Can you imagine a custom molded insert for your cycling shoes for under $100?
Alan Jacobsen, PhD, is an experienced materials scientist with 40 patents to his name. In 2013, he co-founded Architected Materials, a contract manufacturing firm specializing in ultra lightweight composites. Because he’s not already busy enough inventing high technology materials and manufacturing processes, this avid cyclist learned about the business of custom inserts for cycling and running shoes, then invented a brand new resin to simplify the curing process involved in manufacturing shoe inserts. Jacobsen’s neighbors tell me maniacal mad-scientist laughs can frequently be heard echoing from his cavernous secret lair.
The result is a mail-order custom cycling insole for under $100. Because Jacobsen’s resin is cured with ultraviolet light and results in a very lightweight composite footbed, he calls his operation “Light Insole.” Get it?
The ordering process is fairly simple. You pay your $$$, and Dr. Jacobsen’s minions sends a foam impression box to you. You step into the box with both feet to create an impression of them, then return the box.
The minions then use Jacobsen’s patent-patent resin and curing technology to make the perfect insoles for your feet. A composite base layer forms the supportive core and is bonded to a high performance foam layer and a wicking top layer, with ventilation holes in the base to keep things cool. After the minions deliver your new custom insole, you add them (the insoles, not the minions) to your cycling shoes.
Dr. Jacobsen’s wife Caitlin — aka L.A. Running Mama — wants the operation and its attendant minions moved out of their garage and into a proper manufacturing facility zoned for higher minion density. To that end, he’s launched a Kickstarter campaign.
Jacobsen has already co-founded an honest-to-goodness multi-million dollar contract manufacturing business to commercialize new materials technology, so I think his cottage industry custom shoe mold operation should be no sweat for him. He also offers insoles for running shoes, so tell your running and triathlete friends. Stretch goals include offering inserts for hiking shoes and ski boots.
The Kickstarter page is super informative, but you can find more at the Light Insoles website, too.