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Designing Jordans for Seabiscuit!

Footwear For The Equine Athlete

If you love to design athletic sneakers, you are more than likely thinking about designing, selling, producing these functional footwear for us humans and celebrity athletes. Why not put your skills in the off-radar industry like equine footwear?

Athletic shoes are made by the thousands and each athletic shoe is designed and engineered to suit the anatomy of the foot in motion while partaking in a particular sport. We engineer athletic shoes to have the right amount of toe spring (or none at all), flex, technology in comfort and we create new materials for breath-ability, wicking and no-sweat, etc. We even produce golf shoes when clearly you are already walking on soft grass, but there is technology and comfort in those shoes as well. Humans athletes take their shoes seriously.

Here is a thought to consider; horse racing, polo, hunter/jumper, trail riding, all are competitive, vigorous sports that involve pounds of pressure, pain and challenges when it comes to comfort for the feet – the hoof – of the athlete. The horse.

Equine Fusion of Norway is like the NIKE of the equestrian sports industry and they have engineered the industry’s first performance jogger for the horse (the Equine Athlete). Think what you will about the sporting of animals but to own and care for a professional equestrian athlete is no laughing matter. It is the sport of Kings and Equine Athlete owners take the care of their horse’s feet and their shoes, seriously.

Lets take a glimpse into the world of developing an equine athletic shoe with Equine Fusion‘s Managing Director, Sven Erik Revheim. And think about how you could be designing the next generation of athletic shoes for horses.

EXCLUSIVELY with Last-Report.com!

jogging shoes for horses
Photo: eqfusion.com

Last-Report: Please tell us about your company. When it started and why?

Sven Erik: The company was founded in 2005 by 3 people who worked in the oil business. One of them had a horse which she had big problems with, and a lot of cost with veterinarians. Most of the problem was caused by the lack of soft ground to walk on. They started to think about what they could do with the problem.

They started to compare the horses to humans. We (humans) are now able to train and jog outside on asphalt and all terrain because of jogging shoes which provides dampening for us. Because of this the idea was born. Why not make a soft and flexible jogging shoes for horses also? It took some years and a lot of testing to develop the first commercial shoe. The first commercial shoe was launched in 2011, and was well received in the market.

– Sven Erik/Equine Fusion

Last-Report: Horses are athletes too and Equine Fusion has developed the world’s first jogging shoe for horses that are professional athletes. How does that impact the equine industry in terms of other footwear/hoof care products on the market?

Sven Erik: Equine Fusion is the only company who has developed and patented a flexible sole for the horse. Our competitors have been on the market for many years, but their shoes are made of harder materials. The Equine Fusion Jogging shoe if flexible, and forms after the hoof. The flexible sole provides dampening against hard surfaces, and it also forms after the ground and gives excellent balance. This is the main difference between the Jogging Shoes and other shoes on the market.

We can see that the demand for our shoe is growing. The sales are growing, and it seems that more and more people see the benefits of using a flexible shoe on their horses. It will take some time to convince the whole industry, but we have been very well received in the market – (for the) Beta International 2013 we won the prize for the “Highly Commended” product in the category “Horsecare and Equipment.”

jogging shoes for horses
Photo: eqfusion.com

Last-Report: Do you see this trend growing, becoming more competitive as other brands introduce their version of functional technology in horse footwear?

Sven Erik: Our market is growing as more and more people have tried our shoe and see the benefits of using it. Other brands are not able to introduce shoes quite like ours because of the patented flexibility, but we see that the demand is growing worldwide for horse boots, and we have good competitors in this market. We still have a long way to go before we have the same reputation in the market (as our competitors) as they have built (their product) during the years.

Learning The Trade

Equine Fusion sites states that these Performance shoes are “developed by engineers in cooperation with veterinarians, renowned horse trainers, hoof trimmer and experts in shoe material and construction to achieve a shoe that perform in according to the horse anatomy and bio-mechanical function.”

Last-Report: How can footwear designers or footwear engineers break into this segment of the industry? What are the skills they need to know to present themselves to a company like Equine Fusion, if they are interested?

Sven Erik: The most important quality will be to know how a hoof is functioning on the horse, and also understand the complexity in these amazing animals. The biggest technology at the moment is the sole, so it is really important to understand rubber technology and how to make that work together with the forces created by a horse. The ability to understand the horse industry, and the movement in the industry against colors and design will also be very interesting.

jogging shoes for horses
Photo: eqfusion.com

Last-Report: What are some of the major details that go into designing a horse shoe?

Sven Erik: Key elements are:

*Wellness for the horse
*Understanding the function of the hoof and horse
*Industry trend in colors
*Sole design (grip)

Last-Report:Is there a “school” that you know of they can attend to attain this skill to design horse footwear?

Sven Erik: Not that I’m aware of.

jogging shoes for horses
Photo: eqfusion.com

Last-Report: Do you have to be a horse owner in order to design the next generation of athletic footwear for professional equine athletes?

Sven Erik: As long as you understand the function of the horse and hoof you don’t need to have a horse or own one. The people working in Equine Fusion at the moment are Engineers from the oil business. You have to be creative and think out of the box.

Last-Report: What advise do you have for anyone looking to get into the business of horses?

Sven Erik: Use time to study the industry. Make a lot of research on the topic before you start making something, make sure there is a market for it. Have something unique that nobody else has.

Want to take this a step further?

You can contact Sven Erik and gain more knowledge:
Equine Fusion AS
Jogging Shoes for Horses
email sven.erik@eqfu.no
skype Sven Erik Revheim
:: www.eqfu.no
mobile +47 98 28 82 82 

*This article has been updated*

Tanita Gray

Editor In-Chief, Publisher and Founder of Last-Report.com. Tanita S. Gray is a footwear, accessory and apparel designer/developer by day - writer and content architect by night. With over 16 years experience in the fashion industry, you can find her teaching at FIDM, drawing thumbnails, writing in her journal, or eating french fries.

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