Former NBA star Kevin Willis, founder of the Willis & Walker line of denim for men taller than 6-foot-3, will expand his apparel business with footwear, tailored clothing, sportswear and bags this spring.
Willis himself is 7 feet tall and wears a size 13. He said the footwear collection will be available in sizes 9 to 18. “My close friends wear these sizes,” said Willis, noting he expects the bulk of the business to be in sizes 13 to 16. Included in the offering of dress and casual looks will be boots, such as a tall utility-inspired look in brown leather and a lace-up brogue style in black. The shoes, targeted at high-end stores such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, will retail for $300 and more.
Styling is just part of the footwear equation for Willis, who holds a degree in fashion and textiles from Michigan State University. Comfort, he said, will be a focus of the collection. “Feet swell after ball games,” said Willis, recalling uncomfortable post-game plane trips.
And though Willis knows what it takes for footwear to perform on the court, he said he’ll pass on doing athletic looks. “Nike and Adidas [have really] monopolized the market,” he said.