Located in Berlin, Germany, and founded in 2003, Solebox is today one of the leading sneaker stores worldwide. With their steady collaborations with New Balance, adidas, Reebok, Puma and many more, the Solebrothers, Hikmet and Suekret Sugoer, are a major influence on todays sneaker business. It all started in 2003 with the idea to bring rare sneakers from the overseas to Germany and Europe. We talked to the mind of Solebox, Hikmet, to know more about Soles, Solemarts and what’s happening in Berlin.
“Solemart is the first sneaker swap meet in the German speaking area. There are also a few imitators, but that’s how it is. We provide a forum to all the collectors, sneaker nerds and interested people. A real life forum, where you can meet and interchange with each other.”
Format: You have an online and a flagship store in Berlin. Which came first, and which has contributed more to your success?
Solebox: We had our physical store first, and we are more into that local retail thing. Online stores are important, but not most important. We should support the local trade more.
Format: Does being based in Germany have a part in your success?
Solebox: It’s a fact, that we love and live what we sell. That’s our world, our passion. And maybe also the cause for our success.
Format: Is there a reason that you don’t stock Nikes in your shop?
Solebox: Maybe you should ask Nike that question. I guess the responsible persons have an answer for that. We love every brand in the market.
Format: You guys have produced so many trainers. When can we expect an old school basketball shoe made by Solebox?
Solebox: Actually, November 20th, 2009 is the perfect time for some good basketball shoes. I’m sure you’ll like them. But I have to admit that there’s a very limited quantity available.
Format: What is ‘Solemart’?
Solebox: There are three Solemarts now. Solemart is the first sneaker swap meet in the German speaking area. There are also a few imitators, but that’s how it is. We provide a forum to all the collectors, sneaker nerds and interested people. A real life forum, where you can meet and interchange with each other.
Many people know shoes and people behind them from the Internet. Solemart is the chance for everybody to see them live and get to know them. For the perfect finish, we give diverse brands the chance to introduce themselves to their target group, collect ideas, present products and sell them. It’s a really incredible event. By the way, the next Solemart will take place in Amsterdam, Netherlands. You’ll get more info soon.
Format: You have also launched an online Solemart. What can we do there?
Solebox: Many people are bothered by the big online auction house that we all know. That’s why we launched www.solemart.de – a sneaker auction site. We know the most people and we will do our best to ensure that there won’t be any fakes offered. And the best point is, that it is free for buyers and sellers. So go and submit!
Format: You have recently posted a video about your upcoming ‘Pump’ collaboration with Reebok on your blog. Can you tell us more about the teamwork?
Solebox: The video shows the special function of the shoe. We love to play with light. We wanted to bring the glow-in-the-dark effect a bit further. We are using active light. You can choose if you like to use it with an on/off button on the tongue. Reebok was really patient with us on this project.
For all who are not familiar with this kind of stuff, the shoe will definitely convince you with the premium materials used and the classic colorway. We do not want to be far away from the OGs. Therefore we have chosen a colorway, where you think, it was maybe from back in the days. Hope you will like it as we do!
Format: What is your sneaker trend forecast?
Solebox: Hopefully high-tech. We need many fresh ideas and products!
Format: What do you mean exactly by high-tech? Can you clarify what you mean with high-tech shoes?
For example: Why not create a shoe that you try on in the store, which will be modified by a cold / hot chamber. So the shoe adapts to your feet like memory foam and is exclusively customized just for your feet. I’m sure there are so many other ideas and possibilites.
Format: Do you find that the market over-saturated with sneakers and limited editions?
Solebox: Weird to ask the storekeeper that question. I would rather say that the market is over-saturated with too many so called ‘niche market’ stores. The niches aren’t even niches anymore. Even the companies have their own shops and online stores and offer the same product range. The products are over-averaged good. People want to for hunt good products. We want to search, we want to find. Why not make regional releases anymore?
Format: What kind of plans does Solebox have for the future? Any collaborations coming up?
Solebox: Actually, We will drastically reduce our collaborations. For 2010 we will release the projects planned in 2009.
Format: So, you mean you want to drop gear and bring the sneaker boom back to earth?
Exactly. In the long run, we think it’s better to drop a gear and give the sneaker market the possibility to catch its breath for a moment. It’s important to take a long view and not always to reach short goals. We don’t want a ‘Golden Shot’ for the industry.