John Fluevog Shoes

John Fluevog Shoes is a retailer of unique, fashion-forward footwear that that have been seen everywhere from the feet of Madonna and Jack White to the runways of high fashion. John began in 1970 as a partner in the Vancouver shoe store, Fox and Fluevog, and has since grown John Fluevog Shoes into its own unique brand that includes 27 stores in Canada, the US, Europe and Australia.

The brand’s mission to provide “Unique Soles for Unique Souls” has been honoured over the years with several accolades and awards:

  • Named one of the world’s most innovative companies by FastCompany
  • Fluevog’s footwear was showcased on New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)’s calendar and postcard
  • John Fluevog was recognized as The Canadian Footwear Industry’s Shoe Person of the Year by The Two/Ten Foundation of Canada

Fluevog supports the creative community by encouraging designers to help design new footwear, and advertisements. They also provide grants to support budding creatives to turn their projects into reality.

Question: How are you supporting other local businesses?

Answer: We support other local businesses whenever we can. Each store has its own local shoe repair or cobbler that they use for resoling and repairs. All our marketing materials are printed locally, we support locally owned magazines and papers by placing regular ads with them. Our packaging all comes from Great Little Box Co. in Richmond. We buy all our heel cups and insoles for our Canadian stores from LaBELLE in Burnaby-they’ve been around since 1948.

Our shoes are designed in Vancouver, and made in small, family-run factories in Mexico, Peru, Portugal and Vietnam, so we’re supporting local businesses elsewhere too. Our Peruvian factory has even managed to develop and grow their business as a result of our orders with them.

Question: What social and environmental practices are you proud of?

Answer: As a Canadian company, we provide great jobs for about 100 employees across the country. Because we’re based in B.C., a lot of the higher level jobs are here – we do all the design work out of Vancouver, and have in-house marketing and accounting staff. We also send development staff from head office to open stores in new locations.

We provide benefits for all our full time employees, and support diversity in our hiring – we hire a lot of employees from the LGBTQ2+ community, and we hire to support cultural diversity too. We really believe in our slogan “Unique Soles for Unique Souls”, so we’re also always looking to bring in the offbeat, weird and wild! It keeps it interesting.

We’re committed to reducing our environmental impact wherever possible. We recycle and compost everything we can from all our stores. We use natural dyes in our leathers. In the 90s we introduced “the angel” soles, made of a biodegradable latex. But most importantly, our shoes are designed to last. They are repairable, and can be resoled. When you invest in a pair of Fluevogs, you can have them for life. There’s a bit of cult following around our shoes, and there are many social sites dedicated to the resale of gently used Fluevogs. We encourage it through our own website – in the FlueMarket, you can buy, sell, or swap used Fluevogs.

We love to support local charitable groups. Each store in B.C. coordinates charity shopping events where we donate 50% of the sales to a local charity. Each store works on their own events. At the Granville Street location, we’ve had events in support of The Cultch (Vancouver East Cultural Centre), the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), Working Gear, and Saint James Music Academy. In 2019 we also organized a street party for other Granville Street merchants. We invited businesses from the area, to encourage all of us to shop at each other’s businesses. The best part was meeting about 40 other Granville Street merchants! The ripple effects from this event will be felt for a while to come. Fluevog also supports other creatives through The Fluevog Artist Grant – funding of up to $10,000 for emerging artists in Canada.