Hann Story

Keep pushing forward.

The journey is worth it.

20+ Years In The Making

I've been a recreational runner since college, along with being an avid bicyclist, downhill ski racer and skydiver. I completed my first marathon in 1995 but became convinced the shoes we had were poor performing and could actually cause injuries.

I had been cutting running shoes open since college to see how they worked and I started collecting research and interviewing people to see if I could build a better running shoe.

One evening in August 1997, I drove to O’Hare International Airport to run a half marathon on the Dunlop rubber moving walkways near the lower level parking elevators.

I placed my bags and Gatorade down, removed my sneakers, and proceeded to run barefoot on the walkways. To my delight the springy, resilient surface felt amazing. I felt less pain and fatigue during that run. I ran for just over two hours and did a half marathon on the walkways! My pace was also a PR (personal record) for a half marathon. This was big! Now if I could only figure out the secrets of these walkways and put that into a shoe…

This was the catalyst that inspired my journey into researching footwear designs in the hopes of replicating this experience. I started to modify shoes and tinker with different materials and structures to try and design a shoe that would recreate the walkway surface on my feet.

In the fall before the 2002 Chicago Marathon, I bought industrial composite fabric and baked it in my kitchen to form an elliptical suspension that had a similar spring-like feel when I was walking and running in them. A few days later, I ran the marathon in these shoes and beat my previous nine-marathon PR by 15 minutes! I was convinced that I was on to something.

The concept of the shoe is simple. It’s composed of two carbon fiber ellipses with one on the heel and the other in the forefoot of the shoe. Unlike foam, which only absorbs the energy from an impact, the carbon fiber ellipses act as cells that store energy upon landing and return that energy to the wearer upon take off.

Over the course of the next few years, I found a partner and formed a company. We built prototype research shoes and tested them with Dr. Benno Nigg at Calgary’s Human Performance Lab, where they proved to burn significantly less oxygen for the same speed than foam midsole shoes.

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After years of testing and licensing negotiations with large established brands, we decided the time was ripe to launch our own brand and sell our shoes direct to the people who wanted them - runners, walkers, people with fatigue and chronic pain.

My goal is to empower everyone to live their best lives. If we can make the experience of going outside, walking around the block, or running more enjoyable and embraceable, imagine what it could do for everyone’s health! That’s what we’re all about!

Thank you for reading about my story and my mission. I hope you're able to help join us in spreading the word and helping others get back on their feet.

My Best Wishes,

Lenn Hann