About this project
Hello everyone, Thanks to an overwhelming response from the Kickstarter community we hit our maximum pledge target in just 5 days. While there is still 24 days of our campaign left to run we have decided to stop the campaign at 1064 pairs. Why? Rather than biting off more than we can chew, our focus will instead be on delivering the very best possible product to our backers at a scale we are comfortable with. For those who have missed out on pre-ordering Wool Runners we are sorry, thank you for your support and interest, we promise we'll be back. Please keep in touch with us through our social media links below and we'll let you know when the Wool Runners will be available again. Thanks, The Three Over Seven team // 3over7.com
The Wool Runners are:
- A World First: woolen running shoes specifically designed for sockless wear.
- Engineered With A Proprietary Woolen Fabric: strong enough to construct the entire shoe upper.
- Made From Wool – The Original Performance Fabric: that controls odor, regulates temperature, repels water, wicks away moisture, and resists stains and dirt. And, a sustainable resource!
- Uniquely designed: for running, jogging, walking and everything in-between. Crafted to be as comfortable in a pair of jeans as they are in the gym.
- Machine Washable: you can pop them in the wash on a wool cycle and they'll come out good as new.
- Made in Portugal: and, designed in New Zealand by product designer Jamie McLellan.
- For Wool Running: a 265g / 9 oz., TPS rubber, 3mm drop, single seam shoe of unparalleled softness and comfort that will revolutionise the shoe experience for the everyday athlete.
- The Beginning Of A Whole New Category Of Footwear: based on the natural, renewable and biodegradable benefits offered by wool.
- A New Zealand story: from the land of 31,662,841 sheep.
Our story starts with a frustration. As New Zealanders my brother and I have always been drawn to wool. Our grandmother knitted our jumpers for school and the stories of famous kiwi sailor Peter Blake wearing his lucky red woolen socks for weeks straight was etched in our collective “kiwi” consciousness. We often wondered if the natural, anti-bacterial, anti-odour properties of wool were the answer to our smelly shoes and it led to the question: “Why had wool never been used to make the upper of a shoe before?”
The simple reason was no woolen fabric existed that was strong enough. Existing woolen fabrics didn’t have the strength and structure to hold a three-dimensional shape, and were in most cases too stretchy.
Over the past two years, with the help of a grant from the New Zealand wool industry funding organisation WIRL, and with help of the clever people at world-leading textile institute AgResearch, we engineered our own. The result is a unique, patent pending, world-first fabric, designed specifically to have the strength and structure to make a shoe upper, with the comfort and abrasion resistance to be worn without socks.
The Development Of A Proprietary Fabric
Primarily made from mid-micron New Zealand sheep's wool, the unique patent pending process comprises knitting together wool fibres, melt-bond fibres, and multifilament yarn to form a unique knitted fabric. This fabric is then finished using a selection of processes to give it the characteristics suitable for use as a shoe upper.
How It Works
Foot Science: The main thing that feeds foot smell is sweat. With more than 250,000 sweat glands each, your feet are among the sweatiest parts of your body. In reality, sweat is basically just salt and water, and doesn't have a distinctive smell. The smell is actually caused by the bacteria on our skin that eats the sweat and excretes waste with a strong odor.
Shoe Science: The synthetic fibres most commonly used in shoes actually increase body odor because they create a breeding ground for bacteria.
Wool Science: Unlike synthetic fabrics, wool does not retain odors and will freshen just from airing out. Wool reduces the opportunity for odours to develop by quickly absorbing sweat and evaporating it into the air. In addition, the outer layer of wool fibers have a high concentration of fatty acids, which have anti-bacterial properties.
Wool Care: Our intense testing process indicates your Wool Runners will go about a month without smelling. You can greatly enhance the odour fighting properties of your Wool Runners simply by airing them out. The shoes are also machine washable and a run through on a wool cycle should leave them smelling good as new.
The shoes are initially available in four colours: black, natural, NZ blue, or Kea red. All going well, and we hit 60K we'll add a phoenix yellow option. If we manage to top 90K we'll add a cheeky Kea green into the mix as well. All of these colours are available on a custom designed TPS white rubber minimalist running sole.
The upper of your Wool Runners will have a double layer of our proprietary wool fabric. This allows us to create a two tone upper. Each exterior colourway will have a carefully selected interior colour as detailed below:
General note on sizing: Our shoes are quite narrow, but our woolen fabric uppers are super flexible and will shape really well to the widest feet.
Shipping for all international orders outside of the USA will be US $25 per pair. You should include this amount in your kickstarter pledge by visiting our kickstarter page and clicking "manage your pledge" button that sits next to our video.
The average number of days for shipping may vary based upon origin and destination. Also, please bare in mind any duty or taxes on import into your country will be your responsibility, so please be aware of those potential costs.
We understand mistakes with sizing will be made and we will do our best to exchange any pair of Wool Runners in good faith that you send back to us. Because our margins are really tight we will have to charge you for the freight cost of any returns.
