Greats Royale Knit
by Stephen Garner

Steve Madden is stepping up its sneaker game with the new acquisition of digitally-native footwear brand Greats. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Steve Madden said Greats had net sales of about $13 million for the 12 months ended June 30

Founded in 2014 in Brooklyn by Ryan Babenzein, Greats is well known for its aspirational and versatile styles. With a majority of products sold direct-to-consumer on as well as in its flagship retail store located in the SoHo district of New York, the brand has become synonymous with high-quality footwear at an exceptional price/value proposition for today’s consumer.

“We are pleased to complete the acquisition of Greats, a pioneering digitally native footwear brand,” said Edward Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive officer of Steve Madden. “We see significant opportunity to expand the business by combining Greats’ strengths – which include an outstanding brand and stylish, classic designs that appeal to today’s more casual consumer – with our proven business model, established infrastructure and global reach.”

“Steve is a true maverick and is one of the people I look up to in the footwear industry,” added Ryan Babenzein, founder and CEO of Greats. “He’s created a multi-billion-dollar footwear business from nothing and there are less than a handful of people in the world who have done that. Getting the chance to collaborate with and learn from Steve and the rest of the Madden Company to accelerate my business is something that made a ton of sense to me. My goal has been the same since I started Greats, and that is to create one of the leading footwear brands in the world. This partnership is another chapter in the Greats book to help accomplish that and I couldn’t be happier.”

Steve Madden, founder, creative and design chief of Steve Madden, commented, “Rarely in my 30 years since I started Steve Madden have I come across an opportunity as exciting as this. Ryan’s shoes are the talk among all the millennial men I encounter.  He reminds me so much of myself.  We can’t wait to explode this thing.”