Wolf and Shepherd Is Bringing New Elevated Footwear to Shape Your Wardrobe

A footwear brand for all of your needs

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Wolf & Shepherd

Wolf & Shepherd are back with a brand new collection. Known as a brand merging athletic performance with everyday style, the company has just released its new Cruise Collection, which is a smart casual, genderless collection for everyone. This Cruise Capsule marks the first time the brand has expanded upon men’s footwear, as the company gained its footing as a brand re-inventing the traditional hard-soled dress shoe, with the pandemic paving the way for more versatile and everyday fashion, Cruise effortlessly elevates any outfit—whether paired with denim, athleisure or workwear.

There are three different shoes in this new collection: The Lace Up, The Mule, and The Tre, and the collection is available to shop now. We chatted with the husband and wife founders of the company, Justin and Hope Schneider, to learn more.

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Wolf & Shepherd

ONE37pm: Nice to be chatting with you two! Can you first start by telling us about Wolf & Shepherd and how the brand came to be?

Justin Schneider: Wolf & Shepherd was inspired by the idea that you should have a pair of shoes you can do anything in. Hope and I met running competitive track and field at Notre Dame, and our shared passion for sport still remains core to the business today. 

I began my career in footwear innovation starting as an industrial designer at a few big performance footwear brands and became very familiar with the world of sneaker-driven technology. But, I felt a whitespace in the market. No one was approaching premium footwear creation like a sports performance brand, and so Hope and I saw an opportunity to create a novel design ethos by introducing the innovation found within the sports footwear industry to the world of dress shoes.

We noticed a massive trend within urban areas of men wearing sneakers to commute to work, only to change into dress shoes at the office. We sought to shift the way consumers thought about getting dressed for work by marrying the comfort of an athletic sole with the aesthetic of a dress or casual shoe. This distinguished perspective on footwear led us to our first product – a shoe that was comfortable enough to commute in, yet didn't compromise on a stylish silhouette appropriate for an office setting. 

Since we introduced our first product in 2015, we have continued to prioritize design and function, with a keen attention to detail. Our energy for sport remains central to the Wolf & Shepherd brand, and our shoes are designed to adapt to the demands of everyday life. We will continue to innovate and optimize the properties of the running shoes Hope and I began our journey in while balancing an eye-catching look and unfathomable comfort.

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Wolf & Shepherd

ONE37pm: Now you guys just released a new collection that includes three models correct?

Hope Schneider: Correct! Cruise is the latest collection from Wolf & Shepherd and was more than two years in the making. As with every new product we develop, we started by identifying a gap in the marketplace. With Cruise™, it was really an opportunity to offer a California lifestyle silhouette, catered to everyone. 

So, to fill that demand, we created a collection that catered to everyone, consisting of classic shapes for a unique style while maintaining gender-friendliness. We designed Cruise as a smart casual line offering an elevated take on everyday styles. We love that Cruise’s aesthetic can be dressed up or down – it makes for this duality that’s consistent across many of our products.

To achieve this, we leveraged 3D modeling that enabled us to meticulously perfect little details – from calibrating a fast tapered rake (the angle of the shoe sole) to the sleek cupsole profile, while maintaining the sensation of a comfortable pair of trainers. Typically, there is a 4-6 week turnaround between prototypes for larger sportswear companies, meaning they only have up to 3 rounds of prototyping before they go to market.

But, because we used a design process called rapid prototyping, through CAD software and 3D printing, we were able to accelerate the shots on goal, engineering nearly 4x the amount of samples to generate the exact balance of look and feel we were aiming for. It’s this attention to detail that really sets Wolf & Shepherd apart.

Wolf & Shepherd

The collection includes three styles:

  • The Lace Up: A modern update on the classic lace-up silhouette, with a sleek design that emphasizes simplicity. It features either Italian nubuck or Italian calfskin upper for the honey colorway.
  • The Tre: This style boasts a low profile and a layered upper for elevated style. This can be dressed up or down, while still pushing the envelope of style, with enough comfort to push you out of your comfort zone. It’s available in white and navy and features an Italian nubuck upper.
  • The Mule: Easy on and easy off – it’s designed to quickly become your go-to, no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing. It features an Italian nubuck upper or Italian calfskin for the honey colorway.

ONE37pm: What is the inspiration behind the make and models of the shoes you guys are offering in this collection?

