Fashion

Rockport Makes Comfortable, Super Flexible, And, Yes, Handsome Shoes for Men

The American footwear brand that popularized walking shoes now offers sleek and stylish options for men.
IMAGE Instagram/ @rockport
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You’d be forgiven for thinking that Rockport shoes are only for very old people who demand easy clunkers for very tired feet. When the brand was introduced in 1971, the thrust was all about creating comfortable shoes for walking—those walking shoes—so, yes, it did attract plenty of feet attached to people who were older, maybe Boomers.

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But things change. A brand that has been around for a while knows it has to keep up with the times. Now, the American shoemaker is repositioning itself as more than the footwear company that made walking shoes popular, but a complete lifestyle brand with all sorts of options for various activities. 

Its expanded styles also reflect modern shapes—still traditional but less chunky and all comfortable—to cater to young buyers in their late 20s and 30s. What remains the same, though, is its original conceit of comfort achieved by infusing technology in every shoe.

The History of Rockport Shoe Company

But first, a history: With the intent to create casual and dress shoes that possessed the athletic qualities of a sneaker, the father-and-son pair of Saul and Bruce Katz founded Rockport in Marlborough, Massachusetts, in 1971. Thus, the walking shoe happened. Later, as a testament to the comfort of its tech-driven shoes, Rockport’s then vice president, Tony Post, completed the New York City Marathon wearing a model from the Dress Sports line, in 1990. 

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In the succeeding years, Rockport continued to build on its strengths as makers of high-tech shoes, introducing Total Motion, its signature innovation that provides day-to-night comfort, in 2013, and Pulse Tech, which gives each step a return of energy or a soft bounce, in 2019.

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Also interesting is this highlight: As if predicting our present situation of being extreme germophobes, Rockport created machine-washable shoes. This was in 2005. 

The New Look of Rockport Shoes for Men

And now, it’s 2020. Things are different and strange but life goes on. While we have fewer occasions to wear shoes (are you mostly barefoot in your pandemic cave?), it’s still good to know what’s out there. Maybe you will wear the following when the world opens up again or maybe you will send these out as gifts next month. 

To start, there is the Ferrari of Rockport’s newest collection. The Total Motion Advance Wingtip is as advertised: The style follows the figure of a sleek wingtip dotted with decorative broguing, but performs more like a sneaker as, according to the company, it features a firm but flexible sole, absorbs impact and provides stability, and feels light.

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The team at Primer Group, which now manages and distributes the brand in the Philippines, also shares an incredible feature of the model: The leather shoe can bend in half with ease and then return to its original shape without damage. This speaks to the shoe’s ability to adapt to however you walk or run, skip or jump. (We’ve yet t6o test this nifty trick, but we’ll let you know how it goes.)

This take on wingtip also reflects who Rockport is talking to right now: young businessmen and creatives who require something stylish but also something that works hard. Unless you flip over the wingtip to reveal its Herculean sole (it looks like a spaceship), you’ll never know that this is a tech shoe. In other words, this is for the boardroom, as well as running to several boardrooms.

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Other things to consider in the new collection include the penny or tassel loafers. In leather and suede, the Malcom promises both comfort and support (it has a rubber outsole grip) for every day but will be best suited for a do-nothing weekend. 

There is a sleek leather sneaker, too, dubbed the Total Motion Lite Lace-to-Toe Sneaker (a mouthful). In certain colors, this mimics more expensive designer sneakers. More important, it perfectly shows the evolution of Rockport, a footwear company that originally set out to create comfortable leather shoes to rival sneakers. Now, it makes both. 

Glorietta 3, Trinoma, and Ayala Cebu and Res-Toe-Run

 

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Clifford Olanday
Editor in Chief, Esquire Philippines
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