Footwear Fables W/ Stephanie Howard

Andrew ThompsonBy Andrew Thompson21st September 20206 MinutesIn Arts, Podcast, Design

Footwear Fables W/ Stephanie Howard

For this footwear fable, I will be talking with Stephanie Howard from HOW AND WHYa super creative and a legend in the sneaker community who is doing amazing things to be a vanguard pushing innovation and level the playing field when it comes to inequality within the sports-tech industry.

With over 25 years of experience including a Design Director role at Nike Inc, Lead Designer at New Balance, and Innovation Director at Seventh Generation, founder Stephanie Howard formed HOW AND WHY in 2010 to guide Product Design, Innovation Strategy, and Creative Direction for leading mission-driven brands.  Prior to this, she laid the foundation for advanced innovation strategy at Seventh Generation – voted in the Top 10 of Fast Company magazine’s Most Innovative Consumer Products Companies, and a leader in Sustainability. At Nike, she led the Women’s Running footwear initiative, and then as Design Director of both Bauer and Nike Hockey brands, built a creative vision unique to each brand. In the sneaker world, she’s most well known for designing the New Balance 850, a radical shift in design approach for the brand, which was re-released in 2019.

Sports brands she’s worked with include Nike, Reebok, New Balance, Converse, The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Bauer, TitleistTracksmith, Smartwool, XTRATUF, as well as Sports Tech startups.

Stephanie recently joined the board of directors of Women in Sports Tech, an organisation with the mission to drive growth opportunities for women throughout the sports tech landscape.

There are some serious realities in the fight for equality in sneaker companies and I have the upmost respect for individuals using their platform to stand up and be counted. New role models will definitely push the industry to think in a more cohesive way.

I have another mission to introduce Sustainability -  even if a brand is not expressing interest.  I think it’s irresponsible not to.  Much has changed in the past 5-10 years on the subject, spurred by consumer interest – Thank goodness.

— Stephanie Howard