Former All White's skipper Tim Brown holding a Wool Runner prototype. Brown's start up company Three Over Seven has started a Kickstarter funding campaign to get the shoes into production.
Tim Brown's sockless woollen
running shoe idea is one step closer to being a commercial
reality after the start-up's wildly successful crowdfunding
It took just over 24 hours for Brown's fledgling company
Three Over Seven to reach its $30,000 target on crowd funding
So far, more than 290 people from around the world have
backed the Wool Runners idea each pledging a small financial
contribution - and that figure could grow much higher by the
end of the month-long funding push.
The former All Whites and Phoenix soccer player said the goal
of hitting $30,000 from the Kickstarter campaign was the
breakeven point to get the shoes into production.
"It has required an investment of well into the six figures
to get to this point with our fabric production and the legal
costs of patent filing," Brown said.
The shoes are made from mid-micron New Zealand sheep wool,
utilising a patent pending process comprising of knitting
together wool fibres, melt-bond fibres, and multifilament
yarn to form a unique knitted fabric.
"None of those early stages would have been possible without
our funding partners at Wool Industry Research Limited and
Grow Wellington," he said.
Last month, Three Over Seven's woollen sports shoe concept
was awarded a place in a British Government-backed business
accelerator programme in the UK. Running enthusiasts keen to
try out the lightweight shoe can now pre-order a pair by
pledging their financial support on the Three Over Seven's
Kickstarter page - currently the only way to purchase the
"In time we would love to develop a more formal online
channel for the Wool Runners and other products to serve the
everyday athlete," he said.
The next step for the idea is to begin manufacturing. A
Portuguese factory is scheduled to start production of the
shoes in April with shipping and delivery of the first Wool
Runners set for June.
Brown says a key strategic business aim is to complete the
patent process for the proprietary woollen fabric and license
that out to other footwear manufacturers.
"All going well, The Wool Runners will be a case study for
licensing our fabric, using a GoreTex type model, to other
"There's a real need for Kiwis to get smart and tough about
their intellectual property," Brown said.
- By Daniel Lynch of
the NZ Herald