All Black is the edgy yet unassuming footwear brand you’ve probably admired on trendsetters’ feet. The Taiwan-based brand, introduced in the U.S. in 2005, has begun to gain traction in the U.S. beyond the boutiques that have long featured its up-to-the-minute styles.
“All Black has a following with small, quirky independents like Bus Stop in Philly, mainly be-cause they use Italian leathers, bright colors and are not afraid of creating some odd mashups like sneaker-boots or wool sneakers,” said Marty Rose, who has been brand representative in the U.S. for over a decade. “They also have created some unique heel shapes that have a 3-D tech vibe.”
All Black is sold in over 300 boutiques across the U.S., as well as at Von Maur in the Midwest, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. But any shopper (or retailer) that chooses All Black is responding to what Rose characterizes as a sweet spot between innovative and over-the-top. It doesn’t hurt that the footwear carries price tags that belie its level of quality and fashion, he said.
“We have a very high end look at a very affordable price point—under $200, for the most part in $160 to $180 range—but with the look of a $300 to $400 style,” Rose said.
This year, embellishments and prints are part of the All Black story. “Very on trend but combined with the minimalist approach it becomes very unique,” he described.
In an era when Adidas is reclaiming its number two spot in athletic shoes in large part by catering to a non-athletic urban shopper, All Black has “a very aggressive sneaker package,” Rose says. “Anything you want in the fashion athletic arena. We have ruffles, faux fur, patterns and metallics. For spring we’ll continue with our mesh sneaks, which was a breakthrough for us and still very popular.”
What Rose calls a “man-tailored look” for women has also been a hit, particularly a colorful line oxford with metallics. The shoe is not only resonating with the fashion crowd but also uses a new, more minimalist production process with straight cuts and reduced stitching.