If you don’t know, now you know. via grungygentleman.com
Sung Choi of Clae creates versatile footwear that places emphasis on modern shapes and comfort, while keeping the design clean. It is nearly impossible not to dig their collection. The brand covers style and practicality, which appeals to a large male audience. Grungy Gentleman is a huge fan of the McQueen style shoe, which is being given away for free in theClae Sweepstakes.
Grungy Gentleman kicks it (no pun intended) with Founder of Clae, Sung Choi below…
Grungy Gentleman: What should everybody know about Clae footwear?
Sung Choi: Clae is the departure point from heritage footwear to something new; bridging sneakers and shoes with modern shapes and comfort, made to go from work to play and everything in between. We keep clean design, comfort, and versatility at the forefront of every collection we design.JONES in walnut
GG: What type of dude rocks a pair of Clae kicks?
SC: Clae is for someone looking for footwear that has a point of difference and that can carry you through most situations. All types of guys can rock a pair of Clae shoes. We like to hit the sweet spot that covers both style and practicality. And that makes Clae appealing to a whole range of different types of guys.GG: Where did you get the inspiration for your collection during the creative process?
SC: Inspiration comes from everyday living. To be more specific, it’s really about being engaged in your environment. We take bits of inspiration from everything we see around us – art, culture, film, travel, music; the things we feel passionately about in our own lives. And we also take elements of classic footwear and put our own spin on it, too. For example, boat shoe details or a silhouette that references classic work boots or desert shoes.STRAYHORN
GG: Where do the names of your shoes come from?
SC: Shoe names usually appear during sketching, when you can clearly see who would wear this particular design. Elegance and charm come through the Ellington and Strayhorn, just like the compositions of the jazz icons they’re named after. I like to pay respect to different figures that I admire who have inspired me. It’s another way those influences from art and culture make their way into the collection.ELLINGTON
GG: What are your top 3 favorite pairs of shoes that you have produced?
SC: Currently, my favorites are the Strayhorn, Jones, and the Kennedy, which sort of represent the three different influences we have going. Strayhorn is one of our more narrow, low profile dress shoe silhouettes, while Jones has more of a refined, rugged boot feel, and the Kennedy represents the more athletic side of our collection.JONES
GG: What is your everyday pair of kicks?
SC: It depends on my mood and the weather, but the three I mentioned above – the Strayhorn, Jones and Kennedy – fulfill my everyday footwear needs.KENNEDY
GG: How do you incorporate comfort without sacrificing the style of your footwear?
SC: There are a lot of women who will suffer all night in a pair of crazy heels that aren’t comfortable as long as they look good, but most men won’t do that with their shoes. So we know that no matter how good one of our styles looks, it’s got to be comfortable. There’s a school of thought that it’s better to show off the technology used in your shoes, in order to aim for a higher perceived value. But we feel that not everyone needs to know about the tech, as long as that tech serves you well. Along with that comes a sense of discovery of the comfort details we use, like the custom quality footbed, leather-lined interiors, and neoprene.GG: There is no hiding that Grungy Gentleman’s favorite pairs are being given away in our sweepstakes; the Ellington and McQueen. The Ellingtons bright red gumsoles are incredible and the McQueens soft-feeling aesthetic just wants me to toss them on. A lot of your footwear appears simple and sleek, yet they are so dope. How much does the subtle detail of texture play a roll in creating such killer shoes?
SC: We are approaching a decade of bringing refined sneakers with subtle, yet noticeable and appreciated details and comfort. In order to stand out in the sea of shoes out there, we consider all the details on the shoes that our consumer discovers over the usage of our shoes. We offer something a little more refined, a little more sophisticated, that people can wear for a long time, and not feel like it’s a trend that will start to feel dated in a month. We’re striving for timeless footwear.MCQUEEN
GG: What can we expect next from Clae?
SC: 2011 is our 10th Anniversary year, which is a big milestone for us as an independent footwear brand. We want to take that as an opportunity to look back on how much the brand has evolved and look forward to what we’ve got coming next. We feel like we’ve really hit our stride in recent seasons and you can expect us to build off of that momentum to take Clae places where it hasn’t been before!
[See more from Clae below…]KENNEDY in denim
ELLINGTON in black
STRAYHORN in walnut
MCQUEEN in camel
BRUCE in black/royal