When you think of Ireland, what comes into your head? Guinness, the Craic, green rolling fields, Father Ted, U2, shamrock, literature giants like Joyce, Behan, Yeats, Wilde, maybe diddly diddly music. But I guarantee trainers or sneakers certainly wouldn’t be at the top of your list, well that might well be about to change, let us introduce you to KING OF SOLES.
Glenn Heaslip is the Mastermind behind Ireland’s first Sneaker brand, King of Soles dreamed up over three years ago while he was bartending for half minimum wage in Spain, working 16 hour shifts, and getting one day off a month. He returned back to his Mammy in County Cavan for Christmas 2013, with €700 to his name and his trusted laptop all time this concept was bubbling and festering in his mind for years. It was reignited when he read a piece on the businesses with the highest mark ups, and thought the shoe industry was obscene in terms of how much and how regularly they overcharge customers. Glenn sat down made accounts on ebay and other local classified ads sites and started ordering all sorts of stuff wholesale, from facial toners, to robot hoovers to jerseys, vaporizers, you name it he sold it. All the time with this concept burning a hole in his head.
He was also inspired by graffiti & spray painted custom shoes. He’d seen spray painted shoes selling at €300 a pair, was impressed but always thought to himself, the spray paint will inevitably one day crack and the integrity of the design ruined. As Glenn himself says, “I wanted custom shoes but I wanted the design to last. I also thought people should be getting these shoes much cheaper, and much better quality, the design patterns should be printed into a leather fabric, not sprayed onto it.”
Having worked on the shoes for over 3 years now, perfecting them, every time he’d get a sample made, Glenn would see room for potential improvement. The ethos behind the business is simple, “Very few people can say that they have bought a nice looking pair of shoes for an affordable price and that they have lasted years. King Of Soles will provide shoe quality that will allow you to stay out of the shoe stores for a long time. Unlike brands that mass-manufacture low quality products in wasteful factories, at King Of Soles we believe everyone should have access to beautiful, affordable shoes that last a lifetime.” Says Heaslip, “I’m selling Hightops made from Premium Action Leather Upper, with a Mesh Lining, Chambray Insole, TPR Outsole, and each Pair comes with a set of Custom Screw On Lace Tips, with King Of Soles and the Crown, laser etched onto them. All of this at €70 per Pair! Also my Screw On Lace Tips, screw directly onto the lace, and are tightened with the included screwdriver.Whereas others, have a tube which slides over the lace, and the Lace Tip screws onto the tube. Of course what happens is the tube just slides off and both are lost, that’ll never happen with mine!” Well you can’t argue with him and like many of his countrymen he has the gift of the gab.