Amberjack wants to make dress shoes cool again.
The emerging hybrid brand seeks to combine not just style, but comfort, for a line of shoes that are comfortable enough to wear while you work from home or return to the office. Made with 100% full-grain, high-quality leather as well as equipped with a special footbed that molds to your foot by heat and pressure, its debut style retails for $179 on Amberjack.shop.
“I really loved footwear as a space and I thought that dress shoes were interesting because I didn’t love the category as a consumer,” said Jonathan Peters, the founder and president of Amberjack.
With a background as an analyst and consultant who previously worked at Mckinsey & Company, Peters called on his friends and colleagues in the fashion and footwear industry to weigh in on how to design a shoe fit for the modern-day corporate guy. The team includes advisors such as Steven Beccia, the former senior director of product development at Cole Haan and Jake Rudin, the senior manager of digital technologies at Adidas.
Together, the team built a brand that balances both aesthetic and comfort, using proprietary footbed and outsole technology derived from high-performance athletic shoes. Notably, Amberjack worked with the supplier who developed the Adidas Ultraboost for their first model, which includes athletic-inspired comfort features such as a heat-activated footbed that molds to the arch of the foot and a shock-absorbing outsole.
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“Comfort typically corresponds with bulkiness, and with leather, the more you shine, the stiffer it is,” said Peters. “For us, it was this constant attempt at trying to create this balance of comfort versus style.”
With plans originally to launch this summer, Peters decided to hold off until the fall. Although COVID-19 has set back many things, the founder and president of Amberjack said that it only further propelled the vision of his men’s footwear brand.
“We had started this pre-COVID, but COVID for us accelerated trends we had already worked on before,” said Peters, pointing to consumers’ leaning preference towards comfort over the past few years.
Although available to purchase online now, Amberjack racked up a 10,000-plus waitlist for the shoe prior to its November release. The brand is hoping to target younger consumers who are already in or entering the professional workforce during this unprecedented time.
“As companies adopt a more permanent-to-flexible work from home policy, professionals will need a shoe with comfort and style,” said Peters. “With Amberjack, we’re hoping to bring comfort from home back into the office.”