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Style and sustainability are words rarely used when speaking about recovery footwear. Kane, a newcomer to the market, is looking to change that.
At the helm is CEO John Gagliardi, an industry veteran who comes from a family with a history in footwear retail. (His father was the owner of New York-based Bob’s Sneaker Corner). Gagliardi, an admitted fan of Crocs and Native footwear, is launching Kane to deliver recovery product for active people that’s planet-friendly and features aesthetically-appealing designs.
And he is not alone on this venture. Kane’s first shoe — dubbed the Revive — was created in partnership with brand building expert Bobby Riley of Soldier Unlimited and board-certified foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Daniel Geller, who was instrumental in developing its active recovery design made to relieve fatigued muscles.
“You spend, even at a professional level, one to three hours a day working out, breaking down your muscles. But the majority of the day — we’re talking 90%-plus — is spent recovering. No one is applying that insight into it, creating a product that is about all wearing occasions,” Riley told FN. “Kane is coming in and meeting that mindful mover archetype and giving them a product to recover in from their breakdown in their fatigue 24/7, 365 essentially.”
The Kane Revive features dual-density construction, with a firm upper that sits atop a sole unit with 31mm of cushioning. Also, it was created with proper fit in mind — which the company said can lead to muscle strain when improperly addressed — by building the shoe on an anatomical last shape that mimics the proportions and contours of a foot. Kane also included perforations and interior ventilation channels on the Revive to keep the foot cool and dry, and completed the look with molded lugs siping for all-terrain traction.
As for sustainability, the story is told through the materials.
The highlight of the Revive is the brand’s BounceBack foam, an eco-based EVA foam that the company said uses biopolymers derived from sustainably-harvested Brazilian sugarcane byproduct. (Kane explained that sugarcane not only is a renewable resource, it is also carbon-negative.) The Revive, according to the brand, is composed of over 56% sugarcane.
Gagliardi told FN that he hopes to increase that percentage in the future.
“Our goal is to have a fully regenerative product where one day it will go to the landfill and not harm the earth. We are not there yet, but we are working with our manufacturers in Brazil to get there,” Gagliardi said. “With the EVA sugarcane material we are using, we begin at a carbon neutral point, but there are compounds in the shoe that don’t make us fully regenerative.”
Addressing the look Kane intends to deliver, Riley explained it by likening it to a pair of popular fitness and fashion brands: “If Equinox and Patagonia had a baby, would be it would be Kane.”
“We’re going after the active consumer type, and with the current style and colorways, we have plans to venture out into that more of the outdoor space, too. We’re not doing just a fashion play or just a medical play,” Riley said. “You’ve got Hoka [One One] and Oofos, Superfeet, that are about recovery, but are very limited in terms of wearing for all occasions. Kane is creating a product that is about all wearing occasions.”
The Kane Revive pre-launch will start tomorrow via Kickstarter. There are three reward tiers including “Early Adopter” for $55, which is a $10 discount for limited first buyers; “True Believer” for $65, which is the brand’s this is the core offering (and the price the shoe will be on it e-commerce platform; and the “Buy Two Discount” for $115, which is a $15 discount if you buy two pairs.
Following the pre-launch, pairs of the Kane Revive will be available direct-to-consumer via Kanefootwear.com in June.
Although Kane is launching the Revive with e-commerce, the company isn’t married to DTC.
“DTC is how we’re going to the market, but we don’t see that as the full strategy. We definitely see a connected commerce strategy where we will work with strong retail partners in the brick-and-click space,” Riley said. “We’ve already been in early stage conversations with people that are very interested, that want to increase the eco-sustainable brands that they carry. And obviously, wellness is huge now with retailers. I think we can learn a lot early on with opinion-leading specialty retailers, and then grow from there.”
Gagliardi added, “I have some relationships with specialty places around the country, and we like retail, but we’ve got to make sure it’s the right partners and at the right time. We’ll game plan and strategize on that as things develop.”