The men’s footwear business has been thriving for the past couple of years. Whereas it seems just 6 years ago, men were struggling to find the perfect wingtips or the best winter boots, but now with many brands surfacing and addressing the needs of men, the options have expanded. Footwear enthusiast and buyer, Michael Vincent joined one of today’s leading online men’s retailers JackThreads in 2011. But his experience in buying and operating mega shoe brand havens like Training Camp and A Bathing Ape makes him just the expert in what men should be looking for when buying the perfect shoe. Here he gives us a couple tips on the design process and ways to get your footwear game on point.
DH: When designing a shoe, what are 3 things that usually start the process?
MV: First and foremost, you have to come up with the story. After you establish the story, you can start to conceptualize ideas…exploring beyond the obvious. So for example, if “ice cream” is your story you can decide if you’re going to play into that through color, the spoon or even the guy scooping it. Number three is to make it trend right — think about who’s going to buy this, who are you designing it for and where are they going to wear it.
DH: What attributes do you keep in mind when creating footwear?
MV: Comfort, style, function, texture, fit
DH: What are your go-to pairs that go with just about anything?
MV: Since I’m always looking for fresh inspiration I don’t tend to wear the same pair twice but I’d recommend a pair of our Reebok x JackThreads classic nylons. I’ve definitely worn these a few times already. We worked with their team to create a three-part collaboration and the second and third drops are coming soon.
DH: Are there current footwear trends that are on the rise? What are they?
MV: Athleisure is evolving in a big way, you’re going to see more and more hybrid silhouettes with sneaker bottoms. For our collaboration with Clae, for example, I created a new style for them that features a sneaker bottom and chukka upper.
DH: When men purchase any kind of footwear, what should they thinking about?
MV: Guys should identify the purpose they need their footwear to fill. If you’re looking for a fashion piece, look for neutrals, pastels or Chelseas. Those core elements will pair really well with the majority of your wardrobe.
DH: Can white sneakers be worn year-round?
DH: What are a couple essential silhouettes or styles ALL men should have?
MV: Everyone should own chucks, you can go anywhere in the world and rock high top Converse. They’re versatile and timeless. A chukka or desert boot is an awesome way to keep your look casual but more dressed up than a sneaker. We’re about to drop some essential crepe sole chelseas.
DH: Does price usually influence better quality?
MV: No, sometimes you pay for the brand name and the licensing fees they’re trying to cover. Here at JackThreads we believe that great style shouldn’t be expensive. Our chelsea boots are handmade in Portugal with 100% suede and they’re only $99. They’re beautiful. I’d tell guys to look at the materials that are being used to make sure the quality of the shoe you’re purchasing is truly worth it.
DH: Shoe care is a huge neglect for most men. What 3 products do you suggest?
MV: Just one, Jason Markk suede cleaner. Available on JT.
DH: Are insoles only for men of a particular age?
MV: No, definitely not. I change insoles when I need extra arch support at the gym. Make sure your shoes are comfortable, especially for working out.
BE SURE TO CHECK MICHAEL’S INSTAGRAM AS HE ROCKS THE BEST KICKS AND VISIT JACKTHREADS TO KEEP UP TO DATE ON ALL FOOTWEAR RELEASES AND NEWS!
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