Fashion / Shopping

Stylish New Shoe Store Brings Foot Power to Hot Heights’ Development — TAFT Strolls In

The Founder is Surprised by Texas

BY // 07.29.21

European-inspired men’s footwear brand TAFT has rolled into Houston with a sleek brick-and-mortar at the new M-K-T Heights mixed-use development, bringing its signature fabric and leather designs to  eager customers, who previously only had access to the shoes online. The new Houston store stocks 69 boot, shoe and sneaker styles along with T-shirts and accessories. This is only TAFT’s fourth brick-and-mortar boutique in the entire country — and second in Texas.

TAFT footwear has been rocking city pavement, park trails and even rough terrain with a mix of jack boots, wingtips, hiking boots, sneakers and loafers since the line’s founding in 2013. The shoes are crafted in Portugal and Spain where they are hand-cut and hand-painted with the marriage of materials such as suiting wool and woven upholstery fabric with leather presenting a special design element.

The Kashmir Collection, for example, features a multi-color metallic paisley design in both jack boot and sneaker styles while the spanking new Russell loafer in vibrant brocade with a brass Gucci-like horse bit is sure to claim a strong fan base. The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), LA Dodgers star Mookie Betts and Miami Heat forward Andre Iguodala are already frequent TAFT customers.

The Jack Boot in Eden
The Jack Boot in the Eden collection is TAFT’s top-selling shoe.

Currently, the brand’s most popular collection is the Eden with the overall best-seller the Eden jack boot, which is a floral jacquard weave with black leather heel and toe cap and leather sole.

PaperCity reached out to TAFT founder Kory Stevens for his take on the new Houston store and the shoe business:

PC: What brought you to Texas?

SHOP

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  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
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  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North

KS: When I first started TAFT, I honestly didn’t see Texas being a powerful hotspot for us, but it has turned into one of our strongest markets. Once we opened our New York City store, we knew it was time to turn our focus to Texas.

Houston is now our second store in Texas (Dallas was first) and likely won’t be our last based on the strong performance so far.

PC: Where do these creative ideas originate? 

KS: I try to take inspiration from what I see out in the wild. My camera roll is full of pictures from my daily life where I see an interesting color combination or some beautiful texture. Nature and daily life always have the best ideas.

Also, a lot of the magic of what we do is in working harder than anyone in the footwear world on the sourcing side of things. Digging deeper in the backrooms of mills and tanneries around the world. Thinking outside of the box from a materials perspective — looking at furniture fabrics and interior design materials and then applying them to footwear.

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The Russell Loafer in Fiore, left, and in the Eden Collection are recent additions to the TAFT inventory.

PC: What sets TAFT apart?

KS: TAFT was was born out of a mutual love for uniquely designed and well-made products. We’re meticulous in our work, intentional in our designs, and obsessive over what makes the cut. We design with boldness in mind to ensure all of our products are as unique and stylish as our customers.

Every single detail of our shoes and boots are considered. From the laces to the eyelets, we take the extra steps to ensure the end product is perfect. Each product is hand-painted, hand-cut and hand-stitched. This allows for only the best parts of the leather to be used.

Every single part of the process is guided by hand. Our products are built-to-last, and each pair will look beautiful right out of the box, and for years to come. You will not find boots and shoes like TAFT anywhere else.

Notably, brand founders Kory and Mallory Stevens started TAFT as a men’s no-show-sock brand and quickly transitioned to an emerging footwear business following a viral post on Reddit.

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