Headlines everywhere boast how technology touches our lives—from streaming television to tracking your workouts, the use of technology has enhanced almost every facet of our daily lives. However, it’s rare that fashion and emerging technology share the same headlines. This is unfortunate because some of the most potentially impactful technologies in our lives, what we wear on a day-to-day basis, has been overlooked. Problem solved with Hurdle Apparel.
Innovation is at the heart of activewear, but innovation in this arena is too often viewed as a fashion challenge rather than an engineering one. When I looked around—specifically when I look down— it was clear to me that the functionality of our socks hasn’t changed significantly in decades. There’s so much more potential here.
As an avid outdoorsmen and runner, footwear has always been something I’ve put focus into when buying a new pair of shoes. When I really started to pay attention to socks, I noticed no one has taken the time to reinvent this product for the 21st century. The footwear industry has untapped potential for innovation, which is where Hurdle Apparel comes in.
Proprietary comfort through socks
After enduring an overuse injury in my foot, called capsulitis, I set out to find tools that ensured I could continue my active lifestyle without future injuries. While many performance socks on the market claim to address these issues, I was faced with the same traditional knit socks at every turn.
When I started to do my own research to see if there were any innovations in the footwear industry, I discovered that innovation was few and far between. Many performance sock brands claimed to provide “support,” but in my experience, they all lacked the technological innovation that would offer true support and cushioning. Socks have the potential to play a significant role in footwear support because it’s the only apparel we wear that conforms to the contours of our feet, which has the potential to provide advantages that the circular knitting industry has overlooked.
In an industry that lacks innovation, I saw the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in others’ lives. The creation and engineering of the product required a lot of trial and error – well over 300 prototypes. I discovered pretty quickly that if I really wanted to invent this product, Hurdle would have to start its own manufacturing lab somewhere.
I was lucky to find an individual that has contributed to the innovation in the fashion industry, former SPANX executive, Tosha Hays. We founded our own research and development lab and were able to experiment new ideas and techniques with some of the best talent in the circular knitting and mechanical engineering industries. Our efforts led to a first-of-its-kind proprietary Matrix Technology in socks and hosiery, which is engineered to absorb impact and provide optimal cushioning and weight distribution. It’s the first sock with a seamless, internal structure that works to offer true foot support while exceeding the same thin, highly breathable qualities we love in our socks.
The difference a sock can make
Whether someone is working a 10-hour shift or running a 10k, everyone understands the value of having good, supportive shoes for longevity. However, most people overlook the importance of a great pair of socks. All of us have layers of pedal fat under our feet that absorbs energy and protects us as we walk or run, but sometimes we need a little extra support – particularly those who live an active lifestyle or are on their feet all day. Hurdle’s MicroGravity Matrix is made from a soft, flexible and ultra-thin shock absorbing material that conforms to the contours of your feet. When you wear the socks, the matrix acts as a thin padding that disperses weight across your feet and absorbs shock.
To provide optimal foot support, your footwear should be able to absorb energy (or “shock”) and distribute it optimally across your feet. Socks on the market today use natural and artificial fibers that simply lie flat upon human weight and are unable to do this. Because of our technology, Hurdle Apparel socks have the enhanced ability to absorb energy, properly distribute weight away from vulnerable areas of the foot and provide comfort that has never been experienced in a pair of socks.
To me, this really isn’t about disrupting an industry. It’s about solving a problem that socks are extraordinarily well adapted to solve for and continuing to provide solutions that consumers can benefit from in their daily lives, with Hurdle Apparel.