MOBS Founder Alexandre Benaim Talks Sneakers with FORBES Magazine

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These Luxury Unisex Sneakers Will Totally Up Your Streetwear Game

Tread Slip On - Women

“The name MOBS stands for Mobility as our reality, Optimism as our motivation, Beauty as our passion, and Soul as our destiny. It’s our approach to true, modern discovery. The name was inspired by my travels around the world and the eye-opening experiences I’ve had while exploring new cities”, states Benaim about the meaning behind the name. Benaim, who self-financed his latest endeavor, continues, “For me, the most essential pieces in any wardrobe are shoes. They act as the support system for the base of the entire body, allowing us to move and explore wherever we go. The design of a shoe needs to be so precise, and the comfort and style need to be optimum. MOBS aims to design the best luxury streetwear while simultaneously telling an inspirational story. As a brand, we encourage movement and exploration, and our goal is to provide a footing for all of our customers to be able to do so.”

Tread Boot - Men

Benaim is no newcomer to the shoe game. “In 2003, I founded my first shoe brand—a line of very high-end women’s shoes crafted in the best Italian factories. While the brand is no longer around today, the experience taught me how to deal with all the challenges that come along with being an entrepreneur and help me grow as a businessman and designer”, shares Benaim. When I ask what made him want to start MOBS Benaim tells me, “I’ve always been fascinated by shoes, even as a child. After traveling all over the world, I was inspired to start MOBS from observing human migration patterns—particularly the Masai tribe in Tanzania. I realized I didn’t have a quality, contemporary shoe that provided both comfort and wardrobe flexibility that allowed me to trek through urban landscapes. From there, MOBS was born and has evolved into what it is today.”

Grid Set - Women

Besides the aesthetics, one of the qualities that I love about the brand is that all of the designs are unisex. “When I looked at the shoe landscape, I saw that the women’s shoes that sold the best were also made in the same style for men. There’s no reason that a shoe style should be made for a single gender. I wanted to create a line of shoes for the “modern nomad” – a term that’s applicable to all people, no matter where they’re from or what gender they choose to identify with”, Benaim tells me of the decision. Another unique attribute to the MOBS collection are the treads. “The soles on every pair of MOBS are unique to the brand—resembling that of tire treads (and the inspiration behind many of the names of our styles!). All of our unisex styles are crafted from the highest quality leathers. Most luxury shoes are stiff, while more comfortable shoes don’t have the luxurious look that many people want. MOBS checks both boxes. They’re comfortable and chic.”

Creating the unique treads are what landed Benaim in China to manufacture his footwear. “Our focus when starting MOBS was to create designs that are entirely unique to the brand. The biggest investment we’ve made has been in the creative process—from designing each style to serve a particular function to sourcing the highest quality materials, China allows us to use manufacturing methods that combine both performance and technology that factories in other countries can’t offer. The MOBS brand lives through the tread, so we designed custom, signature outsoles, unique knits, and designs that are entirely our own. When other brands make shoes in Italy, they typically don’t make their own customized soles. Instead, they buy cookie cutter pieces from the same vendors and factories—that’s why so many designer and luxury brands have such similar looking shoes that all lack in flexibility and comfort”, states Benaim.

Grid Alpine TR

With this being his second go-around in the footwear space, I wanted to know what the most challenging aspect has been with launching MOBS. “The biggest challenge has been the logistics of starting a shoe brand. The motivation to design and create shoes is certainly the motor, but the emotion behind the MOBS brand is the fuel. On the flipside, the most rewarding part of my job is being able to create and celebrate a quality product with my team and provide it to MOBS’ loyal customers”, responds Benaim.

As someone who is constantly on the go and traveling himself, I asked Benaim which shoe he doesn’t leave home without. “I never travel anywhere without packing a pair of the MOBS Grid Phase TR. Not only are they easy to pack—they’re crafted from our signature knit and can be folded easily into a suitcase they’re unbelievably comfortable. They flex nicely across the limited wardrobe that a suitcase allows you to carry around. The Grid Phase TR is really representative of the MOBS brand, designed specifically for urban exploration. I take them with me wherever I go!”

MOBS Design Tread Maquis Marshmallow Crackle Leather

Tread Maquis - Women

There are so many styles of MOBS (and colors) that I love including the Tread Low and Grid Premier, which is huge since I would’ve never thought to wear a sneaker shoe outside of the gym or while working out. I am now a convert and me feet couldn’t be happier. With the crisp weather arriving, the next pair that I will be investing in will be the Tread Maquis to up my hiking style and perhaps another color of the Tread Low’s. Don’t get me wrong. I still love my heels. But, MOBS filled the big empty void in my closet where performance and luxury hadn’t been met until now.

Written by Meggen Taylor - Read here the original publication in Forbes Magazine

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