Skora running shoe brand moves from Portland to Seattle

Skora running shoe brand moves from Portland to Seattle

Skora Inc., a maker of minimalist running footwear, announced Tuesday that it is moving its headquarters from Portland to Seattle.

Founder David Sypniewski said the company is moving north in part because it wants to be closer to retail partners Amazon and Nordstrom. Skora’s new office will be located in the Interbay district, northwest of downtown Seattle.

“We’ll be able to show-and-tell quickly,” Sypniewski said.

Sypniewski said one of the three employees that will work in the Seattle office already lives in that area. He said the company has seven other employees working in other geographical areas.

He said the move had been under consideration for about six months after the company moved out of Southeast Portland’s Ford Building, which houses several creative services and products companies, and into a leased office space near Sylvan exit of U.S. 26. Sypniewski said Skora outgrew the Ford Building space.

Skora made a splash in 2012 when it was among several shoe brands to introduce “minimalist” shoes, designed to feel more like running or walking barefoot, without the thick padding and shock absorption of typical running shoes.

On Tuesday, however, Sypniewski resisted the description of Skora’s line of five footwear styles as minimalist.

Industry analyst Matt Powell of SportsOneSource said more than a year ago the minimalist footwear line had run its popularity course with consumers. Powell called it a “fad.”

Sypniewski, however, said Skora’s product line is not minimalist. “We make footwear that is more cushioned and supported,” than the typical minimalist shoe, he said.

To illustrate the credibility of the brand, he pointed to a 2012 Wired magazine article that called Skora’s “Form” shoe, with its goat leather upper, “the Bentley of barefoot running shoes.”

While the Form was not among the five styles available Tuesday on Skora’s website, Sypniewski said another style is expected to be introduced that will feature Skora’s design qualities and a thicker sole.

Sypniewski said the company does not disclose revenues, but he disputed Dun Bradstreet Inc. estimate that says Skora has $160,000 in annual sales. Sypniewski said revenues in 2013 “were 10 times that.”

The company has 25 retail partners in the United States, such as Nordstrom, and about 75 internationally, he said.