When it comes to brands, individuals often stick to the safe, predictable and the one that everyone adheres to. But in the life of a sneakerhead, standing out and being different becomes a priority. Beyond the brand clutter, one can be adventurous enough to cop and wear something different.
One of those brands is Saucony Originals.
Although, considered a new entry in the local sneaker mindset, the brand has been established even longer than its more popular counterparts. Originally made just for running, the brand is now making waves in the scene with quality models that promise not only comfort and function but a lot of style points as well.
Already popular in other countries with a hardcore following, Saucony Originals Philippines aims to be on top of the sneaker world with products that are made for actual wear and tear around the Metro. To give us the lowdown about the brand is Ms. Denice Sharina Lao, Marketing Associate for Saucony Originals.
When did the brand decide to go all out for the Philippine market?
For the people who are not very familiar with the history of Saucony, the brand has been around for more than a hundred years. In fact, the logo represents Pennsylvania’s Saucony creek going around the three boulders, where our first factory was established back in 1898.
And since then, the vision has always been to inspire the love of running. The original designs were the best choice for runners at the time, such as the Jazz Original, Shadow Original and the Grid 9000, which were groundbreaking models of their day.
In recent years, there’s been a growing appreciation of classic brands. It’s a trend that’s common in music, art, fashion and sneaker culture – a call for the authentic, a fondness for things with a long and sustained heritage. Locally it’s the same mentality: people of all ages rediscovering the value of retro kicks. It’s a great opportunity to reintroduce Saucony Originals, since our identity is tied directly to our authentic running lineage. When you look at our history, it tells of our part in the sport of running over the years – the developments, the trends, the aesthetic, the technology. We’re happy to be at a time when this is appreciated, so just as we provide the best performance footwear for today's elite athletes, we want to offer the original Saucony shoes for those who truly appreciate the historically significant innovations that got us to where running shoes are today.
To avoid confusion, what sets Saucony Originals apart from Saucony?
Saucony is known today for the award-winning running shoes with cutting edge technology, while Saucony Originals features designs from our archives that helped shaped the trainers we have now.
Each pair is a reflection of a period in running history. Take the Jazz Original, which was launched way back in 1981. At the time, the legendary shoe was worn by renowned runner Rod Dixon who was an Olympian and the winner of 1983 New York City Marathon. Nowadays, when we sport the Jazz Original, it’s to pay homage to athletes and stories of the past. Through these Saucony Originals shoes, we celebrate the milestones of Saucony in its entirety and showcase our authentic heritage in running.
How would you describe the brand’s ascent to sneakerhead tastes? Was it a conscious decision to go for that demographic or was it more of an organic process?
It was a conscious decision to embrace an organic trend. Sneakerheads are very passionate about the shoes in their closet, taking the time to learn the background and identity of each pair. Since these are people who appreciate the history of their kicks, it’s easy to see why Saucony Originals’ heritage appeals to them. As mentioned earlier, there’s a story behind each model and it’s these stories that interest the real enthusiasts.
As the sneaker scene is getting more global, there was already a demand for Saucony Originals by the time we brought it here. The buzz was enough that we were confident there would be positive feedback to the brand locally.
Your Glorietta 3 store opened on a very subtle note, yet it still created a buzz. How did you react to that?
Fans have been looking forward for a store for quite some time, so we’re very excited that it’s open and we now have a home for the brand. We wanted a place where people can get the complete Saucony experience – the vision, the history and the character. It’s somewhere runners and non-runners can drop by to get to know us more intimately.
In your opinion, what are Saucony Originals’ best traits, enough to convince brand loyalists to at least get a pair from you?
Saucony Originals is one of a handful of brands with true running heritage. Our tradition and history isn’t manufactured. Saucony is consistently faithful to its roots in running; what you see on our shelves are iconic styles from a culture that spans over a century. So when you’re buying a Saucony pair, you’re taking home a piece of running history.
We also pride ourselves on our dedication to performance and innovation, which is one of the cornerstones of Saucony Originals since its inception. Because these models – Jazz Original, Shadow Original, Shadow 5000, Grid 9000 – were the breakthrough running shoes of decades past, they pioneered technology that changed they way running shoes were made. One example is the triangular lug outsole which can be seen in the Jazz Original. The feature inspires Saucony outsole designs to this day with its traction and a piston-like suspension system.. Another is the Grid 9000, which made waves when it was first released in 1994 for its G.R.I.D. (Ground Reaction Inertia Device) technology providing maximum support, comfort and flexibility to heavy-duty runners. Since Saucony is known for being an innovator in running, the Originals collections offer real performance in addition to aesthetic value.
Finally, our limited editions and collaborations set us apart from the pack. Of course, collaborations are common in the sneaker industry, but Saucony Originals mixes things up by tapping designers and boutiques beyond the usual suspects. These pairs show different sides of the brand through the collaborators’ creative interpretations of the iconic models in Saucony’s history.
Your FeatureLV x Saucony collab shoe was hot! Can you tell us something about them? We heard they were gone in a good 30 minutes!
The Feature Las Vegas x Saucony “High Roller” is the first collaboration we released locally. Our partnership with Feature Sneaker Boutique found its inspiration in the famed casinos of Las Vegas, as reflected in the design of this Grid 9000 and Shadow 6 hybrid. It’s meticulously designed with original details that celebrate the high rolling Vegas lifestyle – from the chip graphics on the tongue and insole to the luxury finishes of the upgraded upper.
When the High Roller was released exclusively at Sole Academy, the limited pairs were all snapped up in less than an hour. As the first collaboration to be released here in the Philippines, we were amazed by the enthusiastic reception.
Any more plans of dropping more collaboration pairs since the feedback was really good?
People can definitely expect more from Saucony Originals. The success of the High Roller was a good marker for us to see how the local sneaker scene receives Saucony, so we’re looking forward to showcasing more in the future.
What are your future plans for the brand?
2015 is going to be a big year for Saucony Originals. As is our tradition, the brand is going to keep making things fresh and innovative. Stay in the loop through our Instagram account @sauconyoriginalsph.
Can you enumerate your top five favorites? Just so the Saucony Beginner has a list to start with?
For new fans of Saucony Originals, you can’t go wrong by going with the classics.
Jazz Original - Since 1981, the iconic Jazz O's have been our most popular shoe, offering superior comfort. Lots of colors and the test of time have made it a classic basic running shoe.
Jazz Low Pro – This one’s a definite classic. The Low Pro features a trimmed down sole for a better road feel, and two different colored laces for mix-and-match styling.
Shadow Original – It’s the first in Saucony’s illustrious Shadow series. The Shadow Original dates back to 1985, featuring an inserted plastic heel counter for support and contrast mesh uppers for extra breathability.
Shadow 5000 - Sleek, fast and fitted with a full compression molded EVA midsole, the Shadow 5000 has been adored by runners and sneakerheads since 1989.
Grid 9000 - Launched in 1994, the Grid 9000 provides runners with proper cushioning and support through the groundbreaking G.R.I.D. (Ground Reaction Inertia Device) technology. Re-launched in 2012, it is seen by many as the catalyst to the reemergence of Saucony Originals.
Do you have any message to those who are adventurous enough to try your brand? Shoutouts?
For those who want to see more of Saucony Originals, check out our latest collections at the Saucony store in Glorietta 3, Complex Lifestyle Store and Shoe Salon. It’s been a great ride so far and there’s more to come from our iconic lineup!
Interviewee is Denice Sharina Lao, Marketing Associate for Saucony Originals.