Nice Kicks: Is the Classic Leather your favorite Reebok model of all time?
Todd Krinsky: I look at the business in two ways: in classic and in sport. On the classic side, it’s the timeless Classic Leather. On the sports side, it’s the Reebok Question Mid. For me, it’s because I was so young at the time, I had no idea what I was doing. Allen Iverson had no idea what he was doing. We basically just sat in a room, and tried to figure it out together. Now, 15 years later, it’s one of the longest running shoe legacies. It’s a special thing in my heart to see 14 and 15-year-old kids waiting in line for the shoe when they didn’t even know about the shoe [when it first came out]. For example, we just sold out of the “Georgetown” colorway. They didn’t even know he went to Georgetown [laughs]. They are learning about AI through us, which is cool.Todd Krinsky with Allen Iverson
Nice Kicks: Speaking of Allen Iverson, Shaq, Shawn Kemp, and AI’s retro signatures have all been successful. How do you decide which of the retro basketball sneakers to release?
Todd Krinsky: First, we listen to the Internet chatter as much as we can. The kids tell us what they want. It’s not us telling them. With the Internet and all the sneaker sites making it topical, it’s easier than it used to be. Back in the day, when I was coming up, we had to go into focus groups, talk to kids, and go all over the world [laughs]. Now, all you have to go is go on the Internet to see what people are talking about, and you can figure it out. That’s what we try to do a lot of. We also have kind of have a good feel. Once we put a shoe out, we see how it does and get a feel for what people want by how quickly it sells. For instance, the Kamikaze II. That was crazy, especially with the special colorways. That silhouette was really strong with the colors. We know right away the original Kamikaze needs to come out, so we are doing that. We learn a lot from what we launch, and we listen to what kids say. Some of it is just a gut feeling, though. A lot of us have been in the business for a long time, and we have a gut feeling for what we think is going to work.
Nice Kicks: Lastly, what can we expect from Reebok moving forward?
Todd Krinsky: First of all, we are going to really focus on just being Reebok. In the past you may have seen a lot of shoes from us that maybe looked like other brands could have made that shoe, you know? We are not in that business anymore. We know who we are, and we want to stay focused on who we are. For instance, the Reebok Classics, which are the classics. The other is going retro, which pay homage to the AI’s and Shaq’s. Another thing is really trying to find unique ways to fuse music culture and art culture into that. This is what we’ve always been about. We’ve always been able to have a pulse on pop culture, and bring in the right artist at the right time. We want to collaborate with the right artist from different parts of the world, whether it’s music or not, and really have this cool fusion of all these things. I think we are a big part of the fabric of the culture. It’s important for us to always stay a step ahead, and that’s what we’re doing with this fusion of art and music.Reebok Classics Fall 2013 Preview photo via @prosecco_papi