Founded by the Price brothers, FEIT has been admired for some time—not only for their minimal design aesthetic, but also their dedication to "fighting" the retail system and swimming against the current. This battle includes having craftsmen sew and last each shoe, using only biological materials (from their vegetable-dyed leather to soles made from milk from the rubber tree), banning harmful chemicals and making (in most cases) just 60 pairs of each style as a statement—all to minimize environmental impact and waste.
It's taken the Sydney-based brand nearly a decade to bring their handmade leather shoes Stateside, even though Tull Price (who started the cult sneaker brand Royal Elastics at just 20 years old) has been residing in NY as the footwear director for Rag & Bone. He and his brother Josh (a former professional DJ) have made a conscious decision to focus on environmental sustainability and quality, choosing to keep the business small.
FEIT quietly entered the US when NYC's Dover Street Market opened around Christmas time last year but have been a little more vocal about their recently opened shop-in-shop at Assembly New York. The Lower East Side boutique certainly shares the same minimalist yet statement-making vibe as FEIT, making them a perfect fit. "Girls have been dragging us into Assembly for years, as Greg [Armas, owner of Assembly New York] has such a great eye for new product," Josh tells CH. "We were excited when he approached us to work together."
While worldwide shipping is available from FEIT's website, the shop-in-shop offers a nice opportunity to try on the shoes in person, brush your fingers over the soft leather and examine the craftsmanship up close. The shoes are designed to be worn without socks, so it's vital that you feel the breathable hide on your bare skin. There is a variety of different styles, including new spring styles like the Hand Sewn High Suede hi-tops and the dressy yet casual Bio Leather Trainer (which feature a buffalo leather footbed).
Josh reveals that a second version the Bio Trainer will be released in August, and notes that more than a few women have asked about female-sized option. "If we continue to get such requests, we will definitely do so. It is, however, a long and expensive process developing that sole, so we need to be sure," he says.
FEIT shoes start at $400 and can be purchased in-store or online at Assembly New York, as well as through their own website. There are 18 pairs of each style available at Assembly New York and the shop-in-shop will run through mid-May.
Images courtesy of FEIT