Thank you Vibram Five Fingers for opening up everyones eyes to the huge, untapped barefoot footwear market. What, you haven’t heard about this new trend in footwear and life, where less equals more. In 2006, VFF developed a shoe where each toe gets it’s own compartment and they removed the EVA Foam which traditionally cushioned the foot. As it turns out, apparently cushion and padding is a thing of yesterday. Sketchers didn’t get the memo, hence the ShapeUp and it’s enormous rounded sole.
Along comes Sockwa in 2008, minding our own business, simply trying to make a shoe from a sock. Easy enough according to friends and family. What about arch support, heels, cushion, and overkill? Ask Dr. Daniel Lieberman, a Harvard Professor who announced to the world in January 2010 that Barefoot Locomotion is healthier than all the bells and whistles on traditional footwear. Shocker, right, all we need is our own bare feet to navigate this planet. Well not so sanitary in restaurants, and disgusting in bathrooms. What then is the solution? Barefoot or Shoes?
I’ve been wearing shoes just like you since I was a toddler first learning to walk. I never experienced problems, and I certainly never gave it a second thought that they might be hurting my posture, gait, and knees. But things happen for a reason in this world, and ideas that aren’t acted upon usually get forgotten and opportunities come and go, and once gone, they’re gone. Sure, new opportunities are all around us, and one closed door leads to another open one.
Sockwa started in 2008 with a better beach sock than Vincere’s Sand Sock. Customers lined up at beach soccer events handing over $20 bills like we were going to run out of them. Pockets full of cash, no time for lunch, and sold out product seems like a business worth focusing on. We thought so too, and established relationships with beach soccer tournaments everywhere and then set our sights on Beach Volleyball and the AVP. Long story, short, it didn’t work out so well. Not that pockets full of cash is a bad thing, but it might perhaps be a bit short sighted.
At Sockwa, we listen intently to our customers. Not just the big ones, and not everyone, but a carefully filtered menagerie of them. What we heard shortly after we launched our beach sock, is that our customers wanted a sole on the sock so that they could navigate on land without burning a hole in the stitching after 2 days of wearing on concrete. We just as easily could have said “it’s a beach sock, and it was designed for the sand, so just wear shoes when you leave the beach.”. That would have been the easy way, for sure. Yes, we would have lost customers, but think of all the $20′s we could have collected.
As you guessed, we didn’t take the easy road, and instead spent every waking hour exploring sole options. Vulcanized Rubber, Silicone, Injected Rubber, PU fabric, and also TPU. There are pros and cons to every sole and design, but we made a decision way back then to stop focusing on the $20 bills and instead focus on how to design the lightest, thinnest, most durable sole on the market, and combine it with our successful beach sock of yesterday. What resulted is the New G2, available now.
This innovation didn’t come without sacrifice. We made a conscious decision back then to use plastic technology and cutting edge manufacturing techniques to introduce a thin, crushable, durable sole that performs better than most rubber and is faster to make than traditional rubber soles. Of course, we had to put aside the collecting of $20 bills until we developed a product worthy of charging three times that much. Family and friends didn’t understand this, and frankly thought we were a bit crazy to go underground for a year during development, but we had higher hopes and a broader perspective on what’s now known as the Barefoot Trend or Minimalist trend.
Sockwa is a company for the people. It’s focus is technological innovation and simplicity of design, form, and function. I’m currently in Asia, working on 2012′s new innovation in footwear. Again, this doesn’t come without sacrifice. I miss my boy Eli, and his big sister, Ava so much it hurts. My wife has also been very supportive through this entire endeavor, and I thank her again. Check out our NEW G2, with a larger toe box and our unique TPU sole, that offers you protection from everyday life, while still allowing you to feel the Earth as G-d intended. I wear mine everywhere, and look forward to future innovation, customer feedback, and to sharing our newest technology soon.
CEO & Founder