Justin Schneider, founder of men’s comfort footwear brand Wolf & Shepherd, has recently joined a growing number of young entrepreneurs launching their own shoe businesses.
However, Schneider’s putting the focus on comfort through a proprietary technology that creates a lightweight dress shoe with the fit and feel of an athletic style.
The 27-year-old is no novice to the industry. After graduating from Notre Dame, where he studied industrial design, Schneider landed jobs at New Balance and Adidas, working in product development. His background inspired the creation of the brand’s PhoenixTECH patent-pending technology that offers a memory foam insole that molds to the foot, a lightweight carbon fiber shank and resoleable rubber outsole that grips a range of surfaces.
According to Schneider, to date the brand’s main audience has been working professionals from 35 to 44, although the collection also resonates with 20-somethings (like himself) to those 45 and older. “The shoes are the Allen Edmonds of my generation,” said Schneider, noting younger men are accustomed to lighter-weight footwear, with the shoes averaging about 1 1/2 pounds per pair.
The collection is produced in Portugal of Italian leathers, with comfort components sourced in the U.S., with the collection retailing from $325 to $425.
Schneider noted a key feature of the collection is that all styles can be easily be resoled at a shoe repair shop. However, for just $79, the company will replace the outsoles with original components. The turnaround time is about seven days.
While the line launched online in August 2015, the collection is also available at select specialty stores that include Hyatt & Co. in Baltimore, J. Lancaster in Marietta, Ga., and Rosenblums in Jacksonville, Fla.
Moving into fall, Schneider will be introducing a range of casual styles that include driving styles and chukka boots. The company offers free shipping and returns.