LINK, Travel Diary
It all started over 10 years ago, in August, on a very hot and humid summer day.
I’m sitting outside the printing house, waiting for everything to be printed to my satisfaction, and my feet are dripping with sweat.
I look at the orange Crocs I bought a few weeks ago and ask myself: did they not promise that it would be ventilated and sweat-less on the inside?
I decided that it was a good idea to try to solve the problem of sweating in my shoes. I remember that the first thing I thought of was how to make a horseshoe for a human foot.
It is not easy to try and make a horseshoe for your foot, an idea which I bounced around in my mind in various ways. I remember trying to figure out the mechanism that allows a horseshoe to function and see if there’s a way, even with slight variations, to apply similar technology to people’s feet.
This resulted in a number of ideas, which I presented to a few of people, including Alex Padwa.
I remember my phone call with Alex.
He was not overly enthusiastic about working with me because I was a private entrepreneur investing his money, but after some persuasion and a guarantee to visit to his studio for a short meeting with a detailed presentation, including a number of my ideas for solving the problem - Alex agreed and we decided to meet on Friday morning at his studio in Tel Aviv.
The meeting in the studio was a bit surreal at first, when my little son Kahal (then age 3) and my daughter Nov (then age 8) pretty much stole the show.
While my wife was keeping the kids entertained, Alex and I settled into the conference room.
There I began my presentation, after which Alex agreed to send a quote that, if accepted, would allow us to get the project started.
We approved the proposal that was sent, paid the advance and began to work.
Alex, a brilliant designer, put together a winning team with Olga Kravchenko (a designer with impressive abilities that currently lives and works in London) and after holding another meeting at the studio in Tel Aviv, the ideas began to trickle down.
My basic guideline was that everything is possible as long as the top part remains completely open.
After considering various approaches, the favorable idea was devised by cutting a cardboard tube down the middle, making it gradually take on a different shape more adapted to the foot structure.
. . . .
The prototype gained momentum and advanced from a handmade model to one made by vacuum forming and then finally to a model created in a 3-D printer. And thus, it took us only a few attempts to reach a model that works and also looks excellent to take to the next level. At this point, I applied for a temporary patent, which I had written myself after learning everything I need to know about writing it correctly so that I wouldn’t have to change too much as soon as I needed to register a PCT and a final patent.
. . . .
After registering the temporary patent, I met with local shoe companies that I had reached out to, assuming that I’d win them over quickly and easily — a notion that turned out to be completely out of touch with the Israeli reality.
In one meeting after another, I met with interesting people, but nothing really came out of those encounters.
I couldn’t understand how none of them wanted to sign a partnership agreement on the spot and help promote the next big thing in the world of footwear. I innocently thought that all I needed was this amazing idea of the flip-flop-shoe we created in order to establish a large and lucrative business.
But I ignored the fact that I was alone in this struggle, without a team or any real action plan.
. . . .
After quite a few meetings with strategic partners from all kinds of overlapping industries, I realized I need to try a different tactic.
After watching an amazing video on TED, I realized that not having team can hinder this initiative severely, and that the timing (luck) of the project is vital.
Upon this realization, I decided to gather more people around me. Some of them stayed with me until the end and some left for various reasons.
Eventually we ended up with the current winning team that will lead the initiative to success (I believe) through Indiegogo in June this year.
My team and I decided to shift the focus slightly from a customized shoe to a mass-produced product.
For this purpose, we purchased a 3-D printer and began to experiment with small changes to the structure of the shoe in order to adapt it to the shoemaker’s last — This is how the footwear industry estimates the foot sizes of most people in the world.
Having solved the issue of fitting the shoe to the generic foot, we set out on a small journey to explore the technologies that would enable us to manufacture the shoe at a reasonable cost and the highest quality available today.
It’s getting closer …
Imagine wearing a watch without a wristband.
Backpack with no shoulder straps.
How about g-string with no strings attached?
Come to think of it, why not the good old flip flops, only this time with no straps!
Meet LINK, the world’s first Flip-Shoe.
LINK offers the best of both worlds. The comfort, style and safety of a shoe with the freedom we love so much in the flip flops.
Flip flops are fun to wear but we all know their limitations. Slippery sweat, hitting objects and screaming out of pain, and let’s face it, they are not really stylish or comfortable to walk that extra mile.
But with LINK you can have it all. Go to work, yoga class, pool, beach or shopping… whatever your whim and wherever it takes you, you won’t feel out of style or out of place when wearing LINK — the ultimate, most versatile flip flop ever.
And let’s not forget, no straps or strings attached! It’s the best invention since sliced bread.
LINK hugs your foot like a shoe, for more relaxed and protected walking with fewer injuries and much more breathing room for your feet.
So why settle for ordinary shoes or flip flops when you can have them both rolled into one.
About The Author
Yehuda Azoulay is the founder and CEO of Link shoes . You can connect with him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instaram.