Local Sneaker Company Embodies Denver Ingenuity

Denver-based company, Hypo Footwear, was first brought to life in late 2017 by Salvador Coca, the CEO and founder of this multifaceted sneaker business. Growing up, Coca had an ingenious vision for this side of the fashion industry and ultimately wanted to be able to build something of his own. With offices already in Denver and Laramie, Wyoming, Coca is the perfect example of how Denver dreams can become national realities and hopes to expand his business in the future to make it a global company.

When Coca started to think of what he wanted the name of this business to be, he wanted a short name that had some pop to it. The name comes from two words he put together himself.

“I wanted a company that started with an “H,” partly because the actual name of my corporation is the Saint H. Corporation. Hypo is the DBA and the name I wanted for my sneaker line. Saint H is short for Saint Homobonus who was a Catholic Saint of business people, shoemakers, tailors and clothworkers. He lived in Italy in the 12th century. He had a shoemaking business and he donated a lot of his product and profit to the poor,” explained Coca.

Colorful sneaker

303 Magazine: Tell us about yourself.

Salvador Coca: My roots are in Laramie, Wyoming. I was active growing up — I played basketball, baseball, football, soccer etc. I am also the oldest of four kids. Later I received an offer to Montana Tech College on a basketball scholarship but ultimately decided to finish my degree at the University of Wyoming. A few things I enjoy are sporting events, hanging with family and friends and playing golf.

303: Describe why and how you ended up in the apparel industry. What sparked your interest in the sneaker business specifically?

SC: We consider ourselves a sneaker company first, apparel is something we also do. We emphasize the sneaker part because the are very few sneaker companies compared to apparel companies. The sneaker industry is a whole different animal, it’s a lot more expensive and complex than apparel. You could say I was a bit of a sneakerhead growing up, not in the sense of buying all kinds of sneakers, but I would spend hours at Foot Locker in the mall while my mom shopped. I would analyze all the shoes and critique them on what I would change in the designs. The same thing was done with the Eastbay magazine. I loved the design and engineering process of a sneaker.

After college, I worked as a recreation coordinator which I did for 10 years but I was miserable. I wanted to always be an entrepreneur. I wanted to run a company of my own and accomplish something. So I quit my job cold turkey, I sold my house, cashed in my retirement and had my parents co-sign a loan to help finance the business. I needed over two hundred thousand dollars to launch just to get started. From there I started designing and away I went. Hypo has offices in Denver and Laramie, Wyoming.

303: When did this company open? How did it get to where it is today?

SC: It took about a year and half of design and planning to get it started — from the design, finance and final production/delivery from China to the U.S. We are still young, growing and learning. We got to where we are by grinding and marketing by social media, trade shows, collaborations and other events. Any opportunity we have to show our brand, we will do it.

Black Hypo sneakers 303: Who is your target audience? How do you get them excited about the brand?

SC: To start, Hypo is in the lifestyle/athletic or athleisure category. Our target audience is everybody. More specifically, we target men and women age groups 13-40 who are active and fashion conscious but we will have product that all ages and demographics can wear. We try to get people excited by wanting to empower and encourage them through innovative and creative products while changing the world. Hypo’s motto is “If you want something, go get it.”

303: What does the process entail to create each new product?
SC: The process for creating a shoe is very long. You have to send around 20 pages of a Tech Pack or specs to the manufacturer. The shoe is drawn from all sides, labeled of what material, components on how to put it together and so forth. From then there is back and forth discussion altering small things on the development. We are a new company so it took us a little longer from start to finish. As far as shirts and hats, they are quite easier. You can send a sample of materials and then develop which we did. However,  you can also find wholesalers here in the U.S. that sell you a blank product and you can imprint your logo on it and sell it as yours. It is truly only your product if your company name is on the tag.
303: What are your goals for the future of Hypo? Are there any projects you are particularly excited about? 
SC: Our goals are big at Hypo. We want to compete with Nike, UA and Adidas one day. We are very excited about our future in general. Currently, we have three new sneakers in development and others already designed and spec’ed out for the future. We are ready to bring on investors and ramp up our marketing and exposure. Another thing is we are looking for that right celebrity to bring on board that wants to grow with the company. More important than anything else we want to do good things — we want to help people in need and give back the communities where we are from. Let’s go get it.

Sal in white shirt

All photography by Optic Soul Photography