This week, Mark Wahlberg’s premium performance brand Municipal launched its first unisex sneaker.
Called the “Origin” sneaker, the model was designed in partnership with P448 parent company StreetTrend and is described as a multi-functional performance shoe that boasts “extreme comfort and innovation.”
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According to Municipal, the shoes feature M. Float technology, which is based on sandwiching different compound densities on an anatomical baseline last composed of rubber, memory foam, 40 shore EVA and latex. This combined with a wider footbed provides stability and comfort, the company added.
The debut model is now available in six colorways – Black, Charcoal, Sky Blue, Light Green, Navy, and Black/Magenta – and retails for $180.
In anticipation of the launch, FN caught up with Municipal co-founders Mark Wahlberg and Harry Arnett, who also serves as CEO, to discuss the brand’s footwear debut.
FN: What motivated you to launch shoes?
Mark Wahlberg: “I’ve worked with almost every brand you can think of over the years. I felt there was a big opportunity for us to do something cool that hadn’t really been done before. Luxury type of quality, great style, and incredible comfort. A shoe you could wear everywhere.”
FN: What was the significance behind the design?
Harry Arnett: “You’ll notice a lot of style cues from iconic shoes that we all love but done in our own unique way. We didn’t want to be derivative. And we didn’t want to just “collab” our way into the category. That didn’t feel right to us and didn’t feel leading to us at all. We wanted to do something that kind of created a new category. Style and comfort together, inextricably linked.”
MW: “We went for classic style, but new and cool too. Head turning in the right way.”
FN: What does this new category mean for the company moving forward?
HA: “People will appreciate we aren’t just another apparel brand. We got you head to toe and more. I think people are going to be blown away by the entire presentation—from opening the box, the shoe bag that comes with it, and of course once they put the shoes on their feet and walk around in them.”
MW: “We’ve never been afraid of doing things our own way. We are all about giving incredible value and experiences to people. And of course, inspiring them to go out there and make big things happen.”
FN: What lies ahead for both company’s business and its new shoe category?
HA: “We are a young brand with big ambitions. We have had a phenomenal start to our company in the last three years. It’s still surreal to us to see how many fans we have and how big our community is in that very short period of time. And we also always say around here, ‘Please excuse the mess while we build this brand!’”
“We have a 5-year plan in the shoe category to really round out the product line. We have a slide coming in the next few months that’s going to blow people’s minds. Also, an all-terrain concept coming in spring that will start its life in golf. Mark has been wearing a prototype of that one for a while and it’s spectacular. And we have a comfort-performance court shoe for the fall. All with our groundbreaking M.Float comfort technology. So you can see, it starts to blow up pretty quickly. People aren’t going to have to sacrifice comfort for style or performance anymore. The footwear world has changed in that regard.”
FN: You mentioned wholesale, what accounts are interested in your newest addition to the brand?
HA: “Our earliest and first big supporter of the brand has been Scheel’s, one of the best retailers in the world and probably the most consumer-centric big retailer there is. They’re the tip of the spear in so many respects. And that’s the case with us. From there, you’ll see us in places that want to tell our whole brand story and grow with us. We won’t be everywhere. We don’t want to be because there’s a newness and specialness to the brand consumers love. But we want to partner with the places that are customer first since that’s so much about what our brand is about. We think that’s the best way for people to experience the brand, especially for the first time.”
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