"We basically took the bottom of a leather men's dress shoe and we cored out the leather," explains Patt, who splits his time between New York City and New Hampshire. "The areas that we took out, we filled with our Grand.OS energy foam."
Cole Haan's goals for its comfortable dress shoes are fourfold: to be flexible, breathable, lightweight and well-cushioned. That means the rigid, heavy material that is typically found inside the shoe had to go.
Patt describes the innovation process as "a little bit of a geology experiment. You start scratching your head and wondering, 'Why is that in there?'"
The team asked questions like, "What were the things in there that we didn't need anymore that were antiquated?" says Patt.
Cole Haan's innovation lab is designed for rapid prototyping. There are 3-D printers and laser cutters on site.
It's not all scientific, though. Team members also get out an old-school needle and thread when necessary, and spend time walking around in the prototypes, which they call the "pinky toe test."