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Footwear Plus Shoesday Tuesdays: Spotlight on Etnies, Chaco and Simple

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Footwear Plus Shoesday Tuesdays: Spotlight on Etnies, Chaco and Simple

Footwear Plus MagazineShoesday Tuesdays - Sponsored by WSA  

From competitions to collaborations, footwear companies’ philanthropic endeavors and milestones deliver a wealth of good news. —Angela Velasquez and Audrey Goodson

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Etnies and Autism Speaks Unite

Sports action footwear and apparel brand Etnies is teaming up with Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, to release two limited-edition sneakers for kids. Five percent of the proceeds from sales of the shoes—or at least $10,000—will go towards supporting the nonprofit. The shoes, which feature Autism Speaks’ puzzle piece logo, sport the same skateboarder-chic aesthetic as the rest of Etnies’ collection and come in two styles with versions for both boys and girls: the RVM Vulc in black/white and the Fader in blue/white.


Fittingly, the idea for the collaboration was sparked at an Autism Speaks’ walk, says Sheila Sullivan, who leads the group’s brand merchandising and licensing. “About a year ago, a colleague of mine was talking to a friend who happened to be a chief designer at Etnies,” she explains. “And he said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could outfit our walk team in matching shoes?'” The Etnies design team agreed wholeheartedly, and the two groups teamed up to make it a reality.

“We are impressed by the great strides in funding autism research, developing resources and [seeking] treatments Autism Speaks has made in its first five years,” says Don Brown, senior vice president of marketing for Etnies, a division of Sole Technology in Lake Forest, CA. “With these shoes, we’re helping Autism Speaks take its next step towards finding the answers for autism.”

The shoes, available in Spring ’11, will retail for $50 to $55.

1st Annual New York City Barefoot Run

Chaco Renewed
Doing its part to reduce, reuse and recycle, Chaco recently repaired its 10,000th pair of sandals to date this year thanks to its rejuvenated ReChaco program. Since being purchased by Wolverine World Wide last year and relocating to the company’s Rockford, MI, headquarters, Chaco has been able to refurbish more sandals than ever before—hitting the 10,000 mark in only six months. Whitney Conner, Chaco brand manager, says, “With the added resources of the Wolverine Outdoor Group, we can help save the soles of many more adored sandals.”


Instead of purchasing new shoes, the program encourages Chaco-loyalists to send their worn-out sandals to the ReChaco facility where the shoes are resoled and the uppers are re-webbed. “We love that our fans create meaningful and enduring relationships with their sandals,” Conner adds. “Each Chaco shoe creates an emotional connection to the Earth and the many adventures it will take its owner on. We want to continue this connection.”

1st Annual New York City Barefoot Run

Simple Unveils Brand Identity Contest
To mark its 20th anniversary, Simple Shoes, a division of Deckers Outdoor in Goleta, CA, is inviting freelance designers to create a new brand identity for the casual lifestyle label. Partnering with, a leading platform for creative professionals, the ‘Simple Shoes Identity Design Showdown: You vs. Our Agency’ competition challenges designers to take on a full-service creative agency. Will Pennartz, Simple’s marketing manager, says the brand “wants to see what the people who wear our shoes would come up with.”


How does it work? After designers post their portfolios to, a panel of judges will select 5 finalists who will be invited to sign consulting agreements with a $2,500 guaranteed payment. Individually, the final five will compete against One Trick Pony, the agency Simple regularly hires. The winner—either designer or agency—will receive an additional $5,000 and their work will become the new official Simple Shoes brand identity, which unveils in January 2011.

Pennartz says, “We wanted to see what designers outside our immediate circle would come up with to refresh our brand, but we respect the creative community and didn’t want to encourage unpaid spec work.” Alex Krug, vice president of Behance, says Simple’s competition is unique because it doesn’t take advantage of creative talent. “It’s refreshing that a brand like Simple is thinking beyond the traditional model and is hiring talent based on the merit of someone’s work. This model fosters collaboration in the design community and forces both the agency and designers to produce their best work,” he affirms.


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