Our Story

My interest in shoes began at the start of my career as a track athlete.  As early as high school I suffered from various running injuries: plantar fasciitis, shin-splints, knee pain and even lower back pain.  I consulted multiple medical professionals and was  diagnosed with a slight leg-length discrepancy (one leg shorter) so I was fitted with a heel-lift in one shoe and recommended to change-out my running shoes more frequently.  I was frustrated with the thought that my body, somehow became broken and I would need a device to correct it the rest of my life.

Picture
After high-school, I went on to compete for Purdue in the Big-Ten Conference (see my bio).  Again, I suffered from injury after injury so I consulted some of the best sports medicine doctors, chiropractors, and orthopedists.  They saw injuries like mine all the time.  In fact, nearly every member of the Purdue track team suffered at least one sidelining injury every year.  The injury rate of such a high-caliber track team was unexplainable.   During my senior year, over half of the 100 person track team was treated for either back pain or a pulled hamstring.  It was as if the injuries were as contagious as the Common Cold.  The injuries didn't make sense.  These were talented athletes, with talented coaches, backed by the best Big-Ten sports medicine doctors.  Not to mention, they had access to an endless supply of supposedly top of the line running shoes.

After both college and my track career ended I was fed up with running so I was pleased to be able to hang up my running shoes for awhile.  Truth be told, I never liked my running shoes.  One thing I never understood was why my running training shoes were incredibly bulky and heavy, while my competition spikes were light yet painfully tight.  Before long, I was itching to get back into running.  But I hadn't worn my running shoes in months and hated the fact that I had to abandon my flip-flops and comfortable slipper moccasins that I had gotten used to wearing. 

Picture
In 2008 I started to do a little research on the internet and found out there was a whole online community of people that also hated their running shoes.  And I began reading personal stories about average people ditching their running shoes and going barefoot.  This idea defied everything that I knew about running shoes up until that point.  I thought, 'how could their bodies withstand the pounding of running on pavement without any cushioning?'  

I had to test this new idea for myself.  So I started cutting apart my shoes.  For every pair of my shoes, I took the insoles out and cut the heels off so that they were completely flat.  Sometimes I popped them in the microwave for a few seconds in order to soften the glue so that I could rip the sole off.  I tested my cut-up shoes while running and while standing at work.  What I discovered was that all this additional technology in shoes is completely unnecessary.  I went back to the internet and read more stories, and  found people saying the very thing that I was feeling, "Why are shoes so overbuilt?  This needless technology only causes injury and discomfort."  Since the big shoe companies weren't going to do it right, I decided I had to take on the challenge myself.

My epiphany to start a shoe company began.  During my shoe brainstorming phase I did the opposite of what you might think.  For one, I began going shoeless more often.  And two, I began deconstructing shoes instead constructing.  I began running barefoot.  At first there was pain, but as I had learned from the internet, I took it slow and believed it.  After two months of painful calf soreness I began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Now my calves, achilles, and foot arches are stronger and more flexible than during my track career.

I continued to cut apart shoes, however I went through my whole closet, so I had to start buying new shoes to cut apart.  When my new shoes would arrive, I eagerly brought them up to my room and immediately took the razor blade to them.  By this point, my passion for shoes had turned into a burning obsession.  However my obsession was not like the typical shoe obsession.  My obsession was not at the surface.  It was deep down beneath.  Every shoe had a problem, and I had to get down to the root of the problem.  I turned into somewhat of a mad scientist.  My family thought I was going crazy and could not understand why I was spending all my hard earned money on shoes that I would immediately ruin with a razor blade.

At the time I was working at Starbucks.  It was time to take the next step toward my dream.  So I got myself a job at two shoe stores.  One store sold running shoes and the other sold orthopedic shoes.  Even though I became a great salesperson, one thing set me apart from my coworkers.  I was torn to have to sell shoes that I did not believe in.  I had a self struggle.  I had to sell people the problem, while in my head I knew the solution.

In the evenings after my shift, I worked on starting my shoe company.  To make a long story short, in August 2010 I began contact with Chinese manufacturers via Skype.  By December 2010 I had my first samples and displayed them at our first tradeshow.   And on September 15, 2011 our online store went live and our shoes became available in 22 stores.

This story is to be continued...


Andrew Rademacher
CEO & Product Developer