Mass. Customization: YourReebok Flagship Opens in Boston

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Reebok Boston customization YourReebok

Reebok is stepping further into customization with its new Boston flagship store, where customers can design Classic Leather sneakers and t-shirts on-site. The YourReebok Customization Shop opened Monday at an event with football star Brandin Cooks and gymnast Aly Raisman at what is now the brand’s largest location anywhere at 7,600 square feet.

“We felt it was important to create experiences, and one way to do that is to have handmade custom Classic Leathers — an iconic model — brought to life,” Paul Froio, Reebok’s VP U.S. retail, told the Boston Herald. “Building a shoe from scratch, with a customer interacting with Lou (Alberghini) or another shoemaker, is something that most people have never seen.”

Alberghini has worked for Reebok for 21 years and been a shoemaker for 38. He follows his father and grandfather in the shoemaking trade and hatched the idea after a meeting with Reebok President Matt O’Toole. “When me and Matt were talking one day at work we came up with the idea—’Hey, let’s just do what we do. Why not make shoes?’ It sounds easy but no one’s out there really doing it.”

The YourReebok customization shop is in the Innovation and Design Building in Boston’s Seaport District, adjacent to Reebok’s employee gym and below the company’s three-story global headquarters, which is set to open in December.

The customization process involves crowning, roughing and cementing to craft a Reebok pair of leather sneakers that may sell for $85 to $120 a pair and can be made in an hour or less. The store will rotate leather hide options every six weeks and the idea will expand to other Reebok stores.

The store has four digital touchscreens so customers can design graphic t-shirts and accessories that are printed on the spot in about 15 minutes, priced between $35-$45, and demoed here by Reebok VP US Retail Paul Froio:

“It’s not required this is a beautiful showroom back here… this is a workshop. These guys are making product on the spot,” Froio said. “We’ll provide the graphics now, and eventually we’ll allow customers to bring in their own artwork.”

“You get to leave with the sense of ‘I did it myself over at Reebok,'” Alberghini added.

Reebok already offers online shoe customization in markets including the U.S., Canada and Japan, so bringing DIY personalization to life in a physical brand experience is a big step.

The new Boston flagship’s open-space floorplan includes high ceilings and natural-rock floors that maintain the atmosphere of the 100-year-old Innovation and Design Building.

Reebok Boston

Peter Quagge, Reebok’s Director of Global Environmental Design, said the new flagship store’s design diverts from the “darker concept” of woods and plywood at previous Reebok stores and those of the brand’s competitors.

“It’s about being part of the community and being a good neighbor and having Boston know more about our brand tomorrow than they know today,” Froio said.

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