Inside Job: Mike Fox


Ever wondered about what it’s like to work for a big old snowboard brand? Does the big cheese sit in a pimped up office surrounded by free kit and a world class skate park in the back yard? Well, yes – if your name’s Mike Fox, Product Manager for ThirtyTwo.

Mike Fox, 32 Boots, California

What’s your job title?
Footwear Product Manager for ThirtyTwo. I always say, “I’m the boot guy.”

What’s your day-to-day work consist of?
Strategizing, planning and designing a.k.a. e-mails and meetings.

What brands are sole tech responsible for?
I only work on ThirtyTwo, but Sole Tech also consists of etnies, etnies Girl, éS, Emerica and Altamont.

Where is the Sole tech HQ?
Lake Forest, CA – in hot as hell Orange County suburban sprawl. Luckily we are only 20 minutes from Laguna Beach, where I live.

What makes it special?
Our work environment is pretty much perfect. Our office has a huge solar panel deal going on up on the roof and our owner, Pierre André, is passionate about the environment. We’ve got the etnies Skatepark here and the Sole Technology Institute (STI) lab. Not to mention more lunch options than you would know what to do with… no kidding, there must be 100 restaurants within five miles. I like to eat, so that is special to me.

Where do most of the office team come from?
It’s a really polarized crew from either New England, like me, or Cali natives. Nobody from the middle/red states…

How many people work there?
More than I know. I think about 200 or more.

Who’s the biggest character at Sole tech?
Ron Therrio, no doubt. He makes models for parts and outsoles. He’s really a sculptor with incredible detail skills. He also plays a mean guitar and used to be in Sensefield, which blew my mind because I love that band.

Do you all skate and snowboard?
Sadly, I’ve put skating aside in the last few years. I still mess around, but I don’t push it and wouldn’t call myself a skater. I kept getting hurt which would keep me from snowboarding and surfing and I can’t have that. I NEED snowboard and surf.

Is there a certain standard you’re expected to be at?
With regards to snowboarding, the ThirtyTwo brand group rides a lot. The standard is pretty much that you gotta keep up. We will not wait for you. If we lose you in the trees and you miss the lift, you just missed a meeting and that is not good.

What does it take to get a job in your team?
Skills – you gotta have mad skills.

What are the perks?
Snowboarding, I get to travel all over and ride a lot. Last summer I went to Chile, while this summer was Mt. Hood. I need to get out there and test new boots and check in with my testing crews. During the winter season I’m all over, but the highlight is our ThirtyTwo Boot Camp. We post up at a resort for the month of January and ride with our dealers everyday. Last year was Brighton and this year will be the Canyons. Utah powder rules and we get in our fare share of pow days.

What do you all do to let your hair down?
I surf – longboard specifically. I love the style of the 60’s surfers and I live right by some of the world’s best longboard spots, San Onofre and Doheny. Listen to some Beach Boys and you’ll hear them drop those beach names all the time. I live down by the beach and try to surf almost everyday in spring, summer, and fall. Winter is dedicated to snowboarding.

Any favourite bars?
I’m not a big drinker, but I do like the ladies. If you’re ever in the OC be sure to check out Captain Cream’s here in Lake Forest. Tell them Foxy sent you – that and 10 bucks will get you right in.

What stands you apart from the rest of the industry?
Our passion for riding. All our dealers who come to boot camp will all vouch for us. January is a busy time for every dealer, shops are cranking and they are getting ready for the trade shows, but they would never miss out on boot camp. Our passion for riding is magnetic and we are a fun crew to ride with.