Photo of Gary back in the day.
When we were coming up with the idea to reignite a 3rd generation performance footwear brand we knew we had to bring in the best of the best - Gary Siriano, Olympic Trials runner and footwear industry legend. Gary has been in the running and footwear game for a very, very long time. From being an All American runner in the 80's, to being a professional runner post college ( was a top contender at the 1984 Olypmpic Trials...), to a sourcing/footwear development career spanning 26 yeas, and working for some of the biggest names in the game, he's been around, and he's done it all. We recently sat down with Gary to pick his brain on what he's done, what he's doing with us here at YORK, and why the Henry is more then just a damn good looking "shoe."
So Gary, you've had quite the background in running, and footwear development. What exactly is your background?
Well I'm a two- time NCAA Division 1 All American runner in track and cross country at the University of Pittsburgh. I also qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 1984 and was in the hunt for an Olympic birth right up to the end of the race. My personal best for running a marathon was 2:11 (Oregon) with a slowest time of 2:16 at my debut in Houston. During my post collegiate career I won 81% of my races, those include several internationally acclaimed races from Australia to Israel. I'm a 3 (soon to be 4) time Hall of Famer. Not bad for a former high school football player.
Post running career I have been working in footwear development, sourcing, PLM, etc.... and developed all types of performance footwear over the past 26 years for brands such as ASICS, Etonic, New Balance, Puma, On Running, and now York Athletics.
I also lived and worked in Taiwan, China and Indonesia for 3 years back in the 90s.
What defines a runner?
By far, mental toughness. Once you achieve elite status, everyone is basically at the same level of fitness. The real test of a truly competitive runner is how much pain can you endure at the latter stages of an elite race.
You've developed many shoes in your days as a developer, which one has been your favorite (besides the Henry of course!)
I've enjoyed working on the Henry, no doubt. One of my favorites from the past was one of the industry's first waterproof running shoes called the Froghopper. Designer Martin Keen (founder of Keen Footwear) and I designed and patented the first integrated gaiter with this shoe. NBC News did a piece on it back in 1999 as one of the most innovative concepts in sporting goods that year.
A lot of people think the YORK Athletics Henry is a really nice looking shoe, which is awesome, but The Henry is also fully functional and more than just a "good looking shoe." What makes the Henry a credible trainer?
The Henry is a sleek combination of lightweight and performance. The materials we selected for the upper and in the midsole and the outsole making it a very credible trainer. What we found through our initial Wear Test results was how well the shoes held up through rigorous workouts in the gym and on the roads. The support features on the trainer, along with the durability were very encouraging for our initial launch.
What was the process in getting the Henry to where it is now?
With any startup you have many challenges from overcoming material minimums (MOQ), to finding the right factory partners, to timing for samples, to time allotted for wear test and adjustments. I think we were able to accomplish quite a bit in a short period of time.
What's your favorite feature in the Henry?
It's hard to pick just one feature. As a runner I like how "responsive ride" which is comparable to other established racer/trainers out there. Certainly we have more work to do but not a bad first intro.
Head here to pick up a pair of your own Henry's