Article Running Free With Invisible Shoes

gosu_smurf

Senior Member
7 Jun 2011
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There are running shoes, and then there are running shoes that makes you think you’re not wearing any.

Just look at Invisible Shoes, based on the traditional huarache running sandals – fashioned out of old, used tires – of the Native American Tarahumara people of northwestern Mexico, which allows runners a barefoot experience yet with a layer of sole protection for complete natural movement, a lighter stride and strengthens your feet to boot.

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Founder of Boulder, Colorado-based Invisible Shoes Steven Sashen was inspired by New York Times bestseller “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, and set about making a higher tech version of the huarache running sandal using some hi-tech rubber sole material from Vibram and and some eye-catching cords. When he ran in them, he found that his chronic calf, knee and hamstring injuries quickly disappeared. And miraculously, Sashen’s life-long flat feet even developed arches. He was also swamped by requests from other runners who wanted their own pair. Chuffed, he started Invisible Shoes in end 2009, and began selling his “barefoot” shoes online. He’s since sold over 10,000 pairs to buyers from 55 different countries.

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Baring His Sole

“I shouldn’t be surprised that mankind’s oldest footwear was the answer for running pain and injury-free,” laughs 49-year old Sashen, a USA Track & Field Masters All-American Sprinter.

Interestingly too, that demand is growing for this kind of shoe. With over 85 barefoot or minimalist footwear options on the market from over 20 different companies, minimalist running is getting increasingly by health and fitness-minded people around the globe. Industry analysts project that minimalist footwear will make up 10 percent of running shoe sales in 2011, or US$500 million of a US$5 billion market.

To capitalize on this trend, Invisible Shoes introduced in July this year the first and only outsoles specifically designed for barefoot running sandals, in 4mm- and 6mm-thick versions. Co-developed with two former lead designers from Nike and Reebok, they feature soles made from a special rubber – FeelTrue™. What is interesting is that consumers can choose to customize their own sandals with different cords, even assembling the sandals themselves. Some users even debate and argue over different methods of tying the cords for the best fit or a comfortable run. Ten-percent of net profits from each purchase of custom Invisible Shoes is donated to the Tarahumara Children’s Hospital Fund.

The company recently received US$300,000 in funding from private investors to help the company scale. Not surprisingly, Sashen is eager and excited to focus on expanding the Invisible Shoes brand further. “While we’ve been thrilled with the organic growth of the company, this investment allows us to accelerate our aggressive, high-margin, scalable business plan,” explains Sashen.

The funding will be used for marketing development, product line expansion, further growth of a successful online platform and additional expansion into the national and global markets. With the additional funding, projections estimate company growth at six times its current value in 2012.

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Reactions: Lee11

Lee11

Member
2 Nov 2011
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Shoes with soul (pun very much intended):) - I have been waiting for something like this. I love walking around bare feet, but this will be so great to get my hands on for running. Back to basics, back to basics...Awesome post, thank you, I shall definitely be getting myself and those I love a pair. Here's to organic movement!
 

LLuDawg

Member
12 Nov 2011
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Just looking at them, they don't look very comfortable for running. I will have to try them for myself to actually see. Here in Canada it rains a lot so it would be better to wear boots haha.
 

roflolmao

Active Member
3 Jun 2011
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I agree with @LLuDawg.. The whole thing looks so..... Fragile. It looks like it requires quite a bit of effort just to keep em on while running. The thin thread that will be Inbetween the first two toes looks uncomfortable and prone to cause abrasions. Lol.
 

soccerbai123

Member
22 Nov 2011
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i agree with them. When I was looking at the picture, I was like, really? those are running shoes? it's more like a strolling shoes for me.
 

Alli

New Member
13 Nov 2011
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I like this idea. It seems to be the closest thing to barefoot running, which is awesome but always makes me scared I will step on glass or something. My brother uses toe shoes, which are also very similar to barefoot running. I'll definitely be looking into trying these, and maybe telling him about these as well.
 

karmaman

New Member
21 Nov 2011
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I want to purchase a pair of these kinds of shoes because I can't find a pair of comfortable running shoes or cross trainers, no matter how much I am willing to spend. Perhaps going simpler will be better for my feet than going the high-tech route.