After K Swiss bought Royal Elastics, an "ath-leisure" shoe company Tull started when he was just 19, he wanted a change from the fast-paced "high volume, mass produced" shoe business. "I became disenfranchised with that because it become all about growth and price. We were just creating so much product continuously that I wanted to create a new business that was all about craft, quality, materials, and construction," he said.
So he decided to start again—but smaller this time. In 2005 he and his brother Tull launched Feit (the German spelling of fight), a name inspired by Tull's "struggle to do something you love and to do it well."
The Price brothers scouted for ten years before discovering the two groups of craftsmen in Italy and China that meet their exceptionally high standards. The leather they use comes from Italian tanneries that favor the older—and more environmentally conscientious process—of vegetable dying, which uses less metals. Each shoe takes approximately two weeks to make: two to three days of sewing plus a week or more on a last, where the leather is shaped in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room. You can watch a video of one of the shoes being put together below.
It's a slow process, to be sure. "A lot of what we're doing are just old shoe-making techniques that got lost over time because people want to increase the volume," said Tull. The small team makes a limited run of just 180 shoes in each style (60 of each color). But it's the reason a pair of Feit shoes, which retail from $400 to $550, last so long—plus, because they don't use any toxic glues or synthetic materials, they never ever smell. "I wore a pair of hiking shoes almost every day for two summers—without socks—and there was no issue," Tull added.
You can buy a pair in their Sydney shop or online at either LNCC or the Feit online store. We love the Hand Sewn Low in greige, the Hand Sewn Slipper in marine, and the Bio Trainer 1 in marine. And no—no large wholesale orders, please.
Watch a video of a Feit shoe being made by hand:
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