MEET RYAN DOWD
Ryan Dowd is one of Wolverine’s Work and Outdoor footwear designers. Although he has only been with Wolverine for two and a half years, he has nearly two decades of footwear designing experience. Before Wolverine, Ryan was an independent consultant for 15 years who worked on designing outdoor, running and work footwear for brands including The North Face, Teva and Polo. He also worked at Puma for a few years designing outdoor, running and cleated footwear.
There are many important aspects of designing work and outdoor boots, but solving problems for the end consumer and helping the brand break new ground by creating unique product is something Ryan strives to do.
Staying on top of trends is also important for designing footwear. Color pops are now being seen in boot designs as a younger generation who grew up wearing athletic footwear is moving into the work force. Lighter materials that help create an overall lighter product that can be worn all day without a second thought also seem to be what many consumers are looking for. Some trends, however, will always stay the same, “Tradition is still king, high quality leathers and sturdy constructions matter, but the consumer has changed their perspective,” says Ryan.
“Craftsmanship and value still matter, but colors and materials that we wouldn’t have seen outside of running, training and basketball have made their way into the work & outdoor footwear styles.” – Ryan Dowd
When asked about his favorite boot, Ryan had no hesitation in his response. “The authenticity, craftsmanship and style of the 1000 Mile boot make them the easy answer, because without yesterday, there is no today or tomorrow…we build on where we come from. That said, the DuraShocks Nation and Legend boots are bridge products – their platforms have performance features seen in the athletic market, their materials are traditional, but their designs look forward…that’s why they are probably my favorite,” says Ryan.
In his free time, Ryan enjoys mountain biking, basketball, softball, and coaching his kids. He also enjoys watching Indy Car racing as well as college basketball and football.
Myra De La Cruz is also a designer for Wolverine’s Work and Outdoor collections. Myra’s passion for design makes her work here fun at Wolverine and there’s nothing else she would rather do. “I was having so much fun when I started that I never really thought about doing anything else,” says Myra, and for almost two decades, she hasn’t.
Myra has been at Wolverine for 18 years! Enjoying designing footwear is crucial for Myra’s success and when asked what was most important to her when designing footwear, her immediate response was, “having fun!” Keeping up with the wants and needs of consumers is key for designing great boots, with new technologies that are constantly being developed for Wolverine boots, it is important to keep those technologies evolving.
“Consumers are always changing. They always want something new and amazing.” – Myra De La Cruz
Myra’s favorite boot changes regularly, but she enjoys being creative with her designs. “I have many favorites, but today it’s the S17 Jetstream safety-toe shoe because I can play with different colors and fabrics other than brown, black, and gold,” says Myra.
Outside of Wolverine, Myra has many hobbies. She’s an avid golfer, enjoys walking and biking for exercise, and spending time with her kids.