Brand Profile: People Footwear

on 03/31/2016 - 10:29 am

As the “athleisure” lifestyle continues to be adopted by more and more people, brands are racing to meet their needs by developing specialized fitness lines out of thin air. People Footwear, however, adopted the philosophy of “high performance leisure” back when they first launched to market and continue to lead the market to casual footwear nirvana. 

Below, we were able to catch up with Esme Smith, a brand co-founder and current director of operations, to talk about everything the brand has accomplished so far in such a short time.

 People 1


People Footwear is just about a year old now correct? What stores are currently carrying the brand?


Our first launch was in spring 2015 so product has been on shelves for exactly a year now. In Vancouver we are selling at Boys Co., Plenty, RYU, and Below the Belt to name a few. Our kids’ collection is available at Pebble, Hip Baby, and Much & Little. 

We also currently sell online and ship within Canada and the US. Globally we’re selling in 17 countries including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Dubai.



People Footwear hit the ground running with complete men’s, women’s, and kid’s collections on the market within the first year. What would you attribute that speed to market to?


Men’s and women’s was a given for us, but our sales team really pushed for us to get kid’s to the market as quickly as we did. There is still so much potential in the kid’s market and we knew we had a fresh product that parents and kids would resonate with.



The brand is already well known for regularly using techniques like 3D printing and digital knitting in production that are generally reserved for the high-tech athletic footwear industry. What other new high-tech innovations are you experimenting with at the moment?


For our Rio model, which is coming out this summer, we are using laser cutting to create the airflow ventilation. The vents are all irregularly shaped so normal drilling tools could not be used; lasers were the only way to get a clean finished edge. It’s a very cool process to watch in action.


At People we’re always looking to high performance footwear for construction and material inspiration. There is so much innovation going on in footwear right now; It’s an exciting time to be making shoes as consumers seem to be really focused on details and supporting brands that are pushing new ideas.

The Rio 


You guys trademarked a lot of the primary materials that are used in the production of People Footwear like SkyLite, SuperCush, Ezy-Brzy, and DreamKnit. Why was this so important for the company?


It sets us apart from other brands in the market place and lets consumers know we’re doing something unique.



Tell us about your inspiration behind “The Cypress” silhouette


The Cypress is really the ultimate west coast shoe. Dog walks, coffee runs, Sunday strolls, chilling in a tent… it’s such a great shoe. I fly a lot for work and it’s the absolute best travel shoe; it weighs next to nothing, is super packable, and is a breeze to slip in and out of for security checks. It feels like you’re wearing a slipper but looks so much more stylish.

The Cypress for Kids 


What People Footwear silhouettes are in your personal rotation at the moment?


Luckily I am sample size so I get to wear everything before it comes out in stores. Ever since we had the samples I’ve been wearing the Phillips High. It’s a classic high top style but so much lighter; the basket woven upper gives the silhouette a fresh take and the white on white colour is definitely on trend. I have also been wearing the new Lennon Chiller quite frequently. It’s the perfect slip on sandal with some serious styling. People either love it or hate it, which is fun for conversations.

 Phillips High

Phillips High


With a collaboration and North American launch with Kith under your belt, what companies do you have your eye on to partner up with this year?


We are super excited to be doing a collaboration with Poler this year. There will be two Lennon Chillers launching in-store this July. We are also working with the Ace Hotel on a special slide sandal that will be sold exclusively at their hotel gift shops.

People Poler

People Lennon Chillers x Poler. Launching July 1st



What are you working on next?


We are building our kids collection and looking forwards to Fall 2017 already.



Where can retailers go to see your collections?


In Western Canada, we are represented at Aftermath Marketing, Frick + Frack in Ontario and industry & zoé in Quebec. We work with The Foundation in the US and the collection is in their Los Angeles and New York showroom. For the upcoming SS17 season we will be at Agenda, Liberty Fairs, and KnowShow. 

-Vanessa Tam

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