It’s not a common word you hear in the fashion industry.
It’s more of a common theme in the fitness industry.
But what if performance and fashion were to merge?
After all, fitness and style are close cousins.
You’re not alone, I had the same reaction when I first heard the idea.
After sitting down with my friend Justin, owner of Wolf & Shepherd, and a professional in the shoe industry, he introduced me to the footgear that he engineered himself, the performance dress shoe.
Although the classic dress shoe won’t be going away, there is definitely a nice little niche carved out here.
When Justin first told me about his company I said, “Why the heck would someone want dress shoes that they can run in?”
The answer? Keep reading…
Transparency Disclaimer: Sometimes Unkept Gentleman receives compensation for mentioning brands or products.
- Hey Justin, tell us a little about your personal background and how you became interested in shoes?
I’ve always loved playing sports growing up because of the athletic challenge and feeling that there was always a way to get better.
When it was time to go to college, I had the opportunity to run as a decathlete at Notre Dame while study Industrial Design. It was the first time I was given two competitive playing fields that really challenged me to simultaneously develop my creative and athletic ability.
As everyone does in college, I was trying to find ways to combine my interests into a career. I knew I loved being involved with sports and had a passion for design and architecture.
I figured the best way to combine those two passions would be to design sprinting spikes and running shoes for professional athletes.
This lead me to an internship with Adidas and my first job, a year later, with New Balance Innovation as a footwear designer.
It’s there that I learned how to translate performance concepts into working prototypes and eventually shoes you can buy to wear.
This was awesome, and one of the most rewarding experiences is seeing people on the street wearing a shoe you put blood and sweat into 3-5 years before.
- Where did the idea for Wolf & Shepherd come from?
The idea for W&S came from the problem many professionals face: spending transit time to and from work in sneakers.
At the time, a friend of mine who is a New York commuter kept complaining about his dress shoes and saying, “My feet are killing me on my walk to work.”
He would complain how we would have to wear his tacky running shoes with his suit just to avoid the pain he felt getting to the office.
Having had experience designing dress shoes it seemed like a simple solution was in play to combine the experience of designing performance running shoes without compromising on the classic style of a dress shoe.
Wolf & Shepherd is using the highest market standard of leather and craftsmanship with the solution: combine running shoe technology with a classic Italian silhouette.
- Why would someone want a pair of dress shoes that they can run in? What advantages would someone get when wearing a performance dress shoe?
The goal really is to equip professionals in a way that allows them to perform.
We know you will not likely run a 5k in your dress shoes – although, we’ve run a sub-18 minute 5k in our Onyx Closers – a testament to the fact that although it is unlikely, you could run quite the distance in our shoes.
Also, you never know, you may find yourself in a sprint to catch the train or get to an important meeting in time.
I can guarantee you’ll have the best chance of looking good and getting there in time with Wolf & Shepherd.
- How did you come up with the name Wolf & Shepherd?
I was on a run when going through a list of names in my head and stumbled onto Wolf & Shepherd.
When you think about it, a wolf is ambitious, driven, and does not hesitate to act – they are go-getters; where as, the shepherd thinks before they act and are more focused on helping you get from point A to point B – they are leaders and you need both to succeed.
When you think of what it would look like to combine two seemingly different things: classic style and athletic fit you come up with Wolf & Shepherd. It also has a ring of prestige to the name.
- Is performance becoming the new trend among all aspects of professional attire? Or is it mainly in shoes?
The fashion thread has recently been showcasing performance as an integral component of what you wear to work, and wear out at night.
All the advancements made in manufacturing, material science, and sourcing has driven the standard for both the aesthetic and function of the products that you will see available in the next 5-10 years.
- Where can someone go who is looking for a pair of Wolf & Shepherds?
We are just starting to onboard suit and shoe shops where you can buy and try on our shoes. In the meantime, we offer free shipping, exchanges & returns on all orders on our website: Wolf & Shepherd.
Definitely take a look often as we update our content weekly and are always offering exciting new and styles.
We also announce special offers through our newsletter (website sign-up) and instagram account (@Wolfandshepherd). Thank you!
My conclusion after wearing them and running in them?
5 stars for comfort
5 stars for style
If you are a working professional on the go, running to the bus, running to the train, or walking from meeting to meeting while still needing to maintain your professional attire, these are the shoes for you.