Gone are the days of sticking your foot on that awkward metal measuring tool at the shoe store. At least, that’s if you’re buying Atoms shoes.
The new silicon-valley funded, direct-to-consumer shoe brand has officially opened itself up for public sales. Up to this point, sales were on an invitation-only basis.
Atoms is the product of a “shoe-preneruerial” journey that began in 2009 when cofounders and high school friends Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim started working on their first shoe brand. While that endeavor, Markhor, still exists, the leather wingtips and loafers they make is a far cry from the style and minimalism of Atoms.
Ali and Qasm knew they hadn’t hacked the shoe industry yet. They knew consumers wanted more.
“We found that our customers wanted a shoe that they can wear every day, and they want their shoes to look simple instead of making too much noise,” Ali told AdWeek.
Through over a year of designing and research, Ali and Qasm landed on the perfect balance of form and function that they were looking for. The inner sole of the shoe is cushioned for comfort. The lace eyelets are oval shaped to avoid bunching, and the laces themselves stretch for those who just want to slip their shoes on and off. The tongue of the shoe won’t collapse on you.
The beauty is in the details.
What has really set the shoe industry abuzz, though, is Atoms’ unique and innovative sizing methodology.
“Sixty percent of people have a quarter-size difference between their right and left foot,” Qasim told Vogue.
In the pursuit of creating the most comfortable shoe possible, Ali and Qasm decided to introduce quarter sizes to the market. Shoe brands only go as far as half sizes, though many still only carry full sizes or very limited stock of half sizes.
Not only is Atoms offering quarter sizes, but as a direct-to-consumer online business, they have created a purchasing model that allows consumers to get the perfect size for every order.
When you purchase a pair of Atoms, you can select up to three different sizes to be sent to you, while only paying for one pair. Once you receive the sneakers, you can mix and match whichever sizes fit you best and then send the other four shoes back.
Needless to say, the merger of a minimalist yet careful design and comfort is getting a lot of attention.
“The thing that I love about Atoms is that it isn’t just a different look, it’s a different feel. When I put on a pair for the first time, it was a totally different experience,” Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit, said in a press release. He wore a pair of Atoms to this year’s Met Gala.
“Atoms are more comfortable by an order of magnitude than any other shoe I’ve tried. That wouldn’t mean anything if the shoes didn’t look great. Luckily, that’s not a problem, I wear my Atoms all the time and even my fashion designer wife is a fan.”
For now, Atoms has one unisex model that’s only available on their website for $179. There has been some criticism on Twitter over the high-end pricing for a seemingly basic shoe, but so far Silicon Valley consumers have reacted favorably. Sales will tell whether or not Atoms can truly revolutionize the industry.
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