Though they’re a relatively new brand, the brothers behind Clear Weather (CLR WTHR), Brandon and Josh Brubaker, have designed some of the most recognizable modern skate shoes, including the Muska Skytop. Their (combined) deep CVs include work for Converse Cons, Vans, Sole Technologies, and Supra, helping Geoff Rowley, John Cardiel, Kenny Anderson, Jim Greco, Erik Ellington, and other pros translate their needs and wants into functional product with recognizable flare.
Pictured above is the company’s newest offering, the Cloud Stryk (one of the most distinctive skate shoes recent years?) Below, why the brand is not just more outsiders clamoring to wring dollars from the multi-million-dollar skateboarding industry.
The First Line: “Suede Where You Need It” and New-Order Laces
As futuristic as the Cloudstryk looks, Clear Weather’s first offerings are deceptively minimal. In a sense, the brothers are disrupting the industry model with a reverse approach. They take inspiration from Tinker Hatfield’s innovative and out-of-the-box work with Nike, then refine ideas to their aesthetic, where asymmetry is a hallmark.
CLR WTHR “Donny” in Black. Source.
Bringing the Skate Aesthetic to Department Stores
After two years of establishing their aesthetic and collaborating with Barney’s New York, Bloomingdale’s, and Commonwealth, Brandon and Josh Brubaker have reentered the skate market, with a line that immediately stands out for its mix of avant design and simplicity. As skeptical and cynical as the skate community can be of new footwear companies, their simple, yet functional and detailed “Donny” shoe (above) has already garnered positive reviews, including a coveted “Pick Of the Month” award from Ripped Laces. Still, they’re aware of the pushback a brand that appears to be rooted in fashion may receive, so they’ve been somewhat methodical in their launch strategy.
CLR WTHR “Donny” in White. Source.
Their mission of creating “future classics,” begins with adding their insight of “suede where you need it” and inventive lacing placement. “The asymmetrical lacing on the Donny is definitely a intentional performance benefit as is the placement of the suede,” Josh said, “these shoes are truly made for skateboarding.”
The Strategy: Lifestyle, then Skatestyle
“We started off in the lifestyle space on purpose,” Brandon said. “We wanted to build shoes that were not made for skateboarding, and wait until we had a strong concept that meant something to real skateboarders—something they could relate to. We also feel like the timing is perfect.”
The Shoe That Pushed them Outside Their Comfort Zone
For their newest (and potentially game-changing offering), the Cloudstryk, “The concept was to create a futuristic yet vintage vibe sneaker,” says Josh. “The shoe is split by the webbing running down the whole tile of the shoe, and the medial and the lateral design are two completely different concepts mashed together.”
“We think trends will continue to be there—’puffy’ or ‘slim’—but I think skateboarding is here to stay and that means vulcanized shoes will always be a part of skateboarding,” Josh said. “They just seem to be made for it. But I see cup soles making a heavy comeback.”
“We come from skateboarding, and both of us have spent years designing skate shoes. I think you can see that in the designs and if you skate in them there will be no question that there is no infiltration going on. We have always been here.”