May 26, 2024

Innovation & Tech Today


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Credit: Amberjack

Amberjack- The World’s Most Advanced Dress Shoe?

Technology and shoes aren’t new.  All the major shoe companies pour billions into research, technology and the advancement of their brands. Tech and style is what drives the industry and sales and if 2022 is any indicator consumers are still eager to plunk down cash for their footwear, spending a record $100 billion, according to data from the Footwear Distributers and Retailers of America (FDRA), up 29.8% from 2021.

People are increasingly realizing the importance of using the appropriate type of shoes for sports and activities to prevent muscle injuries, leg injuries, knee pain, hip pain, and back pain. As a result, the demand for athletic shoes is expected to register a sharp rise over the coming years.

But, what about dress shoes? Until recently the idea of a dress shoe was a well built, leather, hard sole and generally uncomfortable, leaving men (yes we are talking about men’s dress shoes) looking great but with tired, sore feet at the end of a long day.

Who needs that?

The cast of Ted Lasso sums the idea of dress shoes up perfectly in a scene where they are forced to wear them for a funeral.

Dani: I hate dress shoes so much, Jamie.

Jamie: I know, muchacho. ‘Cause remember, they ain’t made for people like us. They’re made for sheep. They’re made for Muggles. They’re made for twats.

Dani: When I get home, I will set them on fire, and their memory will burn in hell.

Nobody has bothered to disrupt the dress shoe industry — until now. The pandemic created a shift in how people go to and dress for work, which is where the team from Amberjack have planted their flag firmly in the dress shoe landscape. They call their shoes “The World’s Most Advanced Dress Shoe,”. With a claim like that we wanted to learn more.

John Peters, the founder of Amberjack didn’t just decide to make an innovative dress shoe for the heck of it. After years working with big companies like Cole Haan, Allen Edmonds, and Adidas, he was able to study consumers frustration and relaized how desolate the dress shoe industry had become.

While technological advancements in other shoe categories continued to progress, dress shoes for the most part were stuck the past. This was the inspiration to create something different.

More than a cool pair of shoes Peters and his partners wanted to create a brand that had a mission and stood for more than a P&L statement.  Beyond the shoes themselves, the team from Amberjack uses recyclable plastic-free packaging and is 100% carbon neutral.

A better dress shoe

When Amberjack was founded, it was essential that the shoes were made by a partner that aligned with its values. Its shoes are therefore manufactured by an independent family-run factory outside of Porto, Portugal. They wanted a partner that was forward thinking enough to be able to create an innovative line of shoes, but also fit into their mission statement. The factory has been operating for over 30 years and manufactures footwear for other leading brands more importantly the 50 artisans at the factory all work under a fair-wage policy.

That’s the story of Amberjack, but what makes them “The World’s Most Advanced Dress Shoe,” and are they comfortable”?

Yes. If you want to stop reading here, yes, they are insanely comfortable and look great.  We tested out their Original and Onyx Tuxedo shoe, which does look amazing with a tuxedo, but also jeans and a jacket as well as many other style combinations.

Why are they so comfy and are they worth the $189-$199 investment? Glad you stuck around to find out.

Well worth it

Amberjack combines athletic footwear technology and dress shoe tradition, similar to some other brands, but the result is something of a hybrid shoe that looks much more like a dress shoe, but feels amazing. Many other dress shoe brands have a dress shoe “upper” an athletic shoe bottom half that may feel great but isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as a traditional dress shoe.

The tech on the inside is a special kind of foam that activates with the natural heat of your body to form to your foot. It’s like memory foam but more durable, which helps increase arch support. On the outside, Amberjack uses a proprietary outsole made from high-performance athletic technology for flexibility in the front and strong hiking boot material in the back, for support. The result is a robust, good looking comfortable shoe that provides support and shock absorption.

Are they The World’s Most Advanced Dress Shoe? Probably. Do you want to run a marathon in them, no. But you can wear the heck out of them and stay comfortable.  I wore them out for a night on the town, walking the dog, to work and to the gym (not a leg day, though I did get a lot of weird looks) through all these tests the Amberjack shoe kept my feet comfy.  They are a great choice for to spruce up your wardrobe and stay comfortable at the same time.

Picture of By David Wallach

By David Wallach

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