21 Oct Expand Your Boundaries
As an avid fisherman and entrepreneur, I not only credit my fish catching ways to his incredible wading shoe, but truly appreciate the Korkers brand and it’s foothold in the global market place. Brian and his team have crafted a well honed business and product.
I have always had a fascination and love of footwear. I am not exactly sure why to tell you the truth, but I guess it started at a young age and I can probably attribute a lot of it to sports marketing and Nike. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and throughout my childhood I was very much consumed by sports with basketball being my passion. Dreaming of going pro one day, I admired the shoes of professional athletes like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Isiah Thomas who all wore Converse Weapons at the time. Then, when I was about 11 years old, Nike started to promote a high flying rookie named Michael Jordan who they nicknamed “Air Jordan”. With his dazzling dunks, unique swagger, and unbelievable competitive spirit my passion for footwear and sports grew (let it be clear that I am a die-hard Blazers fan). With every new year, I had to have 2-3 new pairs of the latest products from Nike, whether it was a new Air Jordan release or Air Max, I found myself saving my allowance to buy the newest and hottest shoes.
Today, 30 years later, I am part owner and CEO of a Portland-based footwear company that most people probably haven’t heard of (yet!). Korkers Footwear is a brand that was started over 50 years ago based on a need for better traction while navigating the rugged and treacherous riverbanks of the Rogue River near Grants Pass, Oregon. Made by hand, using scrap rubber, nylon cord, and carbide spikes, Korkers “River Cleats” were created in the basement of Korkers founder, Sherman Smith. The functional yet versatile design of the cleat system slowly grew as a favorite among fisherman who often found themselves slipping and/or falling on slippery river rock, and eventually spread to provide traction safety to a number of industrial applications such as roofing and outdoor work on snow and ice.
Korkers continues its bold and innovative approach, having the courage to take risks in order to meet the needs of those who identify with the intensity of outdoor adventure where extreme conditions can be challenging and unforgiving. Utilizing our patented and proprietary OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System, Korkers has become a market leader in the fishing boot category and a popular choice among anglers in the Northwest and worldwide. As we look forward to the future, we continue to push ourselves to develop the world’s best and most versatile traction based footwear and have expanded into the winter boot category to help people navigate slick terrain and reduce winter slips and falls.
Building the Korkers brand and the company over these last 10 years has been both challenging and rewarding work. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to blend my passion for footwear with my love of the outdoors. We have an incredible team and I’m very proud of the innovative products that we design and develop. We are also very proud and grateful to be based locally in Portland, Oregon. We are inspired every day by the rugged beauty of the Northwest and the successes that our Northwest counterparts like Nike, Adidas USA, Keen, and Danner have been able to achieve over the years. With hard work, continued innovation, we hope that Korkers Footwear will also be a household brand name.