Tarha from 1963, Pikkusuomu from 1965 by Annika Rimala and Kirppu from 1980 by Maija and Kristina Isola. I think these patterns are a perfect compliment to the shoes, people would definitely notice you walking down the street. I’m just upset I can’t get those high tops in a men’s size! Check out the video above and the shoes below. The collection should be coming out some time this month at both Converse and Marimekko stores.
Over the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of seeing behind the curtain at Nike a little, being given sneak peeks at upcoming products that haven’t been released. On Sunday I had the chance to see the new Kobe 6’s, which unfortunately, I can’t tell you about or show you until February 15. But while I was there I got to speak to one of the Nike designers and I had such a good time picking his brain about the production and manufacturing of their shows, it’s a really brilliant process.
This ingenuity totally grabbed my attention when I saw these photos of the upcoming Nike Air Force 1 Duck Boot which is being released on February 5. It’s the perfect synthesis between a rain boot and an Air Force 1. I love the detailing of the felt-ish material around the ankle and the black toe with the duck style ridges on the top. That’s one good looking shoe.
As soon as I spotted this new collaboration between Missoni and Converse I was immediately smitten and knew I would need these. There are quite a lot of useless collabs these days but I feel like this is a great blend of a classic shoe with a company known for their brilliant patterns. My personal favorites are the top pair, there’s something about that pattern that I feel is surreal and amazing. Thankfully there’s a Missoni down the street from myspace in Beverly Hills so I can snag myself a pair! They should be out in stores now and retail fo $200.
I’m so happy with the new Sperry Topsiders I purchased not too long ago but this work shoe collaboration between The Brothers Bray (aka Billykirk) and Sebago is definitely piquing my interest. I really love the unfinished suede (or whatever it’s called) which gives it a more rough, natural feeling. For some reason that means summer to me, though I’m sure these would eb great in the fall and winter as well. I also like that there are real laces and not pieces of leather, which in my experience tend to untie/fall out constantly. For more info and photos click the link above.