How cool are PF Flyers? Even if you didn’t grow up idolizing Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in The Sandlot (I didn’t), the shoes are just cool. The blackout look, the aggressive toe cap, the kelly green lettering in the little circular logo badge. Despite its panache, the brand has spent almost the last half-century lost in corporate purgatory.
But on July 21, sportswear entrepreneur Kassia Davis gave PF Flyers new wings, positioning it for a relaunch in September. Davis bought the brand from New Balance and will serve as the company’s new executive chairwoman. She joins a small circle of female executives in footwear and enlists D’Wayne Edwards, who gained traction with Jordan as one of a handful of successful black sneaker designers.
The first drop will include men’s, women’s, and children’s products in several key styles. Here’s how PF Flyers got back in the shoe game.
Reviving A Classic With A Fresh Take
I’ll spell it out for you: the PF Flyers brand’s ride through American capitalism has been a bumpy one.
Founded in 1937 by B.F. Goodrich, it’s one of America’s oldest shoe brands. It reached its peak popularity in the 1960s (see The Sandlot, which takes place in 1962). But in 1972, it got acquired by the same company that owned Converse, which then got steamrolled by an anti-trust lawsuit.
Somehow, PF Flyers didn’t get picked up again by anybody until 2000. When they did, it was usually a special release with promotional or anniversary purposes.
Enter new chairwoman Kassia Davis. After a “lifetime in sportswear,” according to her company profile, she founded KADA, which designs sustainably made essentials for women. She sees her role at PF Flyers as a creative opportunity.
“Throughout my career, I realized my passion for creative design and branding. I have always seen the tremendous potential for the PF Flyers brand and look forward to relaunching this true American classic.”
Classic Shoe, Woke Crew
Davis has spent her career as part of a small coterie of women in her field. Perhaps unsurprisingly, female executives are rare in the footwear industry.
“During my 10+ years in the sneaker industry, I learned that there were very few women in positions of leadership for me to look up to,” said Davis.
New creative director D’Wayne Edwards is cut from the same cloth. He made his way to the top of his field, eventually becoming Design Director at Jordan, before going out on his own. His company, PENSOLE, is a footwear design academy based in Portland, OR.
He’s both excited about the opportunity and well aware of the social initiatives that Davis and his roles represent.
“I get excited about opportunities to use sneakers as a tool to educate and inspire consumers on what is possible,” Edwards said. “What Kassia is doing with the relaunch of PF Flyers is very important to the future of our industry. Our consumers need to see who they can become and Kassia is doing exactly that.”
Classic PF Flyer styles will be available for order this coming September, with new styles launching in subsequent collections. Relaunch styles include the “Center Hi” (MSRP $68) and “Center Lo” (MSRP $58), available in black, white, red, and navy. The all-black “Sandlot” clocks in at MSRP $78. All children’s styles will be priced at MSRP $48.
The new PF Flyers website is not yet live. On it, sneakerheads will be able to join a waitlist to be notified ahead of the first drop. For now, follow the brand on its Instagram account.