Damian Van Zyll De Jong is aware his footwear may have its lookalikes, but he knows his have something the rivals do not: an element of cool, both literally and figuratively. Van Zyll De Jong’s Vancouver-based company, Native Shoes, has taken classic sneaker and loafer silhouettes and applied a bit of technology to how they are produced. Made with injection-moulded EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate), the shoes are lightweight, waterproof, odour resistant, and animal bi-product free. For a business that is only three years old, their product’s global popularity is booming—Native footwear is now available in over 30 countries worldwide.
But this doesn’t mean Native Shoes is turning its back on its homeland. “Our Canadian roots naturally led to the first winter styles for the collection,” Van Zyll De Jong says. The results are brightly-hued hiking boots and lace-up rain boots, which come with candy-coloured laces to match. These, along with a recent boot collaboration between Native and Marc Jacobs (available only in Marc Jacobs boutiques in the U.S., unfortunately), remind us that form doesn’t necessarily always have to follow function.