Vimazi, a Portland, Ore.-based shoe startup which pairs runners with sneakers that match their working tempo, has raised $600,000 in seed funding to assist launch its high-tech footwear later this yr.
The funding will assist spur the primary spherical of manufacturing, stated Scott Tucker, co-founder and CEO of Vimazi. The corporate declined to offer particulars on traders.
Vimazi calls its customized insoles FastPods. They reply to the totally different speeds of a runner to offer higher cushioning and “most vitality effectivity,” in keeping with the corporate. FastPods are designed to work in sync with a runner’s tempo to maneuver extra effectively, and the heel and forefoot pads are tuned individually, accounting for variations in influence and propulsion forces.
“We found that as a result of the forces beneath your foot change on this very exact means in keeping with how briskly you run, that we may use that to engineer a shoe that’s going to carry out higher,” stated Tucker, a aggressive runner and shoe trade veteran.
Prospects buy Vimazi sneakers based mostly on their working tempo. There are six fashions which cowl the vary of speeds from 5-to-30 minutes per mile. They’ll promote for $160.
Earlier than the sneakers can be found to buy on this fall, Tucker stated the corporate will publish a number of scientific papers outlining the engineering and physics to confirm how the sneakers work.
Vimazi invented pace-tuned know-how, and it’s patent pending, Tucker stated. Working footwear is a big market, so the startup has many large identify opponents, however Tucker isn’t involved.
“No person else has it,” Tucker stated. “Moreover, competitor manufacturers will discover it onerous to satisfy the pace-tuned problem, as a result of they’re constructed on legacy fashions and declare that each shoe is appropriate for each runner. Vimazi says that every runner has particular wants, and that you may meet these wants with pace-tuned sneakers.”
The concept of trainers that present “energy return” has been round for a number of years, and a few fashions from manufacturers similar to Brooks and Nike tout distinctive cushioning techniques. Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly sparked controversy after elite marathoners broke world information utilizing the sneakers, which characteristic foam that reportedly acts “virtually like leg muscular tissues” to forestall fatigue.
John Zilly, Vimazi co-founder and chief advertising and marketing officer, stated the tech Vimazi has launched is a “logical bounce ahead” for the shoe market.
“There’s no motive all trainers shouldn’t be tuned by tempo sooner or later,” Zilly stated. “All strolling sneakers as effectively.”
Vimazi additionally has an app, RunCrush, which helps customers create a coaching plan based mostly on age, gender, present health and aim. Different footwear manufacturers have executed the identical, together with Adidas, Below Armour, Asics, and Nike.
Tucker stated Vimazi merchandise will enter the market each on to the buyer by way of e-commerce and conventional retail channels. The shoe launch will start within the U.S., however Tucker stated there’s international curiosity within the product.
Journey restrictions and provide chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic could push the corporate’s launch date again. Nevertheless, Tucker stated the pandemic additionally created extra of an curiosity in working, so the timing of Vimazi’s product launch was “auspicious.”
“Individuals are returning to in-person working races, marathons, that form of factor,” Tucker stated. “So it offers us alternative for publicity proper upon launch.”
Tucker has accomplished 5 of the six World Marathon Majors and beforehand led the working shoe and triathlon department of biking big Pearl Izumi. Previous to that, he was president of trail-running model Montrail, which was acquired by Columbia Sportswear in 2006. He additionally led trainers at Scott Sports activities. Zilly beforehand ran advertising and marketing company Milepost59.