DENVER — As the weather warms and people start to venture outside more, a Colorado couple wants you to hit the ground running, literally. You're in good company with Xero Shoes.
Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix started the business with next to nothing, selling do-it-yourself sandals with instructions on how to make them.
"We had a woman shipping product out of our living room," said Phoenix. "Our garage was floor to ceiling, boxes full of product."
But, it wasn't long before the concept was off to the races with room to grow.
"Within six weeks we realized, this is our full-time job," said Sashen. "We were hearing from people right away saying, 'These things are so comfortable, so much fun, and they're changing my life.'"
The husband and wife just cut the ribbon on their first showroom with 80-thousand square feet of warehouse storage behind it and dozens of shoe styles to choose from.
"Sandals, boots, kids, running, hiking, walking, hanging out all day, being on your feet all day," said Sashen of the footwear line.
Xero Shoes are famous for their sturdy, minimalist design. But, they're flexible enough to fit any adventures.
"We make things with a wider foot-shaped toe box instead of squeezing your toes together," said Sashen. "They're low to the ground for balance and agility, and we don't lift your heel. That will mess with your posture."
Their research, based on the barefoot running movement, found heavily-cushioned footwear could actually lead to bad form and injuries like plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and joint pain.
"The design side is pretty easy," said Sashen. "We want to keep things flexible, lightweight, and able to give you that ground feedback that your brain needs to move your body well."
Now the world is taking notice, with tens of thousands of top-rated reviews online and expansion in Europe. Xero Shoes was also the footwear supplier for the USA archery and artistic swimming teams at the Tokyo Olympics.
"Stronger is better than weaker," said Sashen. "Letting your body move is better than being immobile. Feeling things is better than being numb. Proper posture is better than misalignment. That's the gist of what everyone understands."
The showroom and warehouse is located at 11777 E 55th Ave, Ste 101 in Denver.