Monday, November 10, 2008

Look Out Beloe!

Beloe, the BMX-only shoe company that sponsored Jim Cielencki, Nathan Williams and Jim Bauer, among others, is no more. Sad, because some of the shoes looked decent. In somewhat related news, Taj is off Etnies, after a long and (presumably) fruitful relationship. Maybe I should keep my remaining pair of Traumas.

Which leads one to wonder, to paraphrase The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, how many BMX-only shoe companies will survive, and what will be left of them? Maybe Derek Adams should have chosen Little Devil over Orchid. That said, Lotek seems to be thriving, and Inopia was doomed from the start. (Caste, John Paul Rogers's effort, was doomed before the start.)

Look, making shoes isn't like making t-shirts. You can't just bang out a quick dozen and sell them out of your trunk. You need to get molds made, find a manufacturer (most likely in Asia), sort out a sole pattern that doesn't violate any other company's patents, make a heck of a lot of them, and oh yeah, find a way to sell them.

Having never tried to start a shoe company myself, I'd imagine that's the toughest part. It's not like you can just call the people at Foot Locker or Journeys and convince them to give you some nationwide shelf space. And good luck getting your local skate shop to carry them. Not going to happen. But the thing is, the average bike shop won't carry them, either. They're too busy selling SIDIs and Diadoras to road and mountain cyclistsm who a) have money, and b) are less fickle and fashion-oriented. Heck, it's hard enough to find a big-time bike shop that carries BMX frames.

This leaves the mailorders and local BMX shops, who can only support so many of these companies. (It would be nice if they'd drop the skate companies completely the way the skate companies have dropped BMX riders, but then riders would just buy their Adios and Etnies from someone else—it's a tough old world.)

I guess the real question is whether BMX can even support another shoe company alongside Lotek and Orchid. Doesn't seem that way, unless said company has a ton of financial backing and doesn't consider profit to be particularly important. It reminds me of that old joke about what the best way to make a million dollars is—start with two million.

Beloe, we hardly knew you. Good luck to anyone who follows in your, uh, footsteps.

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35 comments:

Brett Rohlfing said...

I think another brand could only survive if they made a better product than Lotek and orchid... which isn't asking that much. Maybe a little shock absorption system? Something more than a plain solid chuck of rubber?

Anonymous said...

You mention Little Devil, but Little Devil has officially "died"...

As for BMX shoes by a company with a lot of financial backing and little regard for profit, doesn't Nike fit the bill? Or were you only talking about a BMX-only shoe company?

When you were talking about being negative in the other post, I totally understand that. To top it all off, I just bought my first car, a mint 1980 Z28 Camaro! Woo.

Russ said...

Nike cares about making money—it's why they make so much of it. But yeah, I was talking BMX only companies.

Shock absorption is one of those things that costs money. Either you need to license a technology or develop one. Or just go the basic EVA foam route.

Smitty said...

You could have mentioned SCG here, but that was another company, like Beloe, that never seemed to have enough of a plan to even establish an identity for itself before it passed away. Too bad Caste never got borned, the shoe designs actually looked quite good. JPR, did you hold onto those Caste samples you had made? They'd be a great part of my growing collection of mid-school memoribilia. But bottom line, I agree with your line of thought Russ - do we need another Rider-owned shoe company? Let's support the two we have. It can be a like a two-party government. If one of the brands looses its sense, the other one will kick its ass for a while.

Me and WDS were just e-mailing on this subject last week. I really can't think of a harder job in BMX than that of "Owner of a BMX Shoe Brand." Derek and Rich, you have my deepest admiration, and sympathy.

Anonymous said...

if you want shock absorption get a softer insole, over here I have something called superfeet

Anonymous said...

Beloe wasn't BMX only.

Anonymous said...

beloe became a bmx-only shoe company.

Anonymous said...

anyone who knows anything knows that orchid is a cunt hair away from going under anyway.

Anonymous said...

I just wish someone would remake airwalk neutrons.

