by Stephen Garner

Men’s footwear brand Taft has opened its first-ever flagship store in New York City.

Located at 135 Prince Street between Wooster and West Broadway in SoHo, the store will showcase the latest designs from the brand and offer customers the first opportunity to try on Taft shoes in real life.

Founded in 2014, the digitally-native brand’s designs, accessible price-points, and inclusive, community-centric approach have earned Taft a dedicated following with actors, athletes, and influencers. The decision for the Utah-based brand to open a brick-and-mortar property in NYC was made in response to rapidly increasing demand for its shoes from its consumer base across the country.

Kory Stevens

“When we dreamed up Taft in our living room, we had big ambitions, and having our own store was absolutely one of them,” said Kory Stevens, founder of Taft. “Seeing our products displayed on shelves and in the hands of our customers is a dream come true. Being an online-only brand, we miss out on the magical moment when a customer sees the shoes for the first time and tries them on. We’re super excited for people to get that experience in our first store. We are grateful for supportive partners like Fifth Wall and Acadia that have helped us make this exciting next step for TAFT a reality.”

The store is designed by Bobby Redd, the retail design firm known for transforming digitally native brands into creative retail presences (Bonobos Airstream mobile showroom, Allbirds concept store in Soho). Customers are greeted with the latest styles displayed prominently in the storefront. The interior features inviting touches, including a curated blend of vintage and new furniture from couches to armchairs making customers feel as if they’re trying on shoes in their best friend’s living room. The focal point of the space is an iconic shoe wall featuring 48 of Taft’s most popular styles such as the Jack boot, Jack shoe, and Kennedy shoe.

The flagship store caps a year of exponential growth for the brand. After bootstrapping $20 million in less than four years, Taft took on funding for the first time in July 2018 from top VCs and fellow entrepreneurs—and NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Andre Iguodala came forward to invest in the seed round. The funding and retail location will allow Taft to further establish itself as a fast-rising upstart in the men’s footwear space.