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Men's Fall Fashion Issue | Metropolis / Snapshots from
the Center of the Universe

Let shoes be our muse

September 12, 2004|VICTORIA NAMKUNG

They may not be identifiable by a swoosh or three sporty stripes, but Santa Barbara-based Medium Footwear is stepping into the market one shoe at a time. The year-old firm is a collective of designers who receive individual credit and profits from the shoes they create. Every shoe features the designer's signature, which may be an industry first for non-celebrities. "We wanted to give something back to the designer who's working all night," says CEO Scott Milden, who founded the company with Eric Meyer, his old boss at Simple Shoes, a Santa Barbara-based brand.

The eight designers on the Medium team, who refer to themselves as "cultural creatives," are trying to shift the status quo by keeping the focus on good design and accessibility. "I appreciate going into a Prada store, but I'm not going to pay $400 for a pair of shoes," says chief design officer and co-owner Coleman Horn, who previously designed for Nike and Saucony. "We want it to be attainable by the average computer programmer." The result is a collection of luxury sneakers, leather boots and driving moccasins that retail from $85 to $150. This season, the Alchemist--a suede-and-nylon argyle running shoe in such bold colors as pink and green--is a comer. Other styles feature contrasting top-stitched seams, gum rubber outsoles and hand whip-stitching. "We're all about authenticity so we're not marketing with supermodels," Milden adds. "We just want to make shoes that you're stoked on."

Medium Footwear is available at American Rag Cie and Scott Hill in Los Angeles and online at mediumfootwear.com

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