Getting To Know: David Whitfield – Creative Producer – HOKA One One

Born in 2009, in Annecy, France, HOKA One One‘s name draws from a Maori phrase which loosely translates to the meaning “fly over the earth”. Keeping in line with this free moving ethos, HOKA specializes in producing performance level shoes for road, trail, and all-terrain conditions. Each footwear style is infused with tech such as cutting edge Vibram soles, GORE-TEX membranes and lightweight cushioning, which all merge to create ultra-comfy yet dependable footwear ready to tackle any environment.

Founders Nicolas and Jean-Luc shared goal was to design a shoe that would allow them to run faster downhill and this led to the invention of HOKA One One running shoes, with the brands signature oversized outsole providing more cushioning than what they could find at the time. Holding the title as the fastest growing running brand in the world as of 2020 according to Forbes, HOKA’s maximalist running shoes are famous for their engorged silhouette thanks to these stabilising oversized outsoles designed to suit all terrains, from road to trail routes.

In conjunction with our first delivery from HOKA One One at HIP for AW21, we caught up with London based Creative Producer at HOKA – David Whitfield, to talk about his role, incorporating HOKA into his routine and the rise of trail running silhouettes.

Hi David, firstly please introduce yourself, and your role with Hoka One One? 

Hi I’m David Whitfield, Creative Producer for EMEA at HOKA. I’m working to bring a relevant look and feel to the brand for our region, and driving consistency across our creative outputs. 

Prior to working at HOKA I was Graphic Design lead at Aquascutum, and before that an Asset Creative at Dr. Martens. All culminating in a 50+ pair strong shoe collection – I don’t care what people say, I definitely need those pony hair leopard-print HOKA x Engineered Garment ones.

What does a normal weekday and weekend for you look like?

I started my role at HOKA during lockdown, and as anyone who has started a job at the same time will understand, it was a bit of an anticlimax having my first day sitting alone in the living room. We’re starting to get into the office more now which is great as it means my normal day is less and less about Microsoft Teams.
Having just moved back to Hackney, the weekends recently have been spent enjoying the delights of the local markets, especially Westgate next to Broadway Market, parks, restaurants, and of course, inevitably the Dolphin Pub (come down to hear the best karaoke rendition of Alanis Morissette’s Ironic you’ve ever heard).

What’s your go to HOKA style currently and why?

My current faves in the HOKA lineup are the Clifton 8, Bondi 7 and the new Engineered Garments Bondi L – I’ve been a huge fan of Nepenthes for years so for me it’s the ideal collaboration, and coincidentally how I was introduced to HOKA a few years back.

We’ve seen a huge rise in popularity in outdoors and trail running shoes in the last few years, why do you think this is?

If there’s one good thing that has come out of the past year and a half it’s definitely the increased interest in running and the outdoors. It’s been really beneficial for my physical and mental health to keep active. Seeing so many of my mates doing the same and seeing their improvements on Strava has been a real help for motivation too.

How do you like to incorporate HOKA’s in your daily life?

I’m by no means a professional runner, 5-10k is about my limit. So I’ve mostly been pairing them with my outfits for lifestyle wear. It’s great to see that the brand has been adopted in the trend space without losing it’s authenticity in running. 

Focusing on this seasons recent deliveries, which styles have you got your eye on from other brands at HIP?

Always love seeing the new deliveries from And Wander and Nanamica, especially as we head into Autumn, some of the best outerwear in the game. Snow Peak is really consistent in its output too. I’m a big fan of the Field Utility Pullover Shirt. Also loving the new HIP Living offering –  though our flat is probably at maximum plant pot capacity.

Keep up to date with David here and HOKA ONE ONE here.

HOKA ONE ONE – new to HIP for AW21. Online now.