Splay Athletics

Our Story

Splay Athletics was born out of necessity. The problem was that I couldn't find affordable, barefoot shoes for my kids...so I decided to take it upon myself.

The truth is that I have hated shoes my entire life. It was not until I was in my twenties that I realized that my feet weren't the problem--it was the shoes. They weren't shaped like feet!

As my children began to grow up, it was getting harder and harder to find them barefoot shoes. The few options that did exist were quite expensive.

So I did what any rational person would do: I jumped on a plane and headed to the largest shoe fair in Mexico. The truth is that it didn't happen quite that fast. I had previously gathered together a great barefoot-shoe last (shoe mold), a fun design, and a felt prototype that I made myself. 

It took some time, but during the fair I eventually found the factory that I had be searching for and I made some great friends who would later play a big role in the company. (You can find pictures of this whole story on our Instagram page here)

The view from my hotel room in Mexico

Over the coming months we worked with the factory through several sets of samples and once we were happy with the samples, we launched our Kickstarter campaign.

I set a goal of $12,000 to help cover the costs of the first production order, and was blown away that the project raised over $43,000! It was so fun to see that there were other parents out there who were looking for the exact same thing I was looking for.

Over the coming months, things didn't go as planned. We were having too many quality issues with the factory and ended up changing factories. This delayed the project substantially. I won't go into detail here, but after working through significant delays, Splay Athletics was born.

We are now so excited about the future and hope to bring many affordable barefoot-shoe options to the market. We always welcome your feedback and suggestions!

-John Poulton