Anonymous said...

it's really to bad about Below and about Taj. Budget cuts happen but if empire, Dans, and the bunch stuck with brands that support BMX and more so are rooted in it then there'd be room.... Not that the're pockets are hurting.

Ian "Ginger cunt" Morris said...

All bmx shoes suck.

Get over it.

Stephen said...

The Taj thing makes sense. I don't see a MTB EXTREME team listed on their website.

Darren H said...

I'm amazed that anyone can manage to make money from a market that is practically guaranteed to be broke most of the time. It's not like selling golf crap to rich middle aged yuppies with thousands of dollars of spending money to burn every month.

Apparently very few people can manage to make real, liveable money in BMX over the LONG term. Sure , some guys make tons one year, but the next they're digging in the dumpster looking for a peach pit. The only guys I can think of immediately that have never lost a company or a house or gone totally broke at least once in the long run appear to be Mirra, and that Pat Robertson evangelical guy who owns BMX Plus!. Haro but he got out while the fire was burning hot. Maybe McDonald after he sold Ride. BMX business is tough.

It appears that it's too expensive to get quality stuff made, there isn't enough demand to justify huge volumes to lower costs, and at any second tastes could change and you could be left with a warehouse full of worthless 44 tooth sprockets, 6 pound Euro BB frames, forks with peg mounts, or comfy padded seats that no one wants.

John said...

I'm still really disappointed about Little Devil. I hope Orchid stays around long enough to reissue some of the old shirts like they said they're going to. I really wish they didn't have to kill the Devil...

And for shoes I'm sticking with Vans - I will not try new shoes out of a mailorder. I can't afford to spend $50+ for a shoe when I don't know if I'm going to like the feel of it or not. And my Vans have shock absorbsion that works rather well.

t.f.a. said...

the second half of what John (10:17) said says a lot. oh...and believe it or not SCG is still in business. they seem to have a lot of old inventory left and from what i saw at Interbike they have a bunch of newer models on the way. maybe that's the company Russ mentioned (lots of money with no intention of turning a profit) because i can't ever remember seeing anyone in a pair of those and have never had anyone ask i we stock them...which we did for a while last year but after not selling even one pair in about six months we sent them back, and it's not like their that bad of a shoe, either. oh, and too bad about the Beloe thing. like the shoes or not it just sucks for Brian Osborne. he's a really nice guy that seems to work really hard for any of the companies he's been involved with.

John said...

t.f.a.: I'd be willing to try an actual BMX brand shoe if I actually had the option to try a pair on. Unfortunately there's no place that sells them anywhere near me, let alone any decent BMX shops. The only place I found Vans was like 40 miles south of here...but I was picking up a bike even further south than that anyways. It's a shame really, Loteks or Orchids could be really nice, but it'll be a long time before I'm anywhere that I could try a pair on. Being stuck in the middle of NH where there's no BMX scene sometimes sucks.

noel said...

I've worn Orchids, Inopias, and Elites (remember them? Butcher and some other guys rode for them). I really wanted to like them and support the companies that made them, but....truthfully all of them sucked. As in, they started to fall apart after two sessions.

I had almost every Etnies BMX shoe in the years they were in production, except for the Ruebens. All were outstanding.

Derek said...

Brian seems like a cool guy. I'm sorry to hear this news. It's tough out there right now. But just to clear up these rumors, Orchid is not going out of business. We killed Little Devil because my heart wasn't in it anymore and it felt like time to move on after 13 years. It was mostly a personal decision, not something we had to do. But this did give us the chance to restructure the company and move forward with Orchid, a brand I'm still excited and motivated to do. Our shoe quality is excellent and we hardly ever hear complaints. We've produced almost a 100 different shoe styles to date and we're not slowing down any time soon. True, the economy is in the shitter and we have to watch our expenses closely, but Orchid has a solid foundation and we're going to be around for a while.

t.f.a. said...

John, i was agreeing with you completely. ordering something, especially shoes, with no knowledge of fit and/or comfort is a gamble and for a shop to stock them is a big expense. you're completely right, having a history with a company is how brand loyalties are formed. i don't think anyone ever bought a second pair of Inopias.

Five Finger Discount said...

