Soft Science was established in 2013 when Scott Seamans, a founder and chief designer of Crocs, and John Duerden, the former president and COO of Reebok, set out to design a collection of supremely comfortable footwear. In the fall of 2015, I partnered with the brand to refine their existing styles and develop new concepts. The company has experienced steady growth, especially within the fishing market. Over the last several years, I've helped them capitalize on their momentum by evolving the brand strategy and updating the seasonal product line.
Market Research & Initial Concepts
The Fin collection of water shoes have been the best performing products within the Soft Science offering throughout the company's history. For the Fall 2019 season, I designed 2 new silhouettes that elevated and refreshed the category. First, I developed a project brief to guide the design process. Then I helped the team align on the brand positioning. I also researched the competitive landscape and identified key material and manufacturing trends. Taking inspiration from different shark species, I created 4 initial concepts to present to the client.
Product Design & Development
We agreed to proceed with the Blacktip Shark shoe concept and Leopard Shark boot concept. Both silhouettes were designed to attract a slightly younger consumer than the brand has targeted in the past. They feature sporty toplines and utilize contemporary manufacturing techniques. Like the existing Fin collection, the shoes are intended to be used on and around the water. The uppers are made from lightweight materials that dry quickly and water can drain out of the sole unit. I engaged directly with the brand's manufacturing partners to develop these two styles by providing detailed tech packs and specifications for the materials and colors.
Additional Footwear & Design Services
Prior to the Fall 2019 project outlined above, I worked with the brand on several other design projects. Initially, I was brought in to refine their original Fin boat shoe. The upgraded Fin 2.0 featured a painted midsole topline that helped visually reduce the height of the tall sidewall. Adding a moc toe was a nod to classic boat shoe styling and helped the toe shape look less broad. The revised style became a best seller and I designed a family of new silhouettes on this tooling including the lace-up Sailfin, the Fin 3.0 sneaker and the Fin H20 kayaking slip-on. I also designed some packaging and marketing assets.