October 22, 2013 BY Aaron Kr. / 1
You’d be hard pressed to find too many individuals who have had more impact on the sneaker game over the past few years than Ronnie Fieg. Through his collaborative footwear endeavors, Ronnie has not only made a name for himself in the industry, but has also helped to influence a lot of the popular trends swirling through the market today. Whether it be his distinct methods of color-blocking or the choice materials he uses, it’s pretty safe to say that his successful sneaker design formulas have not gone unnoticed by brands and his collaborating peers alike.
That keen eye for detail and understanding of what the consumer wants is not something that developed overnight though. Ronnie has been at this for a while and has worked his way up through the business to get where he is today. He started working at a David Z. footwear location in Queens at the age of 15, and it didn’t take long before he climbed the ladder from the stockroom up to store manager and eventually became a buyer, at which point he got to work closely with David, himself, getting an education on all new angles of the shoe business along the way.
In 2007, the chance finally came his way to start fulfilling his dreams at the design table, as he whipped up five different colorways of the Asics Gel Lyte III for David Z. that were all met with quite the warm reception. At the time, Asics and its GL3 model were sort of lingering in obscurity within the sneakerhead world. While the brand and that model in particular had a small cult following at the time, it was Ronnie and David Z. that put it back in the spotlight and reminded everybody what a great shoe it was, eventually even restoring it back to its proper place in sneaker history as one of the most progressive and iconic designs ever.
From there, the fever only grew as Fieg helped create a slew of different Gel Lyte III colorways that seemed to gradually get more and more coveted by consumers with each new release. The
collaborative onslaught not only helped to thrust Asics back into collectible sneaker relevance, but established and solidified Ronnie’s name and reputation to a point where the stage was finally set for him to branch out on his own. In 2011, Ronnie Fieg opened his first Kith retail location, where he could not only focus on developing his own brand, but also venture out into apparel design in addition to the footwear collabs.
Kith now boasts two locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn and has partnered with a who’s who of brands like Sebago, New Balance, Timberland and Clarks to name a few. But at the root of it all was the foundation that Ronnie built with Asics – a relationship that has helped both sides to flourish and is constantly evolving through new collaborative projects. What all started with the Gel Lyte III model has eventually expanded into memorable versions of the GT-II and Gel Saga as well, but now as Asics begins to open their vaults and resurrect some of their other ’90s classics, it’s apparent that the sky is the limit for more enticing offerings to still come our way.
With the chance to work with one of his all-time favorite models, the Gel Lyte V, Ronnie pulled no punches in executing one of his most intricate and visually stunning creations to date. Dubbed the “Volcano”, Fieg brings the Gel Lyte V to life in a way that completely transcends its performance running roots into a luxurious lifestyle realm that fits it like a glove. We recently had a chance to catch up with Ronnie to get the story on his latest collab shoe straight from the source, as well as his thoughts on his relationship with Asics, the state of the collab game, and more. Continue on for the full interview and good luck trying to score a pair of the Volcano’s when they hit Kith in-store and online this Friday, October 25th.