About this project
Update #7: Limited Edition 2,013 Pairs - Fully Backed
At Unbelievable Testing Laboratory we are a technology driven footwear company.
We create awesome shoes out of cutting edge materials, using advanced design processes and ultra lean production methods.
We have spent the last 15+ months designing and prototyping every element of our shoe, and we’re almost ready to go.
We think science is cool, and we want everyone else to think so too.
Our Light Wing started as a simple idea almost two years ago when our founder, Token Hu, started experimenting with TYVEK® paper by DUPONT™ when he was working at frog design.
From there we have taken a slow, yet steady, evolution to get to where we are today so we can begin to seriously think about running a full production line, rather than small batches of prototypes that we have been accustomed to.
This Kickstarter project will take us the last "couple miles" so we can:
1. Go through our next round of design specs and bulk material purchasing.
2. Finalize 3D modeling for the production molds.
3. Reserve factory floor time and tooling to produce our limited edition LIGHT WING: THE PENCIL.
THE PENCIL will be our first non-prototype shoe in the market
We are super excited about this. We have spent a long time perfecting the ins and outs of this shoe, and now we want you to have a very special version of it.
These are some of the first prototypes that we handcrafted.
So what is Unbelievable Testing Laboratory all about?
1. We create footwear that is impossibly light.
2. We advance science through every aspect of our design, material choice, and business model.
3. We are empowering tomorrow's leaders by making science cool again, and cooperating with leading education organizations.
So what is TYVEK®?
It looks and feels like paper, but is actually a brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers.
TYVEK® is a synthetic material that was "discovered" by DUPONT™ in the 1950's and commercialized in the 60's. Take a look at most of American homes today, and you will notice that they use Tyvek® as an insulation material.
It's an awesome ultra light-weight material that is water-proof, but highly breathable. Perfect for homes, and even more perfect for your feet!
Yes, Tyvek is water-proof. Have a look!
Yes, Tyvek is super durable and strong. Take a peak!
Yes, Tyvek is just like paper and we can print on it. See it to believe it!
Why are we limiting our production to 2013 pairs?
We think it is better to be safe than sorry. We want to be absolutely certain that we keep our promise to all of you supporters.
By limiting our production, we might reduce our reach, but at the end of the day we are 100% certain that we can turn around the project orders and assure you that you won’t be waiting months for your shoes to arrive.
We have studied our factories over the past year, and we know that from the day we close the project until the day we are ready to ship should not exceed thirty-five days. And we have even figured out how to ship direct to your house from our factory floor which will speed up our project delivery time!
What will supporters receive?
All supporters will be getting a one-of-a-kind pair of shoes. We thought it would be cool to stamp each pair with a unique Kickstarter ID out of a total of 2013 pairs. Depending on how early you get in on the project will determine exactly what number your shoe is stamped with.
The first 110 supporters will be guaranteed a number 1 thru 110. After that, the IDs will be selected at random once we go into production.
BACKER #1 - $88 - You are amazing! Be the first person to back us here and get the number 1 of 2013 pairs of the LIGHT WING special edition Kickstarter PENCIL (MSRP: Priceless). That's right, you will forever be able to say that you were customer number one of Unbelievable Testing Laboratory USA. As a special thank you, we will throw in two limited edition Tyvek® wallets too!
8 ROCK STARS - $68 - Second Place is also cool - Maybe you weren't quick enough to get #1, but don't miss out on numbers 2-9 (MSRP: Slightly less than Priceless). Be the only people in the world to have a single digit limited edition LIGHT WING PENCIL. We will also throw in one Tyvek® wallet too.
LIGHT WING MAVENS - $50 - Don't drag your feet for too long, you'll be saving $18 off our future retail price (Suggested Retail: $68). When you back us here you will be guaranteed a number 10 through 109 limited edition LIGHT WING PENCIL. After this, all other numbers are not guaranteed. We will also throw in one Tyvek® wallet.
LIGHT WING 2nd MOVERS - $65 - Despite being a bit slow, we have an awesome deal for you, you are still able to grab a pair our limited edition shoes! Get yourself one pair of limited edition LIGHT WING PENCILs. (Suggested Retail: $68).
SPECIAL SOMEONE PACK - $120 - Buy two pairs and save $10. Get two pairs of limited edition LIGHT WING PENCILs. You can get the same size or different sizes, just let us know in the the comments.
What sizes do we support?
AT CHECKOUT, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE YOUR SIZE. IN ABOUT THREE WEEKS YOU WILL RECEIVE A MESSAGE FROM US TO REQUEST YOUR SHOE SIZE. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.
SEE SUPPORTED SIZES BELOW:
The shoe is designed for unisex wear. We will collect all of your sizes after the project has reached its funding target.
US Men's Size 6-15 || US Women's Size 2-12.(If a woman has a shoe size larger than a US Women's 12, you can use the Men's sizing, but we do suggest choosing one size smaller). We do US half sizes.
EURO Men's: 39-48 || EURO Women's: 32-39 (If a woman has a shoe size larger than 39, you can use the Men's sizing, but we do suggest choosing one size smaller). We do NOT have Euro half sizes.
(Please be very specific with your sizes, i.e. USA Size Men's/Women's OR your European Size Men's/Women's)
How to get the right size?
