Back in the 1980s to early 1990s triathlon (and to an even greater extent duathlon) were fledgling sports. Australians travelling overseas to compete was a relative new occurrence, multisport magazines generally came in from overseas a month or two late and we read about these powerhouse athletes from the States who dominated the Bud Light Series in America with names like the Big Four (Allen, Scott, Tinley and Molina) immediately coming to mind.

Duathlon even in the States was even more low-key, but for many, the run-bike-run format (or as they were termed back then biathlons) gave less than gifted swimmers the opportunity to compete at the pointy end of the field from the onset of the race, rather than playing catch up post swim. With this I read with zeal stories of the Coors Light Duathlon Series in the States. A handful of names dominated, often handing the specialist triathletes their butts on a plate when they ventured out to compete head to head with the duathletes.

Two of those specialist duathletes dominated the US scene Kenny Souza and George Pierce and their head to head battles are legendary in the sport, culminating with Souza claiming a World title at the first official ITU World Duathlon Championships in 1990, where Pierce took the silver.

Now, decades later, Kenny Souza works with sports nutrition company Cliff Bar in their marketing department, whilst George Pierce has really taken the bull by the horns in an audacious venture to take on the big boys (i.e. NIKE, Asics, Adidas, etc.) in the sports shoe market.

Inspired to make a comeback to racing after a near death bike-truck accident in 2010 where he fractured vertebrae in his back and neck, Pierce developed a new shoe upper design launching a multisport specific running shoe that addressed the problem of getting in/out of shoes with wet feet for those with limited mobility or anyone that has an issue with conventional shoe laces.

The inspiration for the shoes came from need to improve transition speed when changing shoes twice in duathlons. There had to be a better way than stretch laces. I cobbled some shoes together in my garage and raced?in them two weeks later, immediately cutting 5% off my T1 and T2 times. I realized I was onto something and filed patents straight after that race back in 2012. I then travelled to a Korean shoe factory and literally taught them how to build the shoes. Since then I went back and forth to the factory five times in the last three years refining the product.

All of Pierces hard work culminated last year with the range successfully hitting the market with the first of three distinct upper closures the T1, T2 and T3 that are designed to be feet friendly allowing for natural foot biomechanics with built in adjustments that accommodate various instep heights with an upper wrap technology.

Pierce explains: The initial problem we wanted to solve was fast shoe entry/exit but we then stumbled upon a better fitting shoe that helps those rehabbing from trauma, stroke, etc. resulting in limited mobility/dexterity and kids simply love our shoes no laces to tie.

Since launching, the shoes have done the rounds being trialled by various pro-athletes and teams. The shoes had their international launch last October in Adelaide as the official footwear sponsor at the ITU World Duathlon Championships where George competed, finishing 24th in his age-group after suffering yet another cycling accident, this time resulting a broken collar bone and various ribs eight weeks prior to the event.

As a company we hold a strong belief that we can make a difference to peoples sporting performances and their enjoyment of multisports. Our T1 is patented and is the first lace-less, sock-less, tongue-less performance running shoe. Were a company founded, owned and financed by athletes. We are a serious, mission driven company. I hired Jim Tompkins, the former New Balance president to guide the development of our company going forward. The T1 release was the direct hard work of Jims team that built the shoe from scratch in 7 months and started shipping March 1, 2016.

GO #laceless, #sockless #tongueless