A significant amount of hype surrounding the release of a new product within the industry is not uncommon. A product being hyped to the point of consumers creating Facebook fan pages for it, however, is a phenomenon more seldom seen. Such is the case for etnies’ brand new Marana skate shoe, which officially hit the market today, a year before its scheduled drop date after overwhelming demand from eager consumers.
The Marana; designed, tested and highly-hyped by etnies’ own professional skater Ryan Sheckler; marks the first product that etnies has released a full year ahead of schedule due to consumer demand, much of which was created via Sheckler sporting what he calls the “longest lasting shoe he’s ever skated” at such events as the X Games and Street League. The Marana’s appearances at multiple skate events, coupled with a significant amount of social media hype from Sheckler and his fans alike, has made for a product drop unlike any that etnies has seen before.
We caught up with etnies’ Global Marketing Director James Appleby to get the scoop behind the highly hyped Marana and how it speaks to the overall direction etnies and Sole Tech are headed. Here’s what he had to say:
There is an exceptional amount of hype from people about these shoes already. What is it about the Marana that is getting kids so stoked, to the point of creating fan pages for it on Facebook and other social media outlets?
The Marana has been an evolution of new experiences for the etnies brand and it has been getting so much hype for many reasons. The first being that Ryan was seen wearing the first round prototype in everything he did. The fact that Ryan’s preferred color was the red Marana, with a strong etnies branding on it made it considerably easier for the consumers to notice this new shoe consistently at many different high profile events. The second reason being that it was a product that was not in the market, so it was a shoe that no one knew about or had heard about. Normally a lot of our catalogues and future seasons are uploaded by eager reps or distributors, and with the world being connected by milliseconds this was something that had not been seen by anyone. Ryan was the only person to have any samples. The fans of Ryan starting speculating what the new shoe was, and with social media driving so much info so fast, the rest is history. The third reason was that Ryan, without asking, starting hyping the shoe himself with comments about it being the best skate shoe he has ever worn, the longest lasting and most comfortable model he has ever had.
Did you guys leak the word at all other than Sheckler wearing them at comps?
We didn’t say anything. This shoe was not supposed to be in the market for another year. We believe in hype, but no one can hype a shoe one year before it is supposed to be with consumers. This was purely consumers discussing it between themselves and following Ryan.
The Marana was originally slated for launch in Fall of 2013, but dropped November 26 of this year. Why was this shoe brought to market so much earlier than originally planned?
It was brought forward by popular demand. The consumers asking for the release date of the shoe was considerable and we felt we could not wait another year for this to be on the feet of skaters. Everybody wants things now, they prefer not to wait for anything, no matter how good it will be, and so with so much demand we decided to make production immediately and sell to retailers from a stock order that we placed. There was not even enough time to pre-sell it into the market nor get every rep a pair of samples. This product has sold globally from Instagram imagery and shots we took from the first prototypes Ryan had been wearing. Hype drove the whole project.
Is the goal to take advantage of holiday sales?
The goal was to get new product that was wanted from the etnies consumer to the market quicker.
It sounds like social media really dictated this. Have you guys ever switched up a release date before based on customer responses?
This is the first I have known about. We have pulled forward styles a season earlier because of feedback received from retailers and reps, but never because consumers have demanded it. And never a full year ahead of schedule.
Ryan Sheckler said the Marana is the longest-lasting shoe he has ever skated. Give us the specifics on what makes it different across the board.
This shoe has multiple reasons why it is the longest lasting shoe he has ever ridden, all of them relating to technology we have pulled from the many years of research within the STI (Sole Technology Institute) Lab. With the market moving towards innovation and hidden technology, we were able to utilize research that we have done over the years and capitalize that in this one style. With Ryan heavily focused on big impact skating, it was important that we built him a shoe that could withstand this again and again. The main point that makes this shoe unique is the STI Evolution Foam midsole, which is a high-impact rebound foam that does not pack out, thus giving it the ability to absorb the same shock time-after-time and of course reduce the possibility of injury to Ryan. This was a huge deal for Ryan as the high-impact rebound STI Evolution Foam meant the shoes remained as good on day one as day 15 without any loss of impact performance. The second strength to the Marana is the injected rubber toe cap. This means that there is no stitching to wear through on the toe box making it super tough. The final part is the non-slip grip outsole. The strength of the tougher durometer rubber in the parts where needed and the general benefits of a cupsole over vulcanized construction, has allowed these three ingredients to deliver the first of many new styles for etnies that will be more durable, lighter and including STI Evolution foam.
How do these attributes relate to the overall direction Sole Tech is heading?
Etnies is utilizing its DNA in skateboarding and its drive for Technology to make better product for skateboarders. The Marana is the first of many new exciting projects that will be coming from etnies not only for skateboarding, but for the other sports that etnies is involved in. STI Evolution Foam is a key technology and essence of the many products that will be seen over the next 12 months. The Fall ‘13 line has just been delivered to all sales teams globally and STI Evolution Foam is the number one technology project for the etnies brand. It is a very exciting time for product, marketing, retailers and our consumers.
How involved was Sheckler with the design and creation of the Marana?
Ryan was integrally involved with the first concepts of the style drawings, its goals and needs, right up until the testing of the prototype that has been seen all over Instagram. Ryan has such a wealth of knowledge of what he needs from a product to support his skating and the level of performance day in and day out, that it becomes imperative for him to be involved.
Check out the video below to get Sheckler’s thoughts on the Marana:
The Marana is currently set to launch with three different colorways. Are there going to be more colorways available once the shoe hits shops? If so, when will we start to see additional colorways hit the shelves?
The first two colors drop in November with the infamous Red and more subdued black model. In Spring 2013, the grey/yellow model arrives, with three new colors dropping again in April. We quick striked all the colors up until Fall ’13, as we brought it forward so early.
Where will these be distributed?
All great skate stores globally as well as etnies.com.
What else do you have in store as far as marketing through Holiday and kicking off 2013?
Etnies is 100 percent focused on the Marana until the end of 2012. Going into Spring/Summer 2013, we have more with Ryan for his 15th year with etnies, the Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree program with Matt (Wilko) Wilkinson’s model of the Dapper and the new Dory shoes, as well as the Famous Stars and Straps Collaboration with Twitch. The rest of the year holds a few secrets and some very exciting new styles harnessing the STI Evolution Foam technology even further in the Aventa and Hi Rise shoe styles. Exciting times for etnies for sure.
Follow the jump to check out the full press release on the Marana.