Many men, as they lace up their Oxfords in the morning, think a simple thought: Why can't my dress shoes be as comfortable as my running shoes?
Justin Schneider, founder of new Florida-based shoe startup Wolf & Shepherd, had that same thought, but he decided to do something about it.
Schneider, who has worked as a shoe designer at both Adidas and New Balance, set out to design a dress shoe that looks a lot like the other dress shoes you've worn in your life, but that has hidden technology to make it a whole lot more comfortable.
The tech packed into the shoes includes:
A memory foam footbed
A high-density foam heel
Carbon fiber arch support
The shoes have patented modular outsoles that can be switched out depending on the season, or entirely replaced after being sent back to the company for 1-2 weeks. The shoes are, on average, a pound lighter than a traditional dress shoe, and use something called a "Swiss insole" to reduce weight.
Since part of the comfort of running shoes is their flexibility, these shoes should be able to move better than your average dress shoe. Wolf and Shepherd has recently switched to a more structured leather that is closer to a traditional dress shoe for their new "Genesis" collection, which will wrinkle less than their first collection did. The leather, according to the company, is sourced from the same tannery that Louis Vuitton uses.
Comfort doesn't come cheap, though. The shoes' retail price starts at $325, which is about equal to the cost of a well-made traditional dress shoe. They also cannot be recrafted except through the company, which is a little more inconvient than a traditional resoling process.
But if you're looking for comfort, there's really nothing else like it on the market.
The company is having former NCAA Division I runner Juris Silenieks wear the shoes as he runs the "Hotlanta Half-Marathon" in Atlanta, Georgia, attempting to set the Guinness World Record for the fastest half-marathon time in dress shoes.