Retail Buyers Guide: Skateshoes FW17/18
Category: Skateshoes FW17/18
Interviewees: Doug Wetson (VP of Sales & Operations & Founding Partner) & Brian Reid (VP of Footwear & Founding Partner).
Do you see a shift in skate shoe buying habits when cold season in Europe rolls around? If so, what is your response?
Doug Weston: We definitely see a seasonal shift as the lighter materials and canvas’ don’t hold up as well in the weather. We design with that in mind. It’s easy to forget that the rest of the world isn’t always 72 degrees and sunny like it is here in Southern California.
Brian Reid : We’ve offered specific footwear for winter weather for years. We’ll use weather coated materials, Sherpa linings and gusset the tongues to keep water out. You have to design for the season. As a designer, I’m constantly looking at swatches and out in the market looking at new materials and like to use them for both function and design. We’ve offered specific footwear for winter weather for years. We’ll use weather coated materials, Sherpa linings and gusset the tongues to keep water out. You have to design for the season.
How important is technology in skate footwear for customers these days?
DW – Technology is always evolving and we’re lucky to have a production partner in Asia who is able to keep us at the front of that evolution with our factory relationship. Current footwear technology is much more subtle than the 90’s when it was considered “tech” to layer TPR on uppers and throw an airbag in the outsole.
BR – The current technology is really a blending of form and function. I’m always searching for better foam technologies, insole progression and outsole compounds for better board feel. Our
What are your main new technical developments?
BR – We work with internationally known street artists and their detailed artwork so we’ve had to pioneer some new, proprietary printing technologies. These printing technologies allow us to have durable materials with incredible structural integrities while having extremely sharp, hi res art on our footwear. In addition, I’ve worked on a new EVA compound for our after skate series as well as upper weld materials that allow for no sew technology. The result are shoes that look cleaner with minimal stitch lines.
What are the main colour and material stories for FW2017/18?
DW – We are in the black shoe business so black is the main colour that we design around. We’ve found a great synthetic leather that wears incredibly and we’ve been able to apply across the line. Out latest Work Wear offering uses it in a really creative way. We also have been using some great looking chambrays that wear well and look great for the warmer months.
BR – We’ve always featured an array of creative colours and material stories throughout our offerings that has been the Osiris DNA for many years. As I said earlier, we work some of the best street artists in the world and their art on our shoes is always a top story for us.
Putting things in perspective, how have skate shoes developed over the past 5 years? How are this seasons’ shoes different from FW2011?
DW – Cupsoles have definitely made a comeback within our skate designs. Everyone wanted vulcanized back in 2011. The feedback from our skaters was that the vulcanized footwear wasn’t offering enough impact protection. The fashion turned towards canvas vulcanized but once you’ve skated a lot on vulcanized outsoles, you realize you’re going to need more cushioning. We designed cupsoles that look vulcanized so you can get that Vulk look while still getting the proper cushioning you need.
BR– As Doug mentioned, we’re seeing and hearing from our riders that they prefer cup over vulc for a few years now. They love the look of vulcanized but love the feeling and protection of CUPSOLE.
So in 2012, we created our FLX.VLK outsole. Our outsoles look and flex like vulcanized but they have the feel and protection of cupsole. Our riders overwhelmingly prefer these outsoles. We’ve even engineered minor imperfections into the outsole to really mimic the look of vulcanized outsoles.
In addition, our outsole design allows for different insole heights and compounds so I can design different feels for each shoe. We saw the future back in 2012 and it has stood the test of both our riders and time.
How do you see the overall health of the European skate shoe market?
DW – The skate shoe market in Europe has been tough for a while but it’s not the first time. We’ve seen it go up and down a few times through the years. We’ll keep doing what we’ve done for 20 years now and that’s make the best shoes we can. I feel very fortunate that I’ve had great partners in Osiris, met many lifelong friends at the brand and I’ve worked with so many great distributors and accounts over the years. Skateboarding has given so much and I’m stoked that we’re still here doing what we love and giving back what we can.
Please point out the 3 key products in your collection that retailers HAVE to keep on their radar and tell us the story.
1. The Mesa – Clean mature upper on a great skate outsole.
2. The Protocol – Our best-selling style over the past 3 years
3. The Clone – Classic hi-top style on our FLX VLK outsole.