The old adage, “The shoe makes the man,” couldn’t ring more true for Marc Hare. In 2008, the designer lost his job in fashion marketing and went on to create, in his words, “shoes for every moment.” He designs for sybarites and socialites — men with a touch of the playboy about them.
Not dissimilar from Hare, really, who has a passion for the sun and surfing. In fact, the 42-year-old describes himself as a “lazy person,” but for a man who alludes to being a beach bum he gets a lot done: Hare has steadily expanded his global footprint from having his shoes stocked on just one website to global shipping at Mrhare.com, to opening his first brick and mortar store in September last year in the trendy-meets-trust fund district of Mayfair, London.
You’ve got an old leg and foot injury. Do you design shoes for your own comfort?
I did design them around me but our most comfortable shoes are just that comfortable on everybody. It’s well known that I just love holidays and being in hot places; a lot of my shoes are made for hot weather countries in the Mediterranean or on the equator.
Do you take back inspiration from any of those countries?
Always, because you come back with colors, shapes, even the attitude of that country. I’m half English and half Jamaican, and I think it has a massive effect on the shoes I design and what I think is the basic shoe opposed to what the German industry thinks is a basic shoe.
What’s your go-to shoe?
I haven’t got one; I have a basic collection.
In terms of durability, how do your shoes compare to brands like Church’s and John Lobb, among others?
Those are heavy English shoes made for an English climate, and what we make are comfortable, dancing, social shoes for every climate. But we’re the same in the way that we still make everything in the basic cobbler tradition: Everything can be remade and rebuilt.
There are some pretty outlandish men’s shoes out there at the moment, with Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin going down a flamboyant route. Would ever embellish your shoes in the same way?
It’s a different kind of thing to do what I do, but never say never. Those people have been making shoes for a long time and they put things into their shoes that I don’t even know yet. I’m just blown away by the technical aspects.
You once mentioned that you rarely give shoes away to celebrities. Have you changed your attitude about that? And if so, which celebrities make the cut?
Not unless I have absolute respect for them – it’s quite personal. If I’m inspired by what you do and if what you do raises my daily game then you can have some shoes. Like Tom Hardy — what a genius actor. Any time of day he can have them. Actually, Frank Ocean would be about my ultimate person to see in my shoes. He has a pair but I’ve just never seen him in them.
Women are said to judge a man by his shoes, so will your shoes help get a man laid?
It’ll help but it’s not a done deal. If you’re a dick in my shoes, you’re still a dick.
So you’re sitting on the beach: a beer or a spliff?
That depends on if it’s legal in that country.
Mr. Hare by the numbers:
Hasn’t shaved since he was 19 – he’s now 42.
He’s been growing his hair since he was 17.
Sold 300 pairs in 2008, compared to 7,000 this year.