Starting From the Ground Up: An Interview with Hobes Designer Georgia Hobart

All it takes is a little sole (we're talking 10 ounces, max).

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Georgia Hobart in her Manhattan apartment.
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"The best way to describe my shoes is a sock with a sole," says Georgia Hobart from across a table piled high with shoes in downtown TriBeCa, New York City. "It's not a very sexy description." We'll have to agree to disagree with Hobart, the Australian mastermind behind the extremely comfortable, lightweight footwear brand Hobes: nothing sounds quite more seductive than socks you can wear out in public.

Suede fabric swatches for upcoming designs.
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A spat with an old boyfriend was Hobart's creative call to action. "He was the same height as me," Hobart says, "and every time we'd go out and I would put heels on, he pretended like he didn't get funny about it, but he totally did." So when the two got into an argument about how long it took Hobart to get ready, she blamed it on not having flats she liked and he suggested she just make a pair herself. "So I was like, 'Fine!' and the next day I was Googling 'manufacturing, Italy, shoes' and clicked on the first thing that came up. It all happened so quickly that I still can't believe it's turned into a career."

Hobart choosing colorways and working on the site.

Hobart vowed to sell exclusively through the Hobes website. "I've had a few department stores ask to carry the line and it was really hard to say no when they came knocking, but I would much rather have a brand with integrity than sell a million pairs of shoes a day." But what makes Hobes's brand extra-special is that it has a little bit of Hobart's heritage woven into it, too. The Wooly Hobes, a winterized version, is lined with lambswool from her family's sheep farm in Australia. "I'm very much a true Australian girl — I love the outdoors and I love going to my farm," says Hobart. "Having access to the world's best lambswool and then being able to put it into my product has been amazing." Our toasty toes couldn't agree more.

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