SCG shoes are garbage. The guy that runs this "company" is a shady individual. The guy 's name is Steve Caro and he is a big time scam artist. He is a chronic liar and has been known to steal ANYTHING that isn't bolted down. Even from his close friends/ family. Steve shades his way from one scene to another, ripping off anyone that he comes along. Ask around. Steve has also been known to make fraudulous insurance claims about his vehicles being stolen. He's pulled that off twice down here. So beware. This company and Steve Caro are both shams. Just ask around from Virginia to Georgia and ALL in-between, this guy is a THEIF!!!

Kyle FTW...fight me. said...

FOLLOW THEIR FOOTSTEPS?! GOOD GOD THAT PUN IS AMAZING.

PawelB said...

I do feel bad for Beloe for going under, they had cool designs, but the fact is the shoes werent that good and made my feet hurt. Thats how most bmx shoes are, Homan's shoes are good but you have to break them in real good. Can some company please make a shoe that won't KILL my toes when I eject, thank you

Anonymous said...

thats right gay, I'm lucky I bought my baby blue and teal shoes when i did, I love em and thats gay because I was gonna buy another pair of them... not impressed

Anonymous said...

The shoes would have done well and i would have bought some, if they weren't ugly as sin... sorry Jim, but it's True..

Anonymous said...

Corey Martinez Orchids..Best shoes i have ever owned and will buy another pair(third pair)

Anonymous said...

I used Orchids for a while. Then Loteks. was thouroughly impressed until my Nightwolfs fell apart in no time. Ive got some Vandever slims which look cool but Im not convinced they'll hold up to walking to school and back. I wont ride in them. And Orchid doesnt have a single shoe right now for riding that I would feel comfortable wearing out of my house. Im going to go getsome super cheap airwalks from foot locker. FUCK LIVING IN CANADA WHERE THE BMX SHOE MARKET IS EVEN SHAKIER

Anonymous said...

noteddieroman-Those shoes really bummed me out for some reason.

sprfls-some of the shoes looked decent.

Stephen said...

put me down for being down with orchid.

chris said...

ive always had really good luck with orchids and loteks. i had my first pair of orchid teams for over a year and im going on a year with my og nightwolfs. i will continue to buy exclusively from bmx only brands, because i care where my money goes. and dans comp can sukadik with all the adio and quiksilver and whatever other flash in the pan brands they carry

tom/empire said...

anonymous 3:41 am, are you saying Etnies, Vans, and Orchid don't support BMX?

i know it's been a struggle at Etnies to keep BMX in the mix, but they hook up a lot of riders, and do good things for BMX. i wish Taj could get a paycheck from them until he's 103, but it just doesn't work that way

we didn't deal with Vans until Chase signed on with them, but i've seen since then that they take good care of the riders, and they put a lot back into BMX

Orchid is BMX. i respect Derek for what he's done with it. a rider-owned BMX shoe company is obviously next to impossible to keep going, and he's making it happen

that's the three shoe brands we carry, and we're proud to sell them

Corey said...

Orchids are pretty much the best shoes on earth. I just got my new Vandever 2's and they are super nice. I am still using my S&M cobra's and they have held up great. Orchid is pretty much the only shoe company I will trust. The only thing I was mad about with them was that the sticker was made backwards, but I really don't care because the shoes are amazing.

Russ said...

I've always been curious why Empire doesn't carry Lotek.

Anonymous said...

i bought a pair of orchid porters and was only let down but the fact that they were annoyingly stiff and i couldn't feel my pedals. i wore them twice than put them away. i should sell them.

james w said...

I just wish a bmx brand would come out with a nice, clean, one colour lowcut and midtop.

Tired of all the bullshit colours and gimmicks, i just want a shoe that won't look 12 months old after riding in them for 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Coming from Airwalk, Vans and DC, I'm thinking both of these existing brands better stick with the "we support the sport" angle as none their styles, development, or colorways are groundbreaking by any means. Running a BMX specific footwear brand has to be like trying to cater to the one legged, left handed, badminton crowd in that there's probably the same amount of customers.