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The Unbelievable Testing Laboratory has designed an impossibly light  four-season boot weighing in at less than 420g. Limited Release.
The ARGONAUT is a boot unlike anything you have ever worn before. Weighing in at only 420g, it is the lightest four-season boot you will ever wear.
The ARGONAUT is a boot unlike anything you have ever worn before. Weighing in at only 420g, it is the lightest four-season boot you will ever wear.
702 backers pledged $92,290 to help bring this project to life.

About

THE ARGONAUT: The Four-Season KEVLAR® and TYVEK® Paper BOOT project video thumbnail
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THE ARGONAUT: The Four-Season KEVLAR® and TYVEK® Paper BOOT

$92,290

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 AT THE UNBELIEVABLE TESTING LABORATORY WE ARE AN INNOVATION DRIVEN FOOTWEAR COMPANY.

 

 For the past two years, our team at The Unbelievable Testing Laboratory aka THE UT.LAB has been pushing the boundaries in footwear. We create awesome shoes out of cutting edge materials and use advanced design processes and ultra lean production methods. 

Our laser focus, testing, and prototyping led to our first two series, THE LIGHT WING and THE NINJA.

Looking for our next challenge, we listened to our fans, who wanted us to develop a TYVEK®-inspired four-season shoe. 

In response, we decided to re-visit a design that co-founder Token Hu had started working on around the same time as our LIGHT WING Trainer.

It was in those early days that our co-founder Token Hu was experimenting with a variety of materials and processes to better understand the challenges of footwear development.

A natural first step was working with leather, and the more he worked with this classic material, the more a concept for a boot began to take shape.

Although our limited resources pushed us to develop the LIGHT WING first, we took Token's design sketches and made retail quality prototypes to validate proof of concept and wear testing.

Two years of prototyping, refinements, and wear testing later, we are proud to provide our fans the answer to the four-season challenge: THE ARGONAUT.

THE ARGONAUT is an all weather boot that combines our experience working with materials like TYVEK®, MICROFIBER, and EVA RUBBER and introduces a new material known for its ruggedness and durability: KEVLAR®.

After two years of prototype development, this Kickstarter will help take us to the full production stage for our most sophisticated piece of footwear to date. This campaign will allow us to: 

1. Create a full set of of injection molds for the new EVA foam rubber boot outsoles

 2. Standardize our 3D molds to unify our model sizing 

3. Secure customized production quantities of the KEVLAR®-Nylon Composite 

In creating a market-ready version of THE ARGONAUT, our design team implemented the lessons learned from our LIGHT WING and NINJA projects to improve our original boot prototypes, design processes, and material selection to complement the TYVEK® upper.

Our friends over at DUPONT pointed us in the direction of KEVLAR®.

After months of experimenting on different blends, we chose a nylon-composite form of KEVLAR® that allowed us to create a strong and water resistant barrier.

KEVLAR® is an amazing material that dates back five decades and is an ultra-high strength Polymer developed by DUPONT. It's best known as the material that provides the strength and durability in military and police grade flak jackets. It is also used in body armor utilized by first responders, and it is found on the outer skin of the International Space Station.

Combining our newest material KEVLAR® with our rigorously tested tear proof and water resistant TYVEK® paper, our design team was satisfied with the durability, water resistance, and flexibility of our high upper. 

The original prototypes of THE ARGONAUT used high grade leathers, but our entire team felt a disconnect with using such a classically accepted shoe material with technology driven materials like like TYVEK® and KEVLAR®. 

Our research discovered a derivative of the MICROFIBER we were already using in THE NINJA series that delivered huge wins in our following tests.

This LEATHER-GRADE MICROFIBER is amazing for three reasons:

First, our tests show that this material is more water resistant and durable than the high quality leather used in our original prototype.

Second, implementing the microfiber improves our material use efficiency by nearly 30%.

And last but certainly not least, our use of this material creates a Creature Conscious boot that does not rely on animal-derived materials.

This rapid re-vamp has been designed and executed in our attempt to provide a quality piece of footwear that streamlines the design process from ideation to your doorstep.

THE ARGONAUT for Kickstarter will be released in a BLACK colorway and a BROWN colorway. Like our previous Kickstarter projects, all shoes will have a unique Kickstarter Serial Number that reflects its limited release. 

Help us reach our $150,000 STRETCH GOAL so we can release an additional four colors:

THE ARGONAUT Backer Levels are as follows:

ARGONAUT - PIONEERS - $88 – SOLD OUT - Help us pioneer forward. The first fifty backers will be able to get their pair of THE ARGONAUT in Black or Brown at the Pioneer price of $88, which is $50 off the expected future retail price. The first backer to stake claim as a pioneer will be granted the #0001 Kickstarter Serial Number. All other backers will be assigned a serial number at random. 

