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Croatian Heritage Sneaker Brand Startas Arrives Stateside in May

startasStartas, Eastern Europe’s most iconic sneaker brand, makes its long-anticipated stateside debut in May, almost forty years after its inception…  

Originally designed for table-tennis players in the former Yugoslavia in the 1970s, the Croatian brand has become synonymous with expert craftsmanship, forward-thinking design, and the use of natural materials.

“Startas represents the intersection of a modern aesthetic, traditional production methods, and Croatian sensibility,” says Robert Grgurev, President of Startas USA.

Created by Croatia’s oldest shoe manufacturer, Borovo in Vukovar, Startas continues to be crafted in the same factory in which they originated in 1976. Production came to a halt during wartime in the 1990s when the area and factory were badly damaged; and it wasn’t until 2008 that the brand succeeded in landing the classic shoes back on the fashion map. In 2014, the brand made its entry into the European Union market reimagined under the direction of Croatian designer Iva Curkovic, and beginning May 2015, both women’s and men’s spring/summer collections will be available for sale in the United States on www.startas-usa.com, with prices starting at $65.

Founded as the go-to footwear for table tennis players, Startas were designed with flexibility, durability, and comfort in mind using only natural rubber and canvas.

“You can see how flexible and resilient Startas are by folding them and watching them bounce right back to their original shape,” says Grgurev.

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The shoes quickly developed cult status thanks to their classic sensibility, and in 1987 the brand was the official sponsor of the World University Games in Zagreb.

“As kids we would summer in Croatia and Startas sneakers were everywhere, more so than Converse or other classic brands we were accustomed to seeing in the US.”

Today, the heritage brand continues to evoke a sense of nostalgia and pride with its retro Balkan-inspired designs and free-thinking ideology.

Available for the first time in the US, Startas sneakers have been handmade by local artisans in Vukovar, Croatia since 1976. Made from flexible natural rubber and canvas, each pair of Startas is a refreshing expression of creativity, comfort, and thoughtful workmanship.

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