From the ground up

Footwear from 100 Styles and Running blurs the lines between shoe and sneaker, tradition and innovation. Melding diverse influences and inspirations, their products point first toward function, but with complete cognizance of style. For Fall 2008, we saw a tie to classic hunting attire. Lined boots, duck toes and more. For Spring, that same flare is applied to 100 Styles sneaker hybrids. New materials and color schemes are applied, pushing forward models that should soon became the calling card of the young outfit.

The company is brothers Chad and Evan Birenbaum. To complement our presentation of 100 Styles and Running’s Spring 2009, we caught up with the Birenbaum’s to learn more about their vision.

See our chat, and the shoes, after the jump.

HS: What’s the nuts and bolts, abridged, story behind 100 styles?

100 Styles: The Cliff’s Notes version is…My brother Evan and I started 100 Styles and Running about two years ago. We always wanted to have a business together and we both had a love for shoes and design. We thought there was some good stuff in the market but we really wanted to bring something new and fresh to the table. Something that has our design spin and was as comfortable as it was fashionable. With a bit of encouragement from Evan, I presented him with a a very early drawing of our Dylan shoe. Evan said, “looks fresh” and next thing I know we’re 100 Styles and Running.

HS: What are 5 styles of footwear every man should have in his closet?

100 Styles: We’d both say a nice casual boot, something that goes well with denim and can be dressed up or down. Or one of our boot/sneaker hybrids for the “what are those” head turns.

A pair of fashionable sneaks of course, maybe something not everyone and their grandma has, something that make you an individual. I’d say something that has versatility with your style in mind.

A moc-toe loafer for sure. Clean, classic but not your fathers loafers. we’d say, something that can be dressed up or down, if you’re only allowed five styles versatility is key.

A seasonal type of shoe. For spring/summer a sandal of some sort, your toes need sun once in a while. And in winter, depending on coasts of course, we’d suggest a weather proof boot. Lets just say shoveling snow in some suede Pumas while on your way out the door doesn’t offer the best results.

Oxford lace up, either low top or ankle height. Can’t go wrong it’s classic and versatile. Chad prefers the ankle height because if you wear it with denim it has a bit more attitude and with dress pants, well they look like the low cut for the most part so it’s like having two shoes in one.

HS: What are your major footwear influences?

100 Styles: We cant say that we have had one specific influence. Each of us are influenced by all kinds of great design. Chad has pulled inspiration from cars, furniture, graphic and graffiti art in his designs but we both agree that any design that is just done clean with a clear concept is appealing. Of course we are inspired by all sorts of footwear designs but not necessarily all sneakers. Inspiration can come from high fashion or say an army surplus store.

HS: Tell me a little about your luggage program?

100 Styles: Evan and I both love bags. I guess we have a lot of crap to haul around or something. We wanted to create bags that reflected the shoes. Similar colors and materials were chosen to complement our shoe line. The bags have a great attention to detail and are well constructed. We wanted our bags to be smart, so we put a lot of time in developing something that was fashionable and functional at the same time. Our bags have lap top padded compartments, superior linings and contrasting straps and rivets. If you look at our shoes and then our bags, you can see that the bags were influenced by the shoes and they work hand in hand as a collection. We created a messenger, a backpack and a weekender with much more to come.

HS: Bags are something men often disregard, what do you see as essentials there?

100 Styles: You need a bag that matches your lifestyle needs. We feel a lot of people carry the wrong bag for their personality or lifestyle. Chad carries a laptop with him almost everywhere I go. He wears our messenger bag because it holds a ton of stuff. His every day totting includes: 1 Mac Book Pro, a few design books, power cord, two Pantone swatch books, magazines, portable hard drive, eye glass case, protein shaker cup, markers, a mighty mouse and half a bag of Skittles (he functions on a daily regiment of those things), not to mention there are still a couple of empty compartments. So that bag is perfect for his lifestyle. If you’re a “I’m going to the gym” after work guy, the weekender holds clothes, shoes, a laptop and looks great going to work and walking from the gym. If you’re a student or joining the new backpack hip hop movement, our back pack is right for you.

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