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
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..