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We all know that John has been a designer and retailer of forward-thinking footwear, creating unique soles for unique souls, since 1970. Well... a million years ago John Fluevog shoe stores also sold other brands. In fact, John was the first to import Dr.Marten's into North America, and for some time was the exclusive North American retailer for them.

Although, the environmental impact of shoe soles had always bothered John, and in the late 1980s John was sitting at his cluttered desk, head in hands racking his brain for a better alternative. Just then, a light breeze entered the room and shifted some papers, drawing John's attention to one of the many cards he had picked up at a recent Shoe Fair in Birmingham, England. The card said 100% Natural Hevea Latex Soles. John headed to the monstrous fax machine, punched in the French number from the card, and sent an inquiry.

After a year of discussions, designs and developments, the molds were ready to go and the soles started being poured in the land of wine, cheese and romance. It seemed John had found the answer to his concerns - this new sole was all natural and biodegradable (they tapped it out of trees for goodness sake!), and the shoes would be easy and affordable to resole, increasing the life of the shoe.

Once the new Angel soled shoes were underway, a proposition was floated at that famous manager's meeting in 1989 in a small town in Washington state. After endless discussion, debate and sing-song, everyone was on board to carry only Fluevogs in John Fluevog stores, led by new designs on this amazing and friendly Angel Sole. As John proclaimed at the time "this is a defining moment for our little company's journey", and the celebrations rang on until the early morn.

In the early 1990s, Angel boots became the cornerstone of the Grunge uniform, inspiring a new fashion movement consisting of flannels and Fluevog boots. Additional exposure from Madonna, who wore 'Vogs in the film Truth or Dare, Dee-lite's Lady Miss Kier and a host of other celebrity customers sent the Fluevog brand skyrocketing to international fandom.

The Angel Soles are still made from 100% natural latex harvested from the Hevea Tree. The tough, resoleable Angels always recite the now famous JF message engraved on the sole: "Resists alkali, water, acid, fatigue and Satan." They continue to be one of Fluevog's best sellers to this day.

In recent years, John Fluevog has been using eco-friendly vegetable tanned leathers and water-based glues, reducing the carbon footprint of his production. John also released vegan remakes of successful styles using unbleached hemp instead of leather, all keeping with his motto Good Soles Leave Small Prints.

To stop selling other brands that represented a significant portion of the company's sales while introducing a new unproven sole was a bold move to be sure, but that's how the Angel Family was born. It's just another moment in history when John decided to follow his Soul..

Click here to view the entire Angels family
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