A lot of people are interested in shoes. Buying shoes. Wearing shoes. Collecting shoes. There are entire conventions dedicated to rare sneakers, and a pair of Yeezys can sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay. When a professional athlete signs a deal with a major shoe company, it makes national headlines.
While a lot of people may like shoes, not many like them so much they decide to create their own from scratch. That’s where Nick Unis comes in.
“We did one [custom] shoe with a rapper named Riff Raff,” said Unis. “And he decided to put it on eBay. It was supposed to be a profiteering model, so we’d split it 50/50. In twenty-four hours it hit over $1 million.”
This excitement was short-lived, however, as Unis and his brother were quickly sent a cease-and-desist order from Nike because they had customized a pair of Air Jordans. However, this proved to be the catalyst for the creation of what would one day become Unis Brands.
“That’s where I wanted to be able to make my own shoe,” he said. “And be able to do that with other artists and other organizations, and not get sued for it.”
Four years and one campus switch later, Nick Unis has created a shoe company that operates very differently from other major companies like Nike and Adidas: Every single shoe is 3D printed and made out of entirely recyclable material.