One Sneaker at a Time — Mark Gainor Slows Down Production

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When the information age nostalgically looked back toward traditional craftsmanship for inspiration, we ended up with hand-stitched leather cases for our tablets and artisan wooden styluses to go with it. But for something we use literally every day, why haven’t we been handcrafting sneakers? This is just what bespoke luxury sneaker label No.One does, a dozen and a half pairs at a time. Good things take time, and founder Mark Gainor doesn’t seem to mind.

Script and Narration by Nate Kan
Audio by Elphick Wo
Photos by Eugene Kan & Alex Maeland

<p>The lasts and patterns that make the Alpha.</p>

The lasts and patterns that make the Alpha.

We’d much rather be ‘future looking’ if not happy and proud to be alive right now, and not pretending it’s 1933.

— Mark Gainor, Founder of No.One, on products based on craftsmanship and ‘heritage’

<p>Starting No One has been the most challenging part of Gainor&#8217;s career.</p>

Starting No One has been the most challenging part of Gainor’s career.

<div class="tb f561"><span class="tx">No.One&#8217;s studio on Lincoln Boulevard, just 10 minutes away from </span><span class="tx">Gainor&#8217;s home.</span></div>
No.One’s studio on Lincoln Boulevard, just 10 minutes away from Gainor’s home.
<p>Bright and bold, there&#8217;s no second guessing what size you&#8217;re picking up with a No.One shoe box.</p>

Bright and bold, there’s no second guessing what size you’re picking up with a No.One shoe box.

Materials are materials. You can order them and they’ll show up. Finding people is the hardest thing.

— Mark Gainor, on finding experienced shoemakers that make sneakers

<p>No.One&#8217;s talented cobblers at work.</p>

No.One’s talented cobblers at work.

Every shoe we make will have more technology. That’ll just be a reflection of us getting more familiar with our equipment and our space.

— Mark Gainor, on the iterations that will follow with and after the Charlie model

<p><span class="tx f566">A cement reactivating machine.</span></p>

A cement reactivating machine.

<p>A Supreme Dual Press and Finishing machine.</p>

A Supreme Dual Press and Finishing machine.

<p>Different sizes of the Bravo last, with and without outsole.</p>

Different sizes of the Bravo last, with and without outsole.

<p>Gainor believes there&#8217;s always room for &#8220;slow&#8221; in the industry.</p>

Gainor believes there’s always room for “slow” in the industry.

You have the opportunity to challenge yourself and make it as difficult as you want to if you wanna be on the cutting edge.

— Mark Gainor, Founder of No.One

<p>A finished Alpha on display.</p>

A finished Alpha on display.

The construction of this shoe is hand-lasted, which is the superior way to make a shoe. That’s the way that beautiful footwear has always been made.

— Mark Gainor, on the hand-lasting process used at No.One

<p>90% of the work on No.One&#8217;s shoes is done by hand.</p>

90% of the work on No.One’s shoes is done by hand.

<p>Sewing the trim.</p>

Sewing the trim.

<p>Uppers and the many hand tools that will transform them.</p>

Uppers and the many hand tools that will transform them.

Now there’s the potential to 3D print a complete shoe. That’s incredibly challenging. But if you wanna play safer in the middle in the proven processes, it’s a lot easier.

— Mark Gainor, on the advantage of traditional production methods

<p><span class="tx"> </span><span class="tx f566">No.One&#8217;s cobblers bring over 30 years of experience each.</span></p>

 No.One’s cobblers bring over 30 years of experience each.

In 10 years, I’d like No.One to be a new American luxury brand. I think we’ve got all the elements in place to do that.
<p>Outside No.One&#8217;s studio in Venice, California.</p>

Outside No.One’s studio in Venice, California.

— Mark Gainor, Founder of No.One

<p><span class="tx f566">Gainor might borrow from the past, but he doesn&#8217;t intend to recreate </span><span class="tx f566">it.</span></p>

Gainor might borrow from the past, but he doesn’t intend to recreate it.

<p><span class="tx f566">The first of 26 planned releases corresponding with the naval </span><span class="tx f566">alphabet: the Alpha Desert Boot.</span></p>

The first of 26 planned releases corresponding with the naval alphabet: the Alpha Desert Boot.

I think there’s always room for people who are going to do things a little more slowly.

— Mark Gainor, Founder of No.One

<p>The Alpha Desert Boot is the first of 26 planned releases, ending with the Zulu.</p>

The Alpha Desert Boot is the first of 26 planned releases, ending with the Zulu.

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