Does the world need another line of EVA-based shoes? Eric Saligumba thinks so. He is the founder of Crosskix (Portland, OR), which makes shoes out of ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), the same type of material used by Crocs and Native Shoes. His edge is that he uses four molds instead of just one to fabricate his shoes, imparting flexibility that is woefully absent from his competitors' footwear.
"By molding four sections separately and then assembling them into the final product, we are able to produce shoes that function and feel more like canvas, leather, or mesh shoes. You can wiggle your toes!" says Saligumba.
To achieve heightened flexibility and comfort, the upper part of the shoe is bonded to the outsole, allowing more control of the softness and grade, explains Saligumba. "The instep strap is attached using a plastic fastener, which swivels freely and allows the user to adjust the fit from loose to snug. And the side strap is bonded to the upper, keeping the heel in place when you're walking or running," says Saligumba. Have you ever tried to run in a pair of Crocs? he asks rhetorically. Well, you can in Crosskix.
Saligumba and his business partner Arthur Seto raised money for the company using the online Kickstarter fundraising tool. While he has mixed feelings about the experience, it did enable him to raise nearly $100,000. An additional $100,000 came from an unidentified investor.
The shoes are currently sold in an array of colors and styles through the Crosskix website. The company has received test orders from Dubai and Mexico, and there has been interest in such far-flung places as South Africa, Brazil, and the United Kingdom, according to Saligumba. He is actively seeking licensing deals with collegiate sports teams and reportedly has the ear of Canada's Dragon Boat rowing team.