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Ireland's first sneaker label launches this week

King of Soles is the brainchild of Glenn Heaslip.

Image: Hu O'Reilly

AN IRISH BUSINESSMAN will this week launch the country’s first shoe label.

King Of Soles will make its creations available for pre-order from tomorrow, with just 300 pairs of each launch design being made.

The company’s founder Glenn Heaslip says the product is premium leather and cheaper than big brands.

Heaslip got his start selling…basically everything he could.

“I got to this point by buying all sorts wholesale and selling it, from robot hoovers to vaporisers, clothes etc, at carboot sales, eBay, local classified sites.

“I was selling a lot on eBay, different sites, and people would often tell me they loved their product & thank me. I’d think why are you thanking me? I didn’t make this, I bought it at one price & sold it at another, nothing more. I take no credit.

“If people didn’t buy a vaporiser or jersey from me, they’d buy it elsewhere, nobody remembers the eBay seller, nobody notices, you’re one of many selling the same thing, if your seller account disappeared it’d never be noted. So a desire to make something, that people loved and enjoyed was born.”

To that end, Heaslip created King of Soles with the plan of making something that will last.

I was inspired by spray painted custom shoes. I’d seen these selling at €300 a pair, as amazing as they were, the paint will inevitably one day crack and the integrity of the design be ruined. I wanted the design to last, and thought people should be getting these shoes much cheaper, much better quality, the design patterns should be printed into a leather fabric, not sprayed onto it.

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“This was something bubbling and festering in my mind for years. It was reignited when I read a piece on the businesses with the highest mark ups, I just thought the shoe industry was obscene in terms of how much they overcharge customers. My favourite shoes that I’ve ever seen, they’ve been in windows – I’ve definitely not owned them.

Also around that time, early 2014, I read a piece about planned obsolescence. Very few people can say they’ve bought a nice looking pair of shoes at an affordable price & they’ve lasted years. King Of Soles will provide shoe quality that’ll allow you to stay out of the shoe stores for a long time.

“Unlike brands that mass-manufacture low quality products in wasteful factories, King Of Soles believes everyone should have access to beautiful, affordable shoes that last a lifetime.”

fsdf Source: Hu O'Reilly

Entering into a space dominated by Nike is a fairly gutsy move, but Heaslip doesn’t lack confidence or passion.

I know I’m the underdog. It’s a tough industry to crack. I relish the challenge, I’m foaming at the mouth at the prospect.

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