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|Founded||Shanghai, China, 1920s|
Feiyue is a brand of Chinese sneaker produced in Shanghai since the 1920s. Today, they are still produced in China. Since 2006, the Feiyue brand is also owned by a French company, which operates separately from the original Chinese company, Double Coin Holdings.
Feiyue (simplified Chinese: 飞跃; traditional Chinese: 飛躍; pinyin: fēi yuè), means ‘to fly over’ or ‘to traverse’. This meaning is reflected in the slogan of the brand: Flying Forward, and evokes a dual elevation, which can also be translated simply as ‘elevation of body and mind’.
History of Feiyue
Feiyue originated in Shanghai in the 1920s and are manufactured by a company called Da Fu (Chinese: 大孚; pinyin: dà fú). They gained popularity during the 30's for their robustness, flexibility and comfort which were considered essential requirements for martial arts and various forms of athletics. The shoes are a staple for almost all wushu practitioners and athletes in China with the shoes even being used by numerous shaolin monks and Kung Fu masters. Feiyue continued to be popular for numerous decades with hundreds of thousands of shoes sold by the original company over the course of its lifetime continuing to the present day. The shoes are a popular export with numerous foreign martial arts clubs and schools importing them as the standard shoes for their students. According to Chinese tradition, Feiyue symbolizes the dual elevation of both body and mind. With the opening up of China and the associated cultural and economic shifts, this sneaker was gradually forgotten and began to lose prominence in China.
In 2005, Patrice Bastian, an entrepreneur living in Shanghai decided to team up with a group of artists to recreate the brandname with the stated intention of improving the image and appearance of Feiyue. Nicolas Seguy and Clement Fauth were part of his team to redesign Feiyue for the contemporary Western consumer. In February 2006, they launched the first French-designed Feiyue collection.
Distinctions between the Chinese and French versions
The original Chinese versions of the Feiyue shoes and the re-designed French versions have a number of differences. The differences include:
1. Sole of the Shoe
The sole of the original Chinese Feiyue shoe contains reduced padding on the bottom of the shoe, which is considered desirable for running and jumping. The sole of the French version has thicker padding on the bottom and is designed for more general purpose use. Also, the seal at the center of the sole is a green triangle on the Chinese Feiyue, while the marking is a red circle on the French version.
2. Canvas Material of the Shoe
The canvas material of Chinese Feiyue shoe is thin, resulting in a large range of ankle flexibility. The martial arts application requires a wide range of foot motion. The canvas material of the French version is much thicker and allows for less flexibility.
3. Color of the Shoe
The original Chinese Feiyues originally came in only two colors, black and white and also come in HI and LO version of each. The shoes were previously only available in a limited range of styles—simple stripes with some different colors. Now Feiyue China has expanded to a wider range of colors and styles.
Overall the Chinese Feiyues are designed as inexpensive Martial Arts shoes and the French Feiyues are meant to be casual shoes.
Feiyue Shoes in popular culture
Feiyue shoes currently enjoy cult status as both a fashion item and as a shoe for martial artists. Feiyue shoes had returned into the spotlight after actor Orlando Bloom had been spotted wearing the shoes causing a resurgence in interest for the brand. The shoes were also worn by a number of performers during the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games showing that they are still in common use in China.
The shoes can also be seen in the music video for Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks."
In late 2014 New York City comedian Brett Davis was endorsed by Feiyue. The white version of the shoes notably worn by Davis are more commonly known as "the Brettsters" in Brooklyn and some parts of Queens.
In the 1920s, a cloth shoe was manufactured in Shanghai, which was to later evolve into Feiyue years later.
In 1958, Da Fu Rubber Company (大孚橡胶厂) designed and produced a kind of civil Jiefang shoe (解放鞋) known as "FEIYUE". These were a modification of the cloth shoes used by the Shaolin monks.
In 1959, the modified cloth-bound rubber shoes "FEIYUE Shoes" officially entered the market.
In 1963, using FEIYUE and double arrow-labeled chevron with of "FEIYUE track and field", "FEIYUE" became the best-selling shoes in China with an output of 1,616,000 pairs, which is also prevailing in the market today.
In 1963, 1977, and 1985, the classic rubber shoes successively received Shanghai-level and the national-level awards of footwear in China. Famous indoor football coach Xu Genbao and player Qi Hong participated in contests wearing "FEIYUE track and field" shoes.
In the 1980s, "FEIYUE" sports shoes was awarded as "Shanghai's top brand-name products" several times.
In 2005, a French company started producing its own unlicensed version of Feiyue. An attempt by the French company to expand sales to China was refused by the Chinese government on intellectual property grounds.
In 2009, the Da Fu Rubber Company reorganized and sold the rights to Feiyue to the Shuang Qian Group Co. Ltd which then leased manufacturing back to Da Fu, and another manufacturer Top One (大博文), both traditional producers of Feiyue shoes.
Today, the shoes are used in China for general lifestyle and leisure, training, running, especially for martial arts and military training, and by touring Shaolin monks around the world.
- Deola Adebiyi (June 2013). "Kick Starters". Vertical Floor Magazine. Retrieved 19 April 2016.