James and Josh Shorrock are no strangers to the shoe business. The brothers gained exposure to the industry years before launching Lane Eight, their Hong Kong-based performance sneaker brand, but their early introduction to the trade left something to be desired.
“Our father worked in footwear all of his life on the sourcing side, so that helped ignite my passion,” said James. “But growing up, we could only wear the brand our dad worked for — Adidas.” Added Josh, “I was 16 the first time I went into a Nike store.”
The two British nationals (who have lived globally) later immersed themselves in the field by taking on career-boosting gigs. An internship in Vietnam led Josh to a three-year stint working for Adidas in the country, while James cut his teeth as a footwear editor at Hypebeast. The duo eventually came together to form Lane Eight, which debuted in August.
“The idea was to combine elements from different categories into one shoe,” said James. Thus was born their first style, the Trainer AD 1, which is equal parts lifestyle and performance. The silhouette features a breathable knit upper, specially designed sidewalls for stability and cushy sockliners for comfort.
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The dual-gender model is sold primarily on Lane Eight’s e-commerce site (retailing for $160) and is also stocked at select retailers, including Le Board and Preview in New York.
“The design has quickly made Lane Eight a favorite, but what has shocked people is its functionality,” said Preview founder Geoff Harris. “Most people who see a knit upper think about the Adidas Ultraboost or Nike React, but unlike those models, you can move laterally in [the Trainer AD 1], allowing you to use it for both HIIT-based training and running.”
Le Board creative director Sofia Karvela said of working with the brand, “Lane Eight makes you feel part of the team.”
Nevertheless, the founders have faced their share of challenges. “We were stretched a little thin at first as a business based in Hong Kong, selling a majority in the U.S.,” said Josh. “It was just the two of us, and customer requests were coming in the middle of the night.”
As they work to improve logistics and seek warehouses closer to key markets, the team has its sights set on U.S. expansion in 2019. Upcoming initiatives include events and additional boutique placements. “We believe we can speak to a lot of different audiences — people from all walks of life,” said James.
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