EJ Ferrer of Sole Clinics Talks Come-Up, Sneaker Restoration and Building Brand
When are shoes no longer mendable? Are there types of shoes easier to fix than others?
Many things can be fixed, but holes in patent leather cannot be done. Beat or trashed shoes, we love to work with them, but we like to keep our prices fair. We don’t want to charge more than the shoe is worth, so we try and work with the customer.
So I heard you have a team of “Sneaker Clinicians,” how many do you have on the roster right now and how does one become a member?
We currently have 10 on staff. Eight in California and two in Ohio. We like to work with skilled people who are positive minded individuals. We are always searching for interns and look to add people to our roster.
What is sole swapping? Does that affect the shoe?
Sole swapping is actually our biggest inquiry in the past couple of months. It is a very timely process. Lets say we have a pair of retro Jordan fours where the sole is falling apart. First, we take off all the damaged material. The only thing we need is the replacement sole of the right size. It doesn’t even need to be the same color bottom sole we can fix that. We take the new sole and apply it by re-sowing and gluing them together. It is a very timely process, it takes anywhere from 5 weeks to two months on that.
Have you had any famous clientele come in and ask you to save a shoe for them?
Miguel is one of our big clients. We handled some White Cement IVs from 1999 for him. His stylist hit us and we worked out some cool work for him. We also have done work with rising rap artists out in Ohio named Fly Union. We have worked with many artists and professional basketball players that we cannot mention too in depth because of contracts, but big stars.
Tell us some classic shoes you have fixed in the past
One of my favorite shoes that we handled is the Westchester player exclusive Kobe 1s. They are custom made for Westchester High in California, which is a big high school program that he sponsors. Those shoes are very limited, I think only 30 pairs have been made.
My favorite of all-time that we fixed were a pair of Roc-A-Fella Air Force Ones. Those were sent from a client in Australia. I was blown away when he hit me up. I am a huge fan of hip-hop and my favorite group ever was the Roc. The shoe is valued at well over a thousand dollars, so it was pretty cool to be working on such a prestigious shoe.
How will Sole Clinics affect the sneaker world as the company progresses?
We want to be a staple in the sneaker world not only for the older sneaker heads, but all fans. I focus energy on embracing the kids that are coming up just as much as the old heads, because I have been in their shoes, and know what it is like to be a “newbie”. The new generation, the ones camping out for what they love. We want to be user friendly to all fans at all levels, because with that comes education and knowledge of the culture. I want to develop a open minded culture. If you love sneakers, you are apart.
What keeps you grounded and your eye on the prize in regards to being one of the next great sneaker companies.
Well I am a big jet-life fan. Curren$y said once “Start your own business mind your own.” That has always been a mantra for me, to stay focused on my team and our growth, and not worry about what others do. I don’t look to my left and right and see what others are doing, I just focus on pushing forward. I stay in my lane.