An ostrich might seem like an unlikely mascot for a men’s shoe brand, but according to Fliteless president and co-founder Paul Fleming, it aptly represents what the brand’s is all about. Like an ostrich, a flightless bird that’s among the fastest-running land animals over long distances, the shoes won’t slow men down as they head on their daily journeys.
The collection of sophisticated dress looks is made in Portugal and set to debut online on Oct. 15. It’s built around a customizable proprietary lightweight technology, resulting in shoes that weigh roughly a pound a pair. Retail prices range from $280 to $365.
According to Fleming, the line is aimed at men 25 to 35 and includes loafers, lace-ups, long wingtips and boots. “It’s the ex-athlete-turned-deal maker,” he said. “He played sports and was competitive and is now putting on business-casual wear and making deals. He’s an investment banker, in real estate.”
Fliteless is built on a platform that allows wearers to choose the support of their shoes through a patent-pending customizable sole created to reduce tension on the knees, back and other joints while enhancing mobility. The soles are available in two options and include Energy Rebound and Soft Bounce.
The Energy Rebound construction, defined by burgundy bounce pads in the profile of the shoe, feature the Flite Dbl Soft outsole, a responsive bottom with medium softness, allowing for a faster pace and rebound, and designed for those with desk-oriented jobs requiring short bursts of running but less time on their feet.
The Soft Bounce, noted by the yellow bounce pads, features the Flite Tri Soft outsole for a more leisurely but lengthier performance and targeted at those with are constantly on their feet.
All shoes feature memory foam leather-lined insoles, while outsoles are made off durable natural rubber.
Fliteless is the next generation of footwear from industry veteran and brand founder John Ringdal, known for the launch of Swims in 2005, which first offered a range of classic galoshes and evolved into a lifestyle brand. (Swims was acquired by Differential Brands Group in 2016.)
The premise for his new venture came about after a day of shopping for mattresses with his wife, when he noticed that there were choices in their softness. The entrepreneur reconnected with his former Swims colleagues, Fleming and Anders Sverdrup-Dahl, to get his next concept off and running.
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