A mix of skate, street and outdoor design creates a unique and enticing collection.
WHEN YOUR BRAND is founded by snowboard legend Jake Burton, cold-weather shoes should be your bread and butter. And while the outdoors are still a part of Gravis’ design DNA, the company’s move to the West Coast from Vermont a few years back threw it full-speed into the skate realm. Today, Gravis creates laidback looks that encompass elements from skate, street and the outdoors.
The versatile brand—also known for its bags and luggage—has become popular for playing both sides of the footwear game: performance and lifestyle. “We’re hard to define, and I think that’s one of the things that makes us interesting,” explains Kelly Kituka, design director. “We have the ability to do a lot of different things with our product because we’re not pigeon-holed. We’re in that middle zone of action sports and lifestyle shoes.” This flexibility makes Gravis popular in everything from mainstream lifestyle and sporting goods stores in Japan to action sports boutiques in Europe to hardcore skate shops in the U.S.
Gravis comes alive in its Fall ’12 collection, which retails from $50 to $135. “You’ll see more variety in color, material, styles and silhouettes,” Kituka states. It’s led by the Quarters, a vulcanized chukka construction—and a key style in both the lifestyle and skate collections—that features a full-grain leather upper and is available in colors like wine red and dove gray. On the skate side, Gravis collaborated with skateboard brand Alien Workshop to produce the Quarters in scratch-off leather, causing the black leather to change to metallic silver as it gets worn through from use.
For Gravis’ Expedition line, the brand is incorporating mountaineering-inspired looks, including the use of wool textiles, sherpa linings and waterproof suede. The brand is also continuing its foray into the higher-end market with the expansion of the premium Cordway Collective collection, starting at $100 suggested retail.
Kituka points out that quality—above all else—is what Gravis is known for. “We put a lot into making sure that whatever we introduce to the marketplace will hold up,” he says. “We use the best techniques and materials and try not to just pump out shoes that will fall apart in six months.” —Mary Avant