Develop a running shoe

Brand Building: Part 1

Marathoners Dream Shoe Project Hits the Wall (…and breaks through).


The birth of Pivot & Run, a running shoe brand, started with a dream of three runners, Roger, Alex, and Grant, in Capetown, South Africa. The 2020 Covid pandemic and the subsequent lockdown were the driving forces behind their decision to launch their brand. The runners’ goal was to design and develop a running shoe that is ideal for South African runners.

Launch a running shoe brand

Will the Forge V1 be the right shoe to launch their new shoe brand? By the end of their long-run Pivot & Run will have the answer.

Pivot & Run Brand Story

After conducting extensive research and talking to beginner runners and marathoners, the team identified the perfect design concept for their shoe. Their shoe needed a firm structure, fatigue-reducing underfoot comfort, and a high level of energy return to support long-distance running and efficient strides.

The Dream and the Challenge:

Develop a running shoe for South African runners, designed by South African runners.

First, they hit the road. Talking and running with beginner runners and marathoners alike to better understand, “What is the perfect running shoe for South Africans?” 

The Marathoners’ Dream Project “Hits the Wall”

Standing in their Capetown running shoe store, Roger, Alex, and Grant closed their eyes and imagined their dream shoe on the wall next to Nike and Adidas. It would work, it would sell, South African runners would love it. They could see the finish line.

Excited about the shoe’s potential, the runners hit a wall when they realized that developing and manufacturing sneakers was beyond their expertise. They searched for answers to their questions on Google, but they were still at a standstill. They had several questions such as “How do we find a factory to make our shoes?”, “How do we know if they are a good factory that can make the high-quality product we are looking for?”, “What if the shoe factory tries to rip us off or steal our idea?” and “How do we communicate with an overseas shoe factory?” They needed help to create their new sole technology, and they needed to find a factory they could trust to make high-quality shoes.

Breaking Through the Wall – How to Get Your Shoe Brand Started

However, their luck changed when they discovered “The Shoe Dog” and Shoemakers Academy, which provided them with the information and expert guidance they needed to get their brand started faster and with fewer headaches. The Shoe Company Start-Up Pro Pack Bundle they purchased contained invaluable information that saved them countless hours of time and frustration. The package included information on shoe design, development, and manufacturing, profit and margin spreadsheets, pros and cons of materials, cost sheets, spec sheets, marketing tips, necessary business forms, duty and tariff rates, communication tips, checklists, professional inspection techniques, and much more.

Finding a Shoemaking Coach

They worked on their shoe design but needed a pro to accurately transfer their ideas on paper. Someone to help them create technical drawings for their midsole technology. Could they afford the technical details they wanted in their shoes? Would their design be profitable? They had very little idea what it was going to cost to make their dream shoe. The friends needed information on footwear cost engineering which they were able to find here (in this online course).  

Roger decided that they needed to get there faster – they needed to work closer with a shoe-making coach like “The Shoe Dog” to help with their brand development.

Want to read more about their journey? Go to PART 2 of the Pivot & Run brand story.

Interested in starting your own shoe brand? Start here…

Shoe Company Start-Up Pro Pack Download
  • The Shoe Company Start-Up Pro Course Pack is a must-have for anyone serious about launching a footwear company.
  • All you need to get your shoe business off the ground.
  • The complete at-home course teaches you how shoes are made, how to select materials, and how to start your brand.
  • You learn how to write product briefs, find a shoe designer, raise money, find a factory, import and market your shoes, and much more.
  • Plus, a real cut-paper pattern and factory outsole blueprint AND 10 more valuable files you cannot get anywhere else (like our profit margin calculator).
  • Your success starts here! Four softcover textbooks and 4 PDF ebooks, all full-color 8 1/2″ x 11″, with over 1300 color photos.