Edge

UM senior manufactures first customizable fraternity boat shoes

Senior Jason Shuman founded Category 5, the only manufacturer to sell officially licensed fraternity boat shoes. His customized shoes will reach 200 college campuses by next spring. Cayla Nimmo // Photo Editor

Armed with boat shoes and his four best friends, senior Jason Shuman has begun his college campus takeover. What began as a project for an entrepreneurship class his sophomore year at UM has evolved into Category 5 Boat Shoes, the only manufacturer to sell officially licensed customized fraternity boat shoes.

Category 5 launched its “Class Meets Custom Takeover” at 80 universities this fall and will be at 200 campuses this spring. The University of Miami was part of the initial phase of the campaign, which involved campus representatives showing off the shoes to Greek organizations and the general student body.

The idea for the company came to Shuman when he was looking for boat shoes with the insignia of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. He noticed there weren’t any custom boat shoes and that most of the merchandise was overpriced and low quality.

Shuman grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, so after hearing him talk about the idea nonstop, his family finally told him he should work on it.

“At first, I was more scared of failure,” Shuman said. “Two years ago I was immature and not ready. Now, I am wholly dedicated and put in 90-hour work weeks. I’m the first to come in and the last to leave.”

Shuman’s father put him in touch with a manufacturer. When the first prototype fell apart, Shuman decided to try again with the help of his best friends.

Through research obtained from Greek organizations and the licensing company, they learned that the market for the shoes was definitely there: The undergraduate market replenishes itself by 25 percent each year and the number of Greek students tends to stay the same, allowing for about 82,500 people to join fraternities and sororities each year.

“We’re all students; me and Jason are the only ones in fraternities, but we are the target market,” said co-founder Nate Shron, a senior at Syracuse University and a brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi. “We are the students we hope will buy these shoes.”

Boat shoes have a special meaning to Shuman, who grew up in New England and spent his summers on the coast at a camp in Cape Cod.

“Boat shoes are the norm in Cape Cod,” he said. “They look good, feel good, and are convenient.”

After testing several prototypes, Shuman and his partners found their signature shoe: the Yachtsman. The design includes premium leather, slip-resistant soles and foam insoles that have a structured back, which make the shoes feel broken in from the start. The shoes are licensed for 19 fraternities, including SigEp, AEPi and Sigma Chi.

Category 5 is also expanding to sports teams, yacht clubs, country clubs, private schools and any other groups looking for personal customization. Shron says they hope to add women’s shoes and sororities in January. The men’s line will be adding color options as well.

“We’re always open to suggestions because customer service is the most important goal to maintain,” said Shron, who is Category 5’s vice president of business development and public relations.

Shuman has focused his energy on the business, because he says that to make it, you have to be fully invested in what you are doing.

“Dreams turn into visions, but hard work makes realities,” he said. “If you’re not thinking about this in the shower, then you’re doing something wrong.”

For more information, visit Facebook.com/Cat5BoatShoes and Cat5boatshoes.com.

September 20, 2012

Reporters

Ashley Martinez

Ashley Martinez is a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, which have sharpened her people-watching skills. She has worked as a staff writer, copy editor, assistant editor and is now the Edge arts and entertainment editor at The Miami Hurricane. She serves as the president of UM's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her work has been featured in The Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, The Communique, Gables Home Page and The Miami Herald. When she's not working on a story, she loves going to the theatre and singing show tunes.


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

New Multi-State Institute Focuses on Reducing Damage from Severe Storms ...

Daniela Deu was drawn to both architecture and urbanism, believes architecture can change communitie ...

Canes Basketball player development assistant will graduate with MSED in Sport Administation. ...

UOnline graduate will earn his M.S. in Health Informatics ...

Two Hurricanes receive AVCA All-America recognition for first time since 2014. ...

Coming off its first top-25 victory of the year, the Miami women's basketball team will play it ...

Hurricanes earn highest ranking since March 2013. ...

Walker IV recorded a career-high 26 points, seven rebounds in the win over Boston U. ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team earned an impressive 65-54 win over No. 20/23 K ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.