This Streetwear Sneaker Brand Has Design Down to Prosthetic Science

Fashion meets function is the philosophy of newly launched streetwear brand Worldboots.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based label in November released a collection of moccasins and high-tops that are designed with a science-first approach. The shoes feature premium leather and suede uppers, and a midsole that incorporates a comfort-enhancing proprietary EVA-blend compound, designer Ben Zerbe told Footwear News.

Worldboots’ Lees high-tops.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Worldboots.

Zerbe said that he was inspired by South Korea’s edgy streetwear scene — where the handmade line is crafted — and his experience manufacturing prosthetic legs and supportive footwear devices.

“My background is in science,” Zerbe shared, “I’m a pedorthist, and I wanted to create a fashion shoe that was comfortable when you roll from the heel to the midfoot.”

Worldboots’ Hemera moccasins.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Worldboots.

The minimalist Lees silhouette ($259) features straps that cover the mid-foot and ankle for a secure socklike feel and longitudinal arch support. The Hemera style ($299) includes an adjustable moccasin skirt and nods Clarks’ Wallabees. “I wanted to take that moccasin look and add an accessory piece where your pant flows into the shoe,” Zerbe explained. 

The midsoles, Zerbe said, is made from “a custom compound that’s really squishy and has shock absorption. … most soles are stiff but we wanted something with a bounce to the step.”

Both silhouettes are available in several colorways on the brand’s website.


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