We have been conceiving, crafting, and chasing the dream of the Wool Runners for over two years now. There have been dead ends, false starts, and prototypes numbering in the double figures. All that hard work has been in pursuit of a shoe that we felt was worthy of your support. We believe we now have that shoe....
The Wool Runners are 90% complete. However, everyday we are wearing and running in our prototypes, striving to improve the comfort, fit and performance. We'll continue to test and refine the shoes right up to the beginning of manufacturing in April. You can rest assured that any and all improvements we do make will be minor and designed only to improve the Wool Runner experience.
Where Your Money Goes
Risks and challenges
This is not the first time we have made shoes. Our previous experience with footwear manufacturing has given us the skills and insight to tackle the design, development, and the delivery of the Wool Runners with great confidence.
To tackle this project we have assembled a great team of world-class design talent, a world leading textile research lab, and a great manufacturing relationship with our factory in Portugal. After endless rounds of prototyping and testing we feel we have a world class product that we can't wait to get on your feet.
While, as with anything, there can be surprises we feel confident we can deliver this product on schedule by the middle of 2014. In the lead up to delivery we will do our absolute best to respond to all of your enquiries as promptly as possible, keep you up to date on our progress, and work as hard as we can to get you Wool Running as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
It is a funny quirk of Kickstarter that we have to come back, at the conclusion of the campaign, to ask for these details. You'll get an email the moment that happens. In the meantime, to move this thing along as quickly as possible, we'll shortly send out a colour size/survey to all backers so we can make preparations with the fabric and sole orders.
Yes. It is in the terms of the contract with our research and development partner WIRL, and quite frankly, we'd use it anyway cos' the stuff is amazing!
Of course she has.
So will the shoes and the wool get hot in the summer? Will it not smell forever? Foreverever? Are the shoes waterproof?
Wool is amazing. While wool has temperature regulating properties during testing we have noticed the shoes heat up when it is really hot in the summer. Not so you can't wear them but it is noticeable. The flip side of that is they are amazing in the winter and keep your feet toasty when it is cold out.
Wool also wicks away moisture so will absorb sweat from the feet. The anti-bacterial qualities and properties of wool will fight odour. In our testing, that will usually run to about 30 days before they start to smell at which point they can then be washed. Of course, this period and length will vary greatly by person and depend on usage. It will certainly perform better than sockless wear in your artificial uppers. You can greatly enhance the odour properties of wool by airing the shoes out and removing the anti-bacterial natural latex sole inserts in between uses. We'll send you care instructions with the shoes!
Wool will bead away water but if you step in a puddle in your Wool Runners your feet will get wet. However, the inner core of wool fibers can absorb 35% of its own weight in moisture making it one of the most absorbent fibers on the planet. Also, not until wool is saturated with 60% of its own weight will it feel wet to the touch. Because of this, even when wool is moderately damp, it will keep its thermo regulating properties and keep your feet warm.
Great link here for more detailed info: http://www.woolrevolution.com/virtues.html
Yes, of course, and they are still amazingly comfortable when you do.
The Wool Runners are designed to be run in as a minimalist running shoe. What does that mean? Basically, that they have a really thin sole (in our case between 9 and 12mm), which many studies have shown, actually promote better form when you run. The reality is that that is not for everyone and if you are used to a big "chunky heeled" pair of Asics or Nikes then you would need to be careful before you run the NYC marathon in them.
Even if you don't plan to run in them (an estimated 85% of Nike Free wearers never have) they are super comfortable, lightweight, and as comfortable pair of jeans as they are in the gym. They are great for folding up and travelling with, for walking in, and, hopefully you agree, a really beautiful, simple form that is refreshingly devoid of "swooshes" and branding; something that we have often found is hard to find.
For more information here is a great NYT article on the minimalist running movement (we also highly recommend the book Born to Run mentioned in the article): http://goo.gl/mEoI2j
Pending. We filed in November. Overall, the fabric has taken over two years to develop and we haven't done that all by ourselves.
Thanks to a world leading textile research lab at Ag Research in Christchurch, New Zealand there is some serious science and engineering behind the fabric. Also, engaging Ag Research wouldn't have been possible without our funding partners at WIRL (Wool Industry Research Ltd) back in New Zealand. You guys are legends!
Our good friends Ben and Bryson helped us to make a video we are really proud of. Check them out at www.stemcreative.co.nz. Thanks, also, to our friend Alan in Pauatahanui, New Zealand who let us use his farm and chase his sheep. Finally, the music in the video is by an American band called Bronze Radio Return. The track is called Shake, Shake, Shake and they very very kindly let us use it in exchange for us naming some kiwi sheeps after them. We did that, and safe and sound in one of Alan's paddocks are six sheep called Chris, Rob, Patrick, Matthew, Bob and Craig. Thanks for not deleting our very speculative email. Absolute legends!
Come on, you know this one: Baaaaaaa baaaaaaaa baaa
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