Four Questions with Justin Kittredge, Footwear Entrepreneur

Justin Kittredge has customized sandals for Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, and he can customize ones just for you, too! I chatted with him about his company, ISlide, how basketball has changed his life and the Celtics’ chances for next year.

Can you describe ISlide? Do I need to be an athlete to use your product?

ISlide is the only premium custom slide company in the world. For those who don’t know the term “slide,” it’s another way to say “sandal.” These are known mostly for being worn by athletes. But everyone you can possibly think of has bought from us, including entertainers, corporations, fraternities and sororities, teams, events and individuals. The only way to really understand what we do is to watch this video!

You’ve spent your career in athletic footwear, having worked at Reebok previously. What do you see as the next big trend? What comes after minimalist sneakers?

I truly believe that customization is the wave of the future. You will see all the major brands bring that niche part of the business to the next level, but at the same time companies like ours will have a chance to take a market share from them because of our flexibility and attention to superior customer service. Other than that, it’s going to be tough to stop a company like Nike and its dominance. It’s a marketing company first, and that helps continue its “cool factor.” Nike also signs all of the major athletes and can make any technology come to life in an organic way.

You run a non-profit that uses basketball to change lives. Did basketball somehow change your life?

Absolutely! Shooting Touch was created about seven years ago and was formed not only to help kids with training on court, but to show how the game of basketball can change lives off the court. Running Shooting Touch with my wife has absolutely changed my life for the better, and we hope to pass on some of these lessons to this next generation. We have been very lucky to have an amazing board of directors, including sportswriter Jackie MacMullan, Bob Hurley, Sam Presti, Boston Celtics player Kelly Olynyk, and many more. These individuals are amazing ambassadors for the program and have had a huge impact on our growth.

You’re from Massachusetts, so I’m assuming you’re a Celtics fan. How do you think their chances look for next year?

I love the Celts and always have. We all know it’s a rebuilding year, but I like the team. They have the No. 6 pick this year and it’s a deep draft, so if they can pick up someone who can make an immediate difference, then they have a chance to compete on a night-in and night-out level. I think Brad Stevens is the perfect coach for the job, and with really good young guys, like Olynyk and Phil Pressey, they will at least battle every night this year. Oh, yeah…Kevin Love wouldn’t hurt to bring on board either.

Four Questions with Justin Kittredge, Footwear EntrepreneurFour Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!

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