Dress Revolution

Cole Haan debuts a dress shoe with all of the characteristics of a sneaker.

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With the rise of sneaker-dome, today’s consumer has gotten used to a level of comfort previously only available in athletic shoes. Last week, iconic American lifestyle footwear brand Cole Haan launches a reinvention of the dress shoe. The new dual-gendered collection, Grand Revolution, delivers the innovation associated with performance footwear to dress shoes.

“The Grand Revolution collection revolutionizes men’s dress because it combines the everyday comfort and engineering of sport performance sneakers with the craft and tradition you would expect from fine leather dress shoes without the sacrifice in style,” explains Innovation Design Director Jeff Mokos. “Staying true to our core as a dress brand, we’ve reinvented the way we use leather to create a 360-degree considered system where every element has been rethought and re-engineered to maximize flexibility, cushioning, breathability and reduce weight.”  

unspecified-1For example, the Washington Grand Laser Wingtip Oxford incorporates running shoe–inspired Grand OS energy foam for responsive cushioning while a lightweight torsional arch supports and steadies the step. The combination of a fully-synchronized motion outsole and flex welt infuses the shoes with the flexibility and moisture control benefits of a performance sneaker. Plus, with the addition of achilles and tongue padding for comfort, the need to break in the shoe is eliminated entirely.

“Styling of the Washington is revolutionary because we’ve stayed true to Cole Haan’s heritage of impeccable craft by using our finest dress crust leathers finished through hand-finishing and hand-staining,” adds Design Director Mattias Verfl. ” The Washington is the epitome of craft, style and engineering coming together.”

The shoe’s introduction offers one potential way the brown shoe industry can fit into the recent rise of athelisure. “The consumer’s expectations are now higher than ever,” offers Mokos. “The sneaker industry is continuing to drive high level performance innovation that is also incredibly relevant to everyday lifestyle use. Now that wearing sneakers is widely accepted almost everywhere these days—including with a suit—consumers have a choice to make. More often than not, they choose comfort at the sacrifice of style.” The Grand Revolution collection, he says, is aimed to offer classic style with the level of comfort and engineering of a sneaker.

In conjunction with the launch, Cole Haan is releasing their latest campaign, “Revolutionary Feeling,” to capture the spirit of invention and innovation. The campaign features entrepreneurial revolutionaries including the brand’s own Scott Patt, VP of design and innovation; Mazdack Rassi, founder of MILK Studios; and Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew, co-founders of The Muse.

Conversely, Cole Haan has just released a new bespoke collection, Made in Maine, for customers who desire a handcrafted look. The collection, made up of long wing, cape toe and split toe styles, is handcrafted in Lewiston, ME, by five artisans.

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