Local barefoot sandal company Xero Shoes will appear on ABC's Shark Tank this Friday February 1, 9|8 P.M. CST. Owner Steven Sashen and his wife Lena will be pitching five investors, the Sharks, in front of over 7 million people on national television with the hope to get an investment in their company and take it to the next level.
Steven Sashen returned to the track as a sprinter at age 45 after a 30 year hiatus but found himself riddled with injuries for the first two years until a friend suggested he try barefoot running as a cure.
"Basically, being barefoot pointed out some form problems I had, and when I cleaned those up (which wasn't hard because running with those problems HURTS), my sprinting improved and my injuries disappeared. I'm a Masters All-American sprinter now." said Sashen.
But Sashen found as others do that sometimes you need a little protection as a barefoot runner, and fashioned himself a pair of barefoot sandals based off traditional huarches made by the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico.
"Once I made them, I wore them EVERYWHERE. After you get used to feeling the world, you never want to go back."
The opportunity for a mention in the book Barefoot Running written by Boulder's barefoot runner Michael Sandler spurred Steven to quickly pull a website together and sell them online.
I rushed home, pitched this idea to my wife, and she totally shot it down. I agreed with her that it probably was a dumb idea... and then when she went to bed, I built a website. - Sashen
It took off. And within 3 months this was our full-time job. Three months after that we had the former lead designers from Nike and Reebok at our kitchen table, designing products for us, and it's been growing like gangbusters ever since.
Since starting the company in 2009, almost 28,000 pairs of Xero Shoes have been sold in 87 countries, to people from ages 1-91, who use them for everything from walking to hiking, camping, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, yoga, Crossfit, weight lifting, jogging, running... even doing 100-mile ultramarathons.
Formally known as Invisible Shoes, the company will officially be rebranded as Xero Shoes this week to coincide with the appearance on Shark Tank.
Visit XeroShoes.com to learn more about barefoot sandals, the benefits of barefoot running and to order a pair of sandals where you can make them yourself for about $20 or custom made for $40. There are many options in colors of soles, laces, accessories to make them your own.
Find out more about ABC's Shark Tank at http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank