About this project
ReflecToes are technical sports socks that reflect oncoming light. The motion of your legs catches the eye of nearby drivers and makes you instantly distinguishable.
Do you bike, run, walk, or even walk your dog in low light? Are you concerned about your safety around motorists? Then you need to be visible. ReflecToes makes that happen. They are awesome sport sock with built-in visibility. You will want to wear them every time you are out at night! If you forget to charge your lights or put on your vest, you still have the best visibility equipment on your feet!
The Brightest Reflective Technology For Apparel
ReflecToes uses thousands of tiny mirrors that are spherical "retro-reflectors" (like a cat's eye). They reflect a ton of light back to the source, illuminating your ankles so drivers see you. There are other reflective technologies (like reflective yarn used in socks), but the amount of light sent back for each square inch is much less. Furthermore, reflective yarn is not comfortable against the skin. ReflecToes, however, are not only the safer option, they are also comfortable and technical- designed with the best technologies to help you stay both visible and supported.
Wash Durable Up To 50 Washes
A highly visible, technical sport sock seems like a no-brainer, yet no one has successfully made any. One of the reasons there isn't already a sock like this available is that reflective heat transfers (like an iron on decal) are notoriously difficult to wash on stretchy material (like socks). We've worked hard on the design and materials to bring a wash-durable reflective sock to athletes.
Motion and Visibility Science
What scientists call biological motion is what allows drivers to recognize you instantly when out and about wearing ReflecToes.
“This ability to detect motion is key for animals, allowing them to detect the presence of predators” Daniel Kerschensteiner, MD
Simply detecting that something is moving, draws your attention to it.
"Motion allows you to compute the 3D shape of an object [and] the distance to various objects in the scene and estimate the direction in which you are heading within the scene." -David Heeger NYU professor of Neuroscience
ReflecToes Started When I Saw A Need...And Had Experience With The Solution
From 2010-2015 I worked in product development for Avery Dennison's Apparel Heat Transfer Labels group. There I developed new reflective materials and adhesives for small logos, used by brands like Nike or Under Armour. Part of that work left me with a lot of reflective swooshes and brand logos. At the time I would run after work with my son, and in the fall it would get dark while we were still out. Concerned about our safety, I plastered these logos all over my existing running gear to ensure my visibility to motorists.
By the summer of 2016 I had left Avery Dennison and was running the online sales of our family business (Oh, Susannah). My wife, 4 year old son, and I were living in Montreal, which is a very bike friendly city. We rode bikes all over the city every day and often came home in the dark. I felt vulnerable cycling around cars at night, but realized it was easy to notice cyclists who had pedals or wheels with reflectors- because they were moving! I realized then how effective a large reflective area around the ankle would be and thought, 'Why isn't this on our socks?'
It would be challenging to put reflective material on stretchy sock fabric, but with my extensive experience in product development for big sporting brands I knew exactly how to create an effective reflective sock. We've partnered with a well-known manufacturer to make the most effective night visibility sports sock.
Now I need your help to back the project so we can fund the initial production run!
I would like to give a special thank you to the below individuals for all their help along the way:
- Susannah O'Brien: My wife and best friend. She put up with my constant nagging and perfectionist questions not to mention being the chief photographer/videographer. She is also the creative brain behind the brand name and every aspect of the sock passed by her eyes at least once.
- Bo Obradovic: Bo produced and edited the video but has also been great to work with and bounce ideas off.
- Dennis Dougherty: Dennis was one of the first product testers and had some great advice on what he likes in a kickstarter. He also helped film some video shots.
- Ryan Homer: Ryan was also one of the first product testers and has my favorite brand name (Foot Luz) that we didn't use because we would endlessly have that song stuck in our heads. He also helped film some video shots
- Ivelin Demirov: Ivelin gave me the original incentive to do a kickstarter for this and has given a lot of feedback and suggestions along the way.
- Sean Kieley: Sean has given me some great feedback and we made some major changes after his feedback that made the video much better.
- Other friends: There have been many that had to hear about this from me almost everytime I spoke to them and they all gave great feedback.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk I see is if there is some trouble with scaling up the manufacturing. I've been very happy with the samples I've gotten so far, but I've been in a lot of garment factories and the sample is usually produced on separate equipment and sometimes in a separate building which can mean unforeseen problems that show up later.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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