This shoe collector and Vibram give new life to old shoes
Linus Earth-Night guess his talent for collecting comes from his father, who over the years has amassed vinyl records and band t-shirts. Nutland took a different direction when as a freshman college student he started collecting and selling Nike sneakers online. What started out as a niche hobby that saw Nutland searching for “a little weird and obscure” Nike sneakers, from charity stores to car boot sales, quickly turned into Nike server, an Instagram platform with 15,000 subscribers. Now, thanks to a partnership with Vibram’s Repair if you care initiative, Nutland and its online store encourage everyone to think a little differently about their old sneakers.
Nike Server has been riding the recent wave of popularity that has subsumed the resale world. As consumers, especially younger ones, seek out more eco-friendly ways to shop, online forums focusing on used, reused or recycled products have reached the top. Nutland attributes much of the project’s success to this sweeping shift in young buyers, but also notes that its more open approach to sourcing and collecting sneakers has helped it differentiate itself from like-minded platforms. .
“I’m not very picky about what I buy. As long as it’s something I’m interested in and I think it’s cool I’ll figure it out, while I feel like some people are channeling really their shops in one look and some kind of product feed. I don’t really do that. I have the ACGs, I have the Terras, but I will also be selling Huarache and Air Max 90s and Footscapes, as well than weird running shoes, âhe says.
One inevitable hurdle that anyone in the sneaker-reselling world will eventually face is degradation. Sneakers, especially soles, with their mix of materials are easily susceptible to a variety of issues, whether it’s crumbling, coming apart or bubbling. âWhen I started Nike Server, I was losing a lot of money,â Nutland recalls. âI was a little naive, I sold shoes, they broke, people sent them back. I had to pay them back and ended up with a product that was not salable.
He started looking for solutions, ways to keep selling the sneakers he and his audience loved without sacrificing quality or portability. Enter Vibram and its Repair if You Care initiative, a campaign that encourages people to send in their well-worn and beloved sneakers for a sole refurbishment. Nutland discovered Vibram Academy in London when he took 20 used shoes to their workshop. A few weeks later he had 20 resole shoes that maintained the look and feel of the previous pairs but were now completely wearable.
The process is simple: Vibram retains the integrity and appearance of the sneaker’s upper, but features a state-of-the-art sole that extends the life of the sneaker while giving it a great look. fresh and completely new. Each shoe that comes out of the Vibram workshop is a unique piece.
Thus began the partnership between Nutland and Vibram. As businesses become plugged into the increased consumer desire for used and recycled products, it only makes sense that a collaboration like this will materialize. Nutland brought home the newly soled sneakers, shot an op-ed, and uploaded them to his Instagram page. âI expected some sort of skepticism from purists and true sneaker collectors who would see this as ruining a classic, but in fact, I didn’t get it. It was such a well-received project, âsays Nutland.
The marriage of popular silhouettes with high-quality soles is something he was able to highlight as another positive point of the project: âHe takes an Air Max One, but uses the high-tech hiking shoe from Vibram. So it’s kind of turning some Nike sneakers into actually better performing shoes, which is pretty cool as well. We are completely changing the use of the shoe, not only changing its appearance, but also its performance. “
Nutland works with the Vibram studio team to mix and match each upper with the optimal sole design. Recently, he traveled to Milan to lead a workshop in partnership with Vibram where they invited sneaker owners to bring their used shoes for a consultation and resoling at the brand’s headquarters. âPeople brought shoes that their parents had run marathons in and people also brought new shoes that they didn’t like because they didn’t like the sole. People could come in and basically customize their shoes with a new sole in order to wear them more. By the end of the workshop, they had reseeded over 100 pairs of shoes.
Following the success of the project, Vibram is in talks to expand the initiative to other cities across Europe. As the logistics of a project like this begin to fall into place, Nutland points to a bigger shift in mindset that he hopes to bring about: âI was really trying to emphasize the importance and possibilities of using a service provided by Vibram. I think it made people realize the possibilities of resoleing and keeping your shoes.