Hope Schneider: The Cruise Collection was inspired by our native California lifestyle, with a working blend of style and comfort that’s brought to life through incredible craftsmanship and premium materials. Our vessel-like, cupsole construction houses the comfort and innovation of a premier running shoe while executing a sleek silhouette using premium materials used with luxury products. We worked with Mesrop Megrabyan and Meline Katchi – two very established designers in the footwear space with more than 15 years in the industry designing shoes for Nike (Fear of God), Adidas, Ivy Park, Alexander McQueen and more.

It felt really impactful to have two husband-and-wife teams joining forces, and it was essential to have both male and female perspectives throughout the design process to ensure Cruise would cater to everyone. It’s unique to have this kind of close collaboration, especially in the midst of Covid, but we were intentional with every element to strike the right balance of timeless silhouettes and athletic heritage.

Wolf & Schneider

The Cruise Collection is made of Italian textiles, specifically soft Italian nubucks and calf-skins, lined with a premium scuba and track-inspired rubber outsoles. All styles within the collection feature an aesthetic that is clean, simple,  work appropriate, comfortable and fashion-forward all at once. As our customers are going back to work and are more on-the-go than ever in this post-pandemic era, we wanted to provide them with various options they can wear, no matter the activity at hand. From jeans to sweatpants to slacks, trousers, chinos, skirts and more, Cruise complements any style and gives people more choices than just ballet flats or sneakers.” 

ONE37pm: What does a day in the life look like for you all?

Justin Schneider: The day starts early for Hope and me. With five kids six-years-old and under, we always have an early riser act as our alarm clock at around 5:30-6:15am. To allow the others to rest, I'll bring the early risers to our living room, where together we share our coffee and milks. I'll check a few emails from our factories or those on the East Coast before starting breakfast and getting the kids packed for school.

At 7:30am, our nanny arrives to help watch the younger kids while we get out the door for drop offs. Hope and I then usually take an hour to walk The Strand (a Manhattan Beach, beach pathway) to discuss the key activities of the day, both for home and work, with our first or second coffee in hand. We then head into the office a little after 9:00am for our in-office meetings. We schedule our first meeting of the day at 10:00am and start the last meeting no later than 3:00pm, so we can pick up our children from school around 4:30pm. When we don't have essential meetings, I use the flex time to drive individual projects or think about the next unlock for the business to progress.

Following the kids’ pick up, it's block-and-tackle with tub time, dinner, and getting little slices of 1-on-1 time with the kids. The beauty of my relationship with Hope is that we cover each other in every aspect of our lives — we have each other’s backs at home and at the office. Our kids are down by around 7:30pm, sometimes that drags to 8:30pm before we come up for air. If there are other necessary things at work we need to address, we try to tackle those before bed. Although later work nights were normal when getting the business started, we typically find ourselves working at night when there is a new product launch, large initiative like Black Friday/Cyber Monday, or another major strategic initiative taking place at Wolf & Shepherd.

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Wolf & Shepherd

ONE37pm: What excites you the most about what you do each day?

Justin Schneider: The most exciting thing about what we do each day is driving Wolf & Shepherd towards higher potential and doing that with an amazing, growing team. It used to be just Hope and me driving all the initiatives in the business, but now Wolf & Shepherd is a lot bigger than the two of us. It's pretty energizing to look around our office and see incredibly talented and driven people equally invested in the vision of what Wolf & Shepherd is becoming and the success we are having in the lifestyle footwear space.

We know the talent Wolf & Shepherd has attracted will be a major part in actualizing our dreams for this business, and it’s exhilarating being on the ride with others who are equal or superior in talent, driving outcomes at Wolf & Shepherd.

Wolf & Shepherd

ONE37pm: What’s next?

Justin Schneider: Cruise is an evolution for Wolf & Shepherd – it marks our continued evolution from a company reimagining the classic men’s dress shoe to now a lifestyle brand that has something for everyone. We’re excited to continue this journey, tap into a new audience with more everyday and wearable styles, and find new ways to show up and engage with our customers through a variety of channels. Whether that’s expanding our website offerings or exploring physical manifestations, it’s something we are currently exploring.

Innovation is at the forefront of our approach, and we’re constantly looking at ways to improve upon our exciting offers as well. Additionally, we plan to release more styles within Cruise and continue to obsess over our UX (or consumer journey), to enable our customers to search for footwear that meets their fit requirements.

You can keep up with all of Wolf & Shepherd's latest updates via their official website.

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