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Sat, Jan 09, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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G Whiz, What style
by Noelle Loh

Do not sniff at the bottom of sneakers or boots from G-Star Raw Footwear.

The shoe label by Amsterdam-based denim brand G-Star puts its heart even into its soles.

Flipping over a sneaker to reveal a rubber sole with two textures that give added grip support, marketing and communications manager Matthew Griffiths, 39, said: “This sole was inspired by that of an old Japanese fishermen’s shoe.”

He was speaking to Urban at the G-Star Raw Footwear booth at the spring/summer 2010 Bread & Butter fashion trade show in Berlin in June.

The label has made its Asian debut at multi-label shoe shop 33thirty-three, which opened in Paragon last Friday.

Started in 2007 by Stephen Palmer, chief executive of British shoe company Overland Shoes Limited, which holds its official global licensee and distributor rights, over 300 styles are produced each season under three categories – military, utility and sport. Prices range from $193 to $633.

Designs feature the same mix of industrial-inspired aesthetics and clever craftsmanship that mark G-Star clothing.

Like the clothes, each footwear style has an unusual mix of materials.

For instance, this season’s Auger Samovar Denim high-top sneaker for men is made from nubuck and full-grain leather, denim, suede and micro mesh.

The shoes put a spring in the wearer’s step too.

The outsoles are created through vulcanisation, where rubber is baked in steel moulds at high heat.

Often used in the production of tyres, this process rearranges the rubber molecules so that the material becomes stronger, more flexible and holds its shape better.

Griffiths tells us more about the shoe label.

What are the distinctive features of a G-Star Raw Footwear shoe?

There are always multiple logos which can range from the 3301 imprint often found on the apparel – 33 was the number marked on the first batch of denim the brand bought while 01 stands for its quality – to the postal code of the brand’s head office.

There is also always a mix of materials and stitching. Finally, there is a unique outsole design, the most expensive part of the shoe to make because a mould must be created specially for it.

We come up with one for each of about 50 families of shoes in a collection and it never gets repeated.

How do you ensure that your shoes stay true to G-Star’s signature look?

Our entire production process involves our own designers and G-Star’s design department.

We’ve had to learn about the fabrics that they tend to use while they’ve had to learn about the footwear construction process.

We are very aware of the G-Star DNA which mixes the raw with the chic. The designs possess a distinct masculine boot-inspired style.

How do you make them appeal to women?

Women generally prefer more feminine styles as well as colours. The colours traditionally favoured by G-Star, however, are denim, grey, white and black.

For spring/summer 2010, we’ve introduced, for the first time, colours such as red, blue and green not only on the outer parts but also on the insoles.

We don’t want a collection to be full of colour – it would detract from the brand’s DNA – so we’ve gone for more subtle details that inject colour instead.



Inspired by a traditional Taekwondo shoe, the soles have a slightly rounded profile to aid mobility. Their uniformly shaped ridges with an uneven texture also offer maximum grip.


The soles are inspired by that of a vintage Japanese fishermen’s shoe. Composed of two textures – checks and thick stripes – they offer good grip and support.




Inspired by a military sniper shoe, the soles have multi-directional ridges for maximum grip. The sole design also resembles that of a running shoe which is said to enhance speed.


Inspired by plimsoll sneakers used in basic military training. Together with the authentic logo stamp, the sole’s classic-style ridges give the shoe a vintage industrial feel.

This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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