About Grant Delgatty
Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Urshuz Inc., Grant Delgatty is completely dedicated to taking shoe design to the next level. He has made it his mission with Urshuz to push the boundaries of shoe design, and change the way people think about their shoes. It takes a person who loves a challenge and who can really think outside the box to go up against the industry standard⎯the kind of person who might ride a fixed gear bike with bull horns on the front that he got from a taxidermist in Texas. That would be Grant Delgatty.
Grant began his design career in 1992 when he moved from his hometown of Vancouver to attend the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After graduating in ’95 with a degree in Industrial Design, with concentrations in product and environmental design, he happened upon an entry-level part-time position at K-Swiss, thus starting him on the footwear track. Though he had never really considered being a shoe designer before, he took to the challenge right away and thrived.
After leaving K-Swiss for a full-time job at a product design consultancy firm, Grant was recruited to join E West Designs, a footwear design and development consulting firm, where he truly got his foot in the door, so to speak. In those three and a half years, he had the opportunity to not only work with over a dozen shoe brands and truly learn the shoe development cycle, but he also started working with the brand for which he would later become the head of design: DVS. For the next three years, he continued to polish his design skills and learn everything he could about the business.
In 2001, Grant was approached by a skate shoe brand that, at the time, was struggling to regain its position as a ‘cool’ brand and needed someone to help bring it back to life; Vans offered him the position of Director of Design, and he accepted the challenge. After having great success in reviving the brand, he also decided to try his hand at teaching. He took on a position as an instructor at his old college, Art Center College of Design, teaching one or two classes a week in product design. Soon after, he decided to leave Vans in order to quell the entrepreneurial bug that he had had for some time and pursue his dream of starting his own company.
For some time, Grant had wanted to find a way that shoe uppers and bottoms could be detached and reattached at the consumer level, all the while maintaining the shoes’ comfort and quality. The reason for this was, for the first time, the consumer would be able to have the creative freedom to choose the style and color combinations of their footwear, and enjoy the same design process that he himself had always loved being a part of. This idea became his new quest in life, his new challenge. For 3 years, he toiled to create the perfect model. In the end, research, trial and error, perseverance, and a tireless work ethic paid off: The Urshuz model was finally perfected and trademarked in early 2010.
In many ways, Urshuz really encompasses all of the things that Grant Delgatty loves and values. He loves to build and design things, whether they be shoes, furniture, or go karts, and to be creative. He has participated in the Red Bull Soap Box Races on a few different occasions, most notably dressing up as Dark Helmet from the movie Spaceballs, and flying down a hill in downtown LA in an 8-foot long Winnebago he made.
He rides a fixed gear bike that has real bull horns on the front and drives a ’62 Lincoln Continental Convertible with suicide doors. Certainly, this is a guy who loves being creative and having fun, yet also a guy who appreciates a challenge, and he has infused his company with this mentality.
He believes that design excellence, function, comfort, style, and recyclability should be a prerequisite for any shoe company, and so they are with Urshuz, but above all he believes that the consumer should have the chance to be creative and imaginative, and to have fun with change. After all, Grant has undergone many changes since starting his career fifteen years ago, yet every single one has taught him a great deal about what it means to design a shoe and to develop a company. Change is good in terms of life, but according to Grant, it should be in terms of shoes as well.