What are THOSE?
I’m not a sneakerhead or a skater, but I did a double take when I saw these skate shoes featured on the shelves of the Colex store in São Paulo – a nexus for the Brazilian skate and rap community – inside the legendary shopping center Galería Presidente. Launched in 2008, ÖUS Brasil is one of the principal skate shoe companies working in the Brazilian market. The independent company is the brainchild of Rafael Narciso, whose mission was to bring an original brand, made in Brazil, to the Brazilian skater community – one that traditionally thinks “Brazilian brands are bad and gringo is good.”
ÖUS shoes have made a name for themselves through good design and a high-quality product, featuring natural and recyclable materials. Narcisio says, “To make a quality product in Brazil is difficult, but it’s possible. To compete with international and established brands is a difficult task. It took a lot of investment, and we developed the know-how to compete with the strong markets. We improve the product every day.” Every day is right — Narcisio told STASHED that ÖUS has produced a new model every 6 days (450 models) since their 2008 launch.
The shoes are gorgeous, and the quality is palpable in the materials. The three ÖUS shoe lines (day-to-day / premium / skateboarding) are composed of a range of materials including cotton, cashmere, leather, nubuck, suede, as well as sustainable, recycled materials, some from unusual sources such as artisanal communities in rural Brazil and textile waste from the automotive industry. ÖUS features proprietary “circular” technology polyurethane insoles with two different densities – soft for daily use, and hard strictly for skateboarding. The ÖUS line also includes caps, shirts, jackets, and hoodies. The trademark interlaced symbol, primarily a functional piece to support the sole infrastructure, is also an allusion to shoelaces, Narcisio says.
Skate and street culture are part of our day to day, our biggest influences, and the source of our inspiration.
ÖUS prides itself on their collabs – they’ve partnered with NGOs, juvenile correction institutions, top skaters both Brazilian and international, designers, media outlets, art galleries, and rap artists like KL Jay of the legendary group Racionais MC’s and underground rapper Parteum.
Reaching out to the other side of the equator, in 2013 ÖUS sponsored Oakland rapper Del the Funky Homosapien and former Digable Planets member Ladybug Mecca on the delHIERÖUS tour in Brazil and participated in the production of Third World Vision, a limited-edition vinyl album (300 units) with Del, Ladybug, and many noteworthy Brazilian musicians, as well as 3 models of a collab sneaker, the Del the Funky Homosapien delHIERÖUS collab. In 2015 ÖUS sponsored a show with Brooklyn rapper Masta Ace and will be launching two shoes in a Masta Ace collab in their next collection.
ÖUS shoes are not yet available in the USA, but you can cop them directly from the ÖUS Brasil store, via email. But don’t worry – Narcisio told us the ÖUS site will be available in a few months in both Portuguese and English and with the ability to ship to the US. At the current exchange rate, ÖUS shoes can be had for a very affordable $65-$105 (before shipping). I made sure to grab a pair while I was in Brazil; with so many styles and colors to choose from, I straight-up panicked and went for the basic black Ueno with white accents.
Check out ÖUS’ latest antsy collab with underground art gallery / clothing store Homegrown in the clip below:
Photo Credit: Fernando Zanoni / Barri Anne Brown / YouTube