(Expected Future Retail Price: $138. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $35. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

ARGONAUT - EXPLORER - $99 - SOLD OUT - The next fifty pairs of THE ARGONAUT will be placed in the Explorer tier. Explorers can get THE ARGONAUT in Black or Brown at $39 off the expected future retail price. Limited Kickstarter Serial Numbers will be randomly assigned.

(Expected Future Retail Price: $138. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $35. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

ARGONAUT - EARLY SETTLERS - $118 - Our next 1,000 backers will be deemed Early Settlers. Early Settlers can purchase a pair of THE ARGONAUTS at $20 off the expected future retail price. Limited Kickstarter Serial Numbers will be randomly assigned.

(Expected Future Retail Price: $138. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $35. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

ARGONAUT - LEGION - $128 - Those in the Legion tier may have been one of later to join, but are just as important as those who came before. As a thank you, Kickstarters who come in at the Legion level will receive a $10 discount off the expected future retail price. Limited Kickstarter Serial Numbers will be randomly assigned.

(Expected Future Retail Price: $138. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $35. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

ARGONAUT - DUO PACK - $236 - Buy two pairs and save $40. Get two pairs of THE ARGONAUT in any color and size combination. 

(Expected Future Retail Price: $276. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $70. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

AT KICKSTARTER CHECKOUT, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE YOUR SIZE OR COLOR. ALL BACKERS WILL RECEIVE A MESSAGE FROM US TO REQUEST YOUR SHOE SIZE ON OCTOBER 29. 

ARGONAUT SIZING:

THE ARGONAUT is a unisex design and will be available in the following sizes.

US Men's Size 5-15 || US Women's Size 6.5 -16.5 || EURO 37-48 

Only FULL SIZES will be available for MEN, and the equivalent HALF SIZE associated for WOMEN. (e.g USM 5 = USW 6.5 = EURO 37)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL SIZING CHART with measurement instructions.

In addition, the following sizes will be tailored for a more narrow fit to help accommodate the average foot profile of women in this size range: 

USM5/USW6.5/EUR37

USM6/USW7.5/EUR38/39 

USM7/USW8.5/EUR40

Getting the right fit in shoes is always a bit tricky. It will never be perfect, but we feel confident that you should get the right fit. The width of the shoe is between a D/E.

Because we are not producing half sizes, we suggest that you order the next half size up (i.e. if you're a 9.5, you'll want to order a 10). 

We are constantly exploring new materials and the application of those materials in footwear. Obviously there are many materials and design elements that go into our shoes, and THE ARGONAUT is a synergy of two years of material experimentation, including: KEVLAR®, TYVEK®, MICROFIBER, EVA Foam Rubber, and the POLIYOU Insole

The combination of these material choices has allowed us to perfect our strength to weight ratio. On top of its awesome durability and incredible resistance to water, the boot keeps to our standard of being Impossibly Light, and weighs in at less than 420g per shoe (Men's size US 11). 

Our choice of KEVLAR® came from our need to find an ultra-lightweight textile that could shed water, and maintain a high strength to weight ratio. KEVLAR® is a polymer that has a unique crystaline structure that gives it incredible strength. 

KEVLAR® was discovered in 1965 at DUPONT by chemist Stephanie Kwolek while trying to synthesize materials for production in lightweight automobile tires.

Originally known as Poly Paraphenylene Terephthalamide, KEVLAR® is most commonly known for its use in flak jackets and body armor of police and military personnel around the world.

We have chosen a KEVLAR®-Nylon composite that takes advantage of all the great properties of the polymer while also providing a sufficient level of breathability in the upper of the boot. 

TYVEK®, also a DUPONT manufactured material, looks and feels like paper, but is actually a brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers, that is incredibly strong, water resistant, and durable. TYVEK® is the core component of all our LIGHT WING series shoes, and it is the core design piece of the high quarter on THE ARGONAUT.

THE ARGONAUT LEATHER-GRADE MICROFIBER is a derivative of the same material used in THE NINJA series. At 1/20th the diameter of a strand of silk, this MICROFIBER has the same principals of leather, and reduced wastage, as it is 30% more efficient in terms of materials used in production.

The LEATHER-GRADE MICROFIBER we have chosen for THE ARGONAUT uses a unique protective barrier that seals off water, and looks and feels like leather. 