Getting the right fit in shoes is always a bit tricky. But, we have spent a long time perfecting our fit. When telling us your size, you can use what size you wear in Nike or Converse as a good reference. The width of the shoe is D/E, so those with slightly wider feet, shouldn’t worry about our sizing. Because our shoes are designed for casual use, we can be a bit forgiving in the width. (Please be specific that your size is a US Men's/Women's size or a European Men's Women's Size)
The $11 "Wallet-Only" Backer
One impossibly light TYVEK® special edition wallet. For those of you who didn't get in quick enough to be one our first 110 backers, then you can also pick up a wallet here for less than half the price of our future retail price. The wallet combines Tyvek® and leather - blue leather on blue Tyvek®.
What are the basic elements of the shoe?
We are constantly exploring new materials and the application of those materials in footwear.
Obviously there are many materials, inks and design elements that go into our shoes, but let's focus on three: Tyvek®, URT Foam Rubber, and Poliyou Insole.
It has been the relentless testing and prototyping with all of these materials that has allowed us perfect our weight to strength ratio. The shoes are just impossibly light, weighing in at less than 150g per shoe (Men's size US 11), and we are hoping to get it even lighter for the final Kickstarter version that we ship to you. We like to say if you could design the feeling of air into a shoe, then this would be it.
If you watched the videos above you already know all the main features of DUPONT™'s Tyvek. It's strength to weight ratio is amazing, making it the perfect candidate for footwear.
The one question we always get is, can you wash the shoes? Can you really wash the Tyvek® "paper"? And the answer is YES.
Besides working on the fit and design of the shoes, our number one priority has been the inks and coatings we use to preserve the color when printed onto Tyvek®.
Combining that with the cooperation we have with our print house, we have designed printing applications that allows us to preserve the color integrity of our shoes after real world wear and tear of sun, rain, and the tumbling of your washer and dryer.
The Kickstarter Limited Edition shoe will be the first time we produce shoes with our newly tested and perfected URT sole. Using brand new mold design and manufacturing methods, we have been able to make our soles even more light weight than our most recent prototypes, while at the same time increasing durability by a factor of two.
We introduced the POLIYOU (3rd party trademarked) insole to our prototypes earlier this year. We have been perfecting the form and fit to use this unique material to reduce our overall material impact. Combined with the URT Rubber sole, and utlra-minimal design of the shoe, you get a low profile shoe that gives you similar cushion to what you feel in a more advanced cross-trainer athletic shoe.
POLIYOU has three core features: it's got some crazy ventilation ability, it absorbs moisture quite nicely, and it's got a thing for hunting down that nasty fungus and bacteria that tends to stick around in your shoe--so it helps your feet stink less too!
What is our DNA?
We think science is cool, and it is the thread that ties every element of our company, our culture, and our brand together. We create awesome shoes so we can change the world.
We believe changing the world starts with empowering tomorrow’s leaders with an awesome education and access to rock star educators. You can find out how we are working with Teach for America this school year by clicking here.
Science is our passion, and it is the fundamental element that drives the hundreds and even thousands of laboratory experiments that take place on every aspect of footwear design we produce before it hits the market.
So who makes up the Unbelievable Testing Laboratory team?
We are an interesting mix of industrial designers, graphic artists, ceramic artists, logistics specialists, and serial entrepreneurs. You can visit our site and learn more about us here, but in a nutshell the core team is five people who have come together by a random connection over the past year, who each as individuals, really wanted to change the world around them. And Unbelievable Testing Laboratory is now our vehicle to do awesome things.
Token Hu, founder and head designer is a native Chinese with years of experience at frog design and Microsoft. Maggie Ma, ever the artist supports all PR and Marketing activities. Kong Kong, is the graphic whiz-kid behind any media we produce. Shaun Nath, originally from Southern California, is a brand expert and logistics specialist who was introduced to the project by Joseph Constanty, a native of Philly, and the ever persistent entrepreneur in China.
We think science is cool, and we want you to think so too!
So where are we at?
This is not our first time working with production lines in China. The shoes you see in the video are real prototypes that we have been lab and street testing for awhile now.
Having worked closely with our factories, their workers, and the owners for the past 15+ months we are more than certain we can handle the order of our maximum limit of 2013 pairs for this Kickstarter.
We have already done hundreds of prototypes with the factory. Now we are going through the last phases of prototypes for international production. We are standardizing our design for international sizing, especially widths.
We are finalizing new rubber materials for the outer sole, reducing our material impact and making our shoes even lighter than what they currently are today!
We are also trying to perfect a handful of other key elements of the shoe (things you will probably never notice...but we will!).
When I check out I cannot provide my size, Why?
What sizes do we support?
Are there any other colors or patterns available on Kickstarter?
If you have any questions regarding shipping, please email Gabriella@theutlab.com
Risks and challenges
So each of these final tests takes time, materials and human resources.
We will be using the funds raised on Kickstarter to expedite this process, so that your shoes will be in your hands by August.
Once the project closes, we will be able to put together our material orders, and prep the factory immediately thereafter. That means we should be shipping from China direct to anywhere in the world by August 15th, and your shoes should be in your hands ten days later.
With your support, we can get these impossibly light shoes on your feet.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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