Sep | 3
Behind the Laces

Designing the Brooks Heritage Collection: An Interview with the Creative Director

In March, as we approached our 100-year anniversary, we unveiled the Brooks Heritage Collection – a lifestyle footwear line featuring famed shoe designs that fuse fashion-forward aesthetics with classic running silhouettes. The Brooks Heritage Collection launched with two of the most storied shoes in Brooks’ long running history – the Vanguard and Vantage – which were award winners in their categories that inspired a generation of performance running shoes.

Just this month, the Brooks Heritage Collection stepped into the 80s with the launch of the award winning Brooks Chariot. Today, we’re sitting down with Shane Downey, Creative Director and Business Manager for the Brooks Heritage Collection, to learn more about the collection and get a sneak peek at what’s to come.


Please tell us about Brooks Heritage Collection and your role with the brand.

Brooks has a deep, 100-year history with ties to running at every level and every capacity that speaks to a fan base around the world.  As we approached our 100-year anniversary, we wanted to celebrate the spirit of the run by creating a thoughtful collection that pays tribute to the sport by combining classic running style with a modern, refined, fashion-forward aesthetic.

Eighteen months ago, we began this new endeavor to celebrate the past with a nod to the future. Our goal from the beginning has been to create a collection that celebrates the past, but portrays the brand in a modern and compelling way. The DNA of the Brooks Heritage brand is centered on authenticity, honoring the past, and combining rich aesthetics with luxury materials.

Where did you start when tasked with capturing the spirit of the run—a run that is the product of one hundred years in the making?

The first question that we asked was where to begin. How do we even begin to capture 100 years of product, history and influence into a shoe?

Brooks has a brilliant history spanning 100 years and many different product categories, so our vault is growing every day. My first task was to thumb through the old catalogs, old running magazines and customer feedback to understand the emotional connection between customers and the product that defined a generation.

When you look at the history of running, there are clear and identifiable moments that have defined the sport. In my opinion, the running boom of the 1970s was the natural place to start to look at and build the Brooks Heritage Collection. It was a time period that Brooks had some of the most significant models of the industry with the Brooks Vanguard and the revolutionary award winning Brooks Vantage.The images I found defined running through the use of clean design lines, rich aesthetic, and classic styling. Whether it was the cover of the Wheaties Box or the Fitness Industry, the 1970’s defined running and the history needed to be celebrated.


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You recently stepped into a new era with the launch of the Brooks Chariot. Can you tell us why you chose to bring back this 80s runner?

During our research, we came across the most famous shoe in the Brooks archives, and the shoe that I refer to as the “Crown Jewel” of the collection: The Brooks Chariot.  The Chariot was originally introduced in 1982 and set the stage for a shoe that would live and perform for decades. From its inception, the Chariot has been turning heads and impressing along the way. Runner’s World called it “The Best Running Shoe Ever Made” by Brooks and by 1985 they were calling it “the most worn shoe in the industry.” It is the perfect embodiment of the fashionably functional Brooks Heritage Collection, further illustrating our rich history in the run and catapulting the line into a new generation. The addition of the Brooks Chariot is a sign of things to come as we continue to evolve the collection, delivering compelling and exciting product that celebrates our 100 years of running and the iconic models that have defined them.

We want details! How did you go about revitalizing and redesigning the Brooks Chariot from the ground up?

Capturing the essence of the original model, the reborn Brooks Chariot features the same tech qualities pioneered during the decade including a Diagonal Rollbar which was a breakthrough in motion control technology, molded tri-layer insole for cushioning, solid rubber outsole for shock absorption, and reflective hits for visibility. Fusing the past with the present, this reborn classic has been updated with modern details such as the iconic suede logo on the original colors and an opulent leather chevron on the additional colors all executed in rich varsity colors that pay homage to the leading schools and teams of the 1980s while also adhering to current fashion trends.

What can we expect to see in the coming months with Brooks Heritage Collection? 

Fall 2014 is the start of something big as we explore new products, new materials and new decades that that we will celebrate in the future.  Stay tuned for an exciting Holiday 2014 Collection that will launch in October, and then we turn our sights to Spring 2015 where we plan to take the next great step for this iconic brand.  

Where can we shop all the Brooks Heritage Styles and stay current on new releases?


While you will always be able to find Brooks Heritage Collection online at,the Brooks Heritage line can also be found at the following locations:

Thanks for sharing the history and inspiration for the Brooks Heritage Collection, Shane!

  1. mik Siggins

    I like the brooks heritage line, great stuff…but… I get that the chariot is slightly different to the original, its so close as to make no difference. But how’d you get the fusion so incredibly wrong? One of the craziest, wacky shoe designs ever (let alone in the 90’s)and you make a hum drum Kmart shoe with some fusion colours and style hints. ugh.
    And while the Regent is a pretty good reincarnation…its the Regent PLUS, not the Regent, the Regent (the very first hydroflow shoe) looks completely different (it was basically an Argent, but with the PU block with the hyroflow.

    • Brooks Running

      Hello! We created the Heritage Collection to celebrate Brooks’ 100-year anniversary by bringing to market fashion-forward recreations of historic footwear styles from the 70s, 80s and 90s. We understand not every style will work for every person’s tastes, but we’re glad to know you’re a fan of the Chariot and enjoying that recreated, iconic running shoe.

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