No, I guess not. How did FEIT and Outlier hook up?
TULL Abe and Tyler somehow found me and proposed making a technical bike shoe. I really don’t know a lot about biking, but I know that people tend to wear mainly Vans really. This project is about making a shoe that is far beyond the scope of the usual $60 VANS pricepoint, which means we can push the technical aspect way, way further. With Vans and Converse, the sneakers are made using a lot of rubber and glue and cheap materials that are not very breathable. The foot beds are synthetic. We, on the other hand, use natural materials primarily and when Abe and Tyler told me they needed something that was firm and also flexible, straight away I thought of using leather on the outsole. Using leather in the outsole means you can get the flexibility and the firmness in order to push down on the pedals. What do you call that Abe?
ABE Power transfer! You want the sole to be relatively stiff so that all your energy is going into that sole and it’s pushing down on the pedal.
TULL Power transfer... which these guys tell me works great. I think we’ve really struck the sweet spot where you can wear it all day and be really comfortable. But
I have to say the biggest thing is making it really water-resistant. When Abe showed me the Supermarine cotton material it added another layer of performance and function. It’s perfect for an urban bike shoe!
ABE When we got the first prototype it was incredible because I had never really stuck my foot in a sneaker made with quality materials. I didn’t want to take them off and they didn’t even fit me! For the first sample there were a couple of issues with the leather sole needing a little more traction, so we worked on this hybrid leather and rubber outsole by looking at the wear patterns. In the end we got an incredible balance of flexibility and stiffness. We made a few other mods as well, including adding some padding to the tongue.
Check out our next feature: SAK HANDMADE CONVERSE