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Since the mid 1990's, runners have come to my family's running store in the Wasatch Mountains complaining of knee pain, shin splints, and recurring foot pain. As a competitive runner who ran a world best 2:45 marathon at age 12, I understood their issues. My college research on running injuries, combined with video analysis at our store, made it easy to see that the design of traditional running shoes promoted poor form and excessive impact.
For decades, virtually every running shoe has featured pointy toe boxes and heels that were twice as thick and heavy as the forefoot. While shoe companies claimed this design would protect your body from running injuries, the scientific research did not agree.
After unsuccessfully lobbying shoe companies for years to change their design, I decided to modify shoes into something that could encourage low impact running technique and prevent injury.
Using the research as my guide, I went to work with my trusty toaster oven to try and solve my customers’ injury problems. I melted outsoles off of traditional running shoes and removed the excess heel elevation. It was ugly, but it worked! I coined the term "Zero Drop™" to describe how the level cushioning no longer dropped from the heel down to the forefoot. We enlisted our local shoe cobbler to modify our customers’ current running shoes to Zero Drop™. This worked so well at reducing injuries that we had nearly 1,000 customers buy and modify their shoes that first year! Luckily, some of the best and most innovative minds in the running shoe industry contacted us. With their expertise and two years of development, we created the world's first cushioned, Zero Drop™ shoes. We built them to be optimal for long distances and to avoid the foot problems that are now common with minimalist shoes.
Zero Drop™ was just one of the steps we took to return runners' feet to their natural position. The research made it clear that our shoe needed a toe box that actually mirrored the shape of a healthy foot—imagine that! We built the distinctive FootShape™ toe box specifically to help alleviate foot problems, including bunions, neuromas, and plantar fasciitis. It also enhances stability and comfort while providing a more powerful push-off.
I want to thank the thousands of runners who have embraced our concept and have made Altra one of the Top 10 running shoe brands in only a couple of years. Our entire team races distances from 5k to 100 miles. We also personally test our shoes to ensure comfort—whether running for 30 minutes or 30 hours.
Running is a big part of our lives, and I truly believe that our shoes can help people run better and realize that there are zero limits to what they can accomplish.
Founded in 2008, Compressport has already set standards in the sports compression market. Within only few years the company has been able to become the technical market leader in the field of compression products thanks to its special technical features and fibers, extraordinary design and the outstanding quality of its product range.
In 1818 the Grivel family of blacksmiths started to transform their production of agricultural tools to satisfy the rather peculiar demands of a new breed of wealthy tourists who, for unfathomable reasons, wanted to climb the mountains! So the Grivel ice axe came into being surrounded by skepticism.
Performing since 1999, Injinji is a sock company dedicated to the health and performance of feet. We believe Injinji socks can truly benefit people in every athletic pursuitand make the journey of life a bit more comfortable for everyone. For us, starting from the ground up just makes sense since our feet play such a vital role in almost everything we do.
Born in the UK in 2003, inov-8 manufactures specialist sports products in the all terrain running and performance training markets. Renowned for designing lightweight footwear boasting the ultimate in grip, inov-8's shoes can be found on the feet of the world's most demanding competitors and adventurous athletes.
Three entrepreneurial brothers. One great invention. In 1933, Björn, Alvar and Arvid Kjellström invented the first ever liquid-filled compass, and our story began. Not only was it the first compass of its kind, but is also set the global standard for how navigation works. The SILVA brand was born.
At Topo we understand running and trail from a totally renewed perspective, without giving up everything learned in our 30 years of experience in shoe design. We are not minimalists or maximalists, nor do we like to restrict the natural and instinctive movement of the foot to runners and athletes, in each of their steps.
Vibram® FiveFingers® is the latest example of our relentless commitment to research and product innovation at Vibram®. Industrial Designer Robert Fliri first proposed the idea of FiveFingers® footwear to Marco Bramani, grandson of Vibram® founder Vitale Bramani, who immediately embraced the concept. Soon, Fliri joined Vibram® and began working with a team of footwear professionals and product engineers who helped him to refine and realize his vision. That original concept has evolved into a premium collection of barefoot performance footwear known simply as FiveFingers®.