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Thursday, February 2, 2012
Orchid Footwear back in bloom

OG Orchid team rider Brian Wizmerski tucks at Orchid headquarters in Pa.

In 2003, Orchid Footwear was created by Little Devil Clothing brand owner Derek Adams. The idea, a footwear brand created by and for BMXers, had been dabbled with by previous companies, including Inopia, but unfortunately, the quality of the shoe just wasn't there. For those familiar with the legacy of Little Devil and the quality of their clothing, it became apparent that Orchid was going to be the first brand to give the idea of BMX footwear a serious push. And sure enough, right out of the gate, Orchid's first line of BMX shoes created a stir within BMX.

The shoes were definitely made for BMX, featuring tailwhip protection on the interior of each shoe, outsoles designed to grip pedals and a team that transcended riding genres and ripped at everything, including Van Homan, Brian Wizmerski, Matt Beringer, Corey Martinez, Shawn Arata, Kevin Porter and Steven Hamilton.

Fast forward a few years, and Orchid was still steadily humming along. Some new riders have joined the team, including Randy Brown, Geoff Slattery and Brian Hunt, while others had left, including Corey Martinez and Kevin Porter. (Arata moved on away from BMX and Hamilton, well, we all know how that goes.) The one component of Orchid that remained was team rider Van Homan killing everything in sight and Orchid making shoes that were among the best BMX shoes in the business.

In 2011, Orchid lost some key team riders (Randy Brown, Geoff Slattery) and produced one season of shoes, including the Wiz/Animal collaboration. Then, for a time, the website went untouched, and many of us wondered what the future of the brand entailed. Not long ago, Van Homan left to pursue an opportunity with Ipath. I could sugarcoat this, or I could be honest and say that despite my loyalties to Derek Adams and Orchid as a brand, for a time, I doubted the future of the brand. Thankfully, I was wrong.

Brian Hunt's new signature shoe, available in June 2012.

As is often the case with BMX brands (including Lotek this past year), sometimes it's necessary to take a step back before moving ahead. And Orchid seems to be doing just that. Now back with a new website and new shoe models arriving in June, Orchid boasts a team that includes Brian Hunt, Matt Beringer, Brandon Reith, Dan Conway, Dave Krone, the Ginch brothers, Micky Marshall, Chris Childs and Brian Histand. They've revamped their line, bringing back the classic outsole for several models, giving Brian Hunt a signature shoe, and offering color ways in two models that allow for them to donate money to causes close to the heart (including Mike Tag's cancer fund and the Catty Woods insurance fund.) And if that wasn't enough, plans are in the works for a 2012 team video.

Currently on the Orchid site, sections from their very underrated "Footwork" DVD are now playing, and if they can possibly bring back the original jeans and the V2 Mid in black/gum, I can die peacefully.

Next up, SCG Shoes.