Some people assert that high heels are sexy. But how about Haglund’s deformity? Spider veins? Osteoarthritis? Not so hot, right? Yet, despite indisputable evidence that high heels are terrible for your entire body, millions of women wake up each day and cram their toes into high heels. And for what? To appear taller? Skinnier? More alluring? As a young woman who has given into the societal norm of wearing sky-high heels to get in to insert overrated New York City nightclub, I get that to look like the knockout fashionista you are, sometimes you have to say “no” to sweatpants and Uggs (unfortunately).
Mother-daughter duo, Teresa and Melodie, teamed up to solve the problem that every high-heel wearing woman faces: continuous pain. After realizing that she couldn’t bear wearing heels for more than a few hours at a time, Melodie approached her mother Teresa and shared her idea of easy to carry, fashionable flat shoes that would provide a comfortable back up to high heels. Rollable, discrete and portable, these convenient flats became a passion project-turned fully fledged business for the two women.
“There was a point when I couldn’t sleep at night. It was tough because all I could think about was Sole Savers. Thinking about my source of pain and how it was most likely a source of pain for many other women,” shared Melodie. “I began to do the research to figure it out. Once I did that, I knew that I was onto something. That’s when I shared it with my mom.”
It didn’t take many discussions to convince Melodie that the issue of high heel-induced foot pain was nearly unanimous with fashion-forward heel-wearers. After months of research on how to make the perfect, comfortable and stylish flat, Sole Savers was born.
“As mother and daughter, we have always been close. We have certainly had to learn how to balance and differentiate between business and home life,” said Teresa. As this is her concept and idea, Melodie oversees a lot of the day-to-day operations. On the other side is Teresa, who handles more of the logistics. “Together, we collaborate on the creative elements for Sole Savers. Where we have the biggest issue is if one of us has an idea and the other completely disagrees with it. How we have learned to settle it is to take some time away from it and revisit its viability.”
Though there are plenty of other competitors in the foldable flats market, Melodie and her mother insist that their shoe is different, the most important differentiator being their mission. “Every sole has a soul. It means that each person who wears our shoes means something to us, and that it’s up to us to use our profits to not only produce more soles (shoes) but to elevate, support, and pour into the community,” said Teresa. “Our business was designed with philanthropy in mind. And it is a core part of who we are and what we stand for.”
Further fueling their humanitarian efforts is Teresa’s youngest grandchild—Teyana—who was born with Congenital Heart Disesase (CHD). She has had two open heart surgeries, each before her second birthday. Sole Savers plans to be a direct contributor to Teyana’s Heart, a mission that encourages the awareness of CHD. The company plans to contribute to charities and work in different philanthropic avenues to keep with their mantra that “every sole has a soul.”
So what’s in the future for Sole Savers? “Our shoe sales are up for the year, and we are also launching a new line of shoes. I believe that the fact that we are really making people more aware of the long term affects that shoes have on our feet, is really resonating with our current customers and new customers,” said Melody. “This is allowing us to remain steady and grow. We haven’t exceeded our expectations yet, but we hope to do so very soon.”
“We plan to really grow our Heelos line. Heelos is a line of shoes that is paired specifically with charities to allow people to walk in the shoes of the people that are hurting, suffering, and need our help, continued Teresa. “These shoes are paired with advocates and celebrities who represent the charities that the shoe is partnered with.”