John Geiger’s Rise From the Steel City to Sneaker King

How a town full of conformity inspired one kid to be different.

When John Geiger was a kid in Pittsburgh, style was homogenous. To put it another way: Everybody looked the same, at least in terms of how they dressed. Maybe it was his non-conformist spirit, or simply the urge to stand out, but Geiger decided that looking like everyone else held little appeal. He started to get the desire for “putting things together that aren’t really supposed to be,” and he’s been doing so ever since.

Today, Geiger has come a long way from the uniformity of the Steel City. He now lives in Miami and has risen to become one of the most important sneaker designers in the country. If his name sounds familiar, that’s because Complex ranked him among the 25 most influential people in sneakers just a few months back. His road to get here was an indirect one, as Geiger spent several years working as the manager for NFL superstar Darrelle Revis, who was a close, childhood friend. But he’s finally landed in the field of designer footwear, which is certainly his true calling.

It’s not so much where Geiger is now that’s so intriguing, but where he’s headed. He has big plans for his own sneaker line, which, if his work thus far is any indication, will be pretty unique, to say the least. But Geiger handles his success in stride, and without any accompanying snobbery. “The perfect sneaker,” he says, “is whatever you’re into at the moment.” And this moment is definitely his.

For more from John Geiger, be sure to watch the new installment of “Then/Now” above, brought to you by Honda.