Justin Schneider is the founder and originator of the concept for W&S shoes. As a track and field athlete for Notre Dame, Justin became accustomed to what the performance in a shoe actually means.
Upon graduation, he began working for Adidas, designing shoes for athletes using the latest performance technology. It was during this time that he had a conversation with a friend that would trigger Justin to drop everything and focus on a new concept, attempting to solve a problem that was far too common in the businessman’s world. Instead of forcing yourself to wear uncomfortable dress shoes all day, or switching to sneakers in-between, why not just mold the best of each together to form a superior product, killing two birds with one stone. With the idea finalized, it was time to prove the concept.
Using an old pair of traditionally constructed dress shoes, Justin put together a rough prototype before heading to Mexico, where the first W&S samples were born. To truly test if he had succeeded in his efforts, Justin laced up for a 5K and completed the race in under 20 mins — blister free and convinced the world was ready for a fresh start in defining what the modern dress shoe is. Thus, W&S was born.
What inspired you all to create this company?
I ran the decathlon at Notre Dame with the idea that this was the perfect sport to allow me to do a little bit of everything. After school, I worked at Adidas as a footwear designer where the mentality was to design better products for athletes who want to win. Coupling these two together prepared me for the challenge of both starting Wolf & Shepherd a versatile brand that takes all the comfort and innovation of a running shoe and combines this with the tradition, craftsmanship and luxury found in premium dress shoes. That’s classic style, athletic fit. Innovation and tradition.
That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have a mom who was a concert pianist, father as a business owner and the youngest of three kids who went off to do big things.
What distinguishes your company and product in the market?
We are the first mover in digitally native brands to introduce Hybrids: a fusion of premium fashion and athletic innovation. Starting with dress shoes we’ve made as comfortable as your favorite runnings shoes our products don’t compromise on quality, comfort and style. Now you can have a shoe that feels as good as it looks.