Bart Walker says he was just trying to figure out an attractive, comfortable pair of shoes for himself, not start a business. He took other shoe pieces he liked or almost liked, such as a Skecher sole and with his shoe repair guy, cobbled if you will, a pair of prototype shoes. He conjured a saddle for the front of the shoe which was stitched by the tailor who hems his pants. He talked about it at a family event in Utah and the only person who paid attention was his cousin’s husband Brad. Degreed and experienced in operations with Skull Candy, Brad recognized a good idea and moved his family to Arizona to become “the brains of the operation.” Thus, began the evolutionary show of a business.
The day we visited their Tempe, Arizona headquarters was also the debut of two and a half, now wait, get this – 2 ½ week old son Henry, accompanied by Mom Erinn of course who was helping sort through samples and such. Henry was supervising from a blanket on the floor, hardly bigger than a shoe and happy as a lark. “Don’t step on the baby,” Bart warned as he ushered us through the complex. Step on him? Can we just take him home?
No, we took a pair of shoes home with a couple of saddles. See, this is the magic of Jack Grace shoes – interchangeable saddles with laces incorporated so you can match your different outfits, your mood or as all other companies seem to be touting these days, you can “just do you,” with one pair of shoes. The options are limitless with their new saddle printer that spews out multiple designs at a time on demand. Logos, names, pretty this or wild that for tournaments, outings, groups. You name it. Or simply select one of the many fabulous designs already concocted.
The shoes are made of high quality leather, weather resistant and are packed beautifully with a shoe horn, mesh bag and shoe inserts included. Brad apparently knows his “Four Ps of Marketing.” And for us, they passed the new shoes during 27 Championship Holes at Palm Valley Golf Club comfort test. That was a new test, but quite a good one. No blisters, no discomfort, no thought of “Gee I’ve got to get these off.” We told Bart if they weren’t comfortable, we would return them. Instead, we will take them on every trip because the interchangeable saddles will go with every outfit and take up little packing space. Changing the saddles is a cinch when you adopt the easy 3 step process reinforced by a video and the laces will cinch the shoe fit just like with a horse’s saddle.
Additional secret products are in the works, shhhhh, and there might just be a future branding with the name Henry, just guessing, well it was leaked, ok? Frankly, we did not expect to love these shoes, but we do and it’s not just because of cute, adorable Henry.
Photo Courtesy to Jack Grace USA Facebook Page