uot;You have to tell them it’s not leather. We do shoes that you think are genuine python or cobra ... you can’t believe they’re not real.”
Pliner didn’t just stumble into the footwear business. He learned all about shoes at his father’s shoe store in Chicago and likes to say he was born with a silver shoehorn in his mouth.
After owning clothing stores, creating his own clothing collection and designing shoes for other companies, Pliner founded his company in 1989. Five years later, he set a new standard of comfort in footwear with his all-over elastic shoes.
Pliner continues to do most of the design, and he credits his wife with providing him plenty of inspiration. Lisa Pliner, creative director for the company, recently launched her signature shoe collection. The Donald J Pliner Collection also includes handbags and leather clothing.
Along with designing shoes with fit and comfort in mind, the Pliners keep in mind the needs of children. Through their Peace for the Children Foundation, they build playgrounds, places where children can dream and work through their differences. They believe playgrounds can encourage communication among children.
"We’re creating communication, and communication is peace,” Pliner said.