THE ARGONAUT utilizes our time tested and athletic shoe inspired POLIYOU Insole. POLIYOU has three core features; it has great ventilation, it absorbs moisture efficiently, and helps prevent growth of odor-causing bacteria.

The POLIYOU insole is also easily removable for those who prefer using custom insoles or orthotics.

Having spent two years experimenting with EVA, and street testing higher grades of EVA, we have developed our first "Rugged" EVA foam rubber outsole. 

This sole has been street tested by our founders for nearly 22 months, and the EVA has stood up to tremendous wear and tear.

1. We create footwear that is Impossibly Light

2. We advance technology through every aspect of our design, material choice, and business model. 

3. We are empowering tomorrow's leaders by cooperating with leading education organizations to to make science cool.

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.

Technlogy is our passion, and it is the fundamental element that drives the hundreds of laboratory experiments that take place on every aspect of footwear design we produce before it hits the market.

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 six people who have come together by a random connection over the past two years, who each as individuals, really wanted to change the world around them.

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. 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. Jay Legaspi, a NJ/NYC native and recent Georgetown MBA grad is the resident "sneakerhead" who runs marketing. Wyatt Bai and Kong Kong are our graphic whiz-kids behind any media we produce. 

We've also been fortunate to have brought on amazing interns who have assisted in everything from product development, PR, and animation. To Jono, Victoria, Olivia, Kelly, Maria, Bee, Lizzie, and Jacquie: Thank You.

THE ARGONAUT is our next iteration in manufacturing development which is focused on speed to market from concept to your doorstep.

The shoes you see in the video are real prototypes that we have been developing for the past two years. Having worked closely with our factories throughout this entire design process, we feel comfortable in fulfilling an order of any size up to 5,000 units and fulfill at the end of November, but we will limit the production to 2,000 pairs for this first run so we can get them into your hands in time for winter.

Risks and challenges

PRODUCTION RISKS:
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 the Winter.

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 November 30, and your shoes should be in your hands fourteen days later. With your support, we can get these impossibly light boots on your feet.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING RISKS:
Regarding shipping, we have opted to offer THE ARGONAUT internationally. To our Kickstarters outside the US, we thank you for your support and would like to make sure you are aware of potential taxes and fees that will be placed on the shipment due to your country’s customs law.

The $35 international shipping fee does not cover any of these taxes or fees, and is the responsibility of the recipient. Neither THE UT.LAB nor the international shipping carrier receives any amount of the potential fees our international backers may be charged.

We cannot declare the items as gifts as this puts your ARGONAUT at risk of seizure or confiscation.

If you have any questions concerns regarding this issue, please refer to your country’s resources on Customs and Imports, and contact us here.

We are happy to talk about any of your initial questions and concerns regarding shipping or anything else regarding the project, and invite you to contact us before you back.

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Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $88 or more About $88

    ARGONAUT - PIONEERS - $88 – Help us pioneer forward. The first fifty backers will be able to get their pair of THE ARGONAUT in Black or Brown at the Pioneer price of $88, which is $50 off the expected future retail price. The first backer to stake claim as a pioneer will be granted the #0001 Kickstarter Serial Number. All other backers will be assigned a serial number at random.

    (Expected Future Retail Price: $138. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $35. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 50 backers
    $
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    ARGONAUT - EXPLORER - $99 – The next fifty pairs of THE ARGONAUT will be placed in the Explorer tier. Explorers can get THE ARGONAUT in Black or Brown at $39 off the expected future retail price. Limited Kickstarter Serial Numbers will be randomly assigned.

    (Expected Future Retail Price: $138. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $35. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 50 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $118 or more About $118

    ARGONAUT – EARLY SETTLERS - $118 – Our next four hundred backers will be deemed Early Settlers. Early Settlers can purchase a pair of THE ARGONAUTS at $20 off the expected future retail price. Limited Kickstarter Serial Numbers will be randomly assigned.

    (Expected Future Retail Price: $138. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $35. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 541 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $128 or more About $128

    ARGONAUT - LEGION - $128 – Those in the Legion tier may have been one of later to join, but are just as important as those who came before. As a thank you, Kickstarters who come in at the Legion level will receive a $10 discount off the expected future retail price. Limited Kickstarter Serial Numbers will be randomly assigned.

    (Expected Future Retail Price: $138. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $35. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $236 or more About $236

    ARGONAUT - DUO PACK - $236 - Buy two pairs and save $40. Get two pairs of THE ARGONAUT in any color and size combination.

    (Expected Future Retail Price: $276. Free shipping to United States. International Shipments please add $70. Note: International deliveries may be subject to Import Duties and Taxes that backer will be responsible for.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    38 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (21 days)