About Friendly Shoes
We’re a local San Diego startup that reinvented shoes. Proper shoes are a pain to put on and take off so we made them easy. We make stylish comfort shoes that slip-on easily and secure in a flash (zip). You’ll never tie laces again. It’s the 21st Century, after all. Now you can have properly fitted, supportive footwear that looks amazing, slips-on easily, and zips-up securely with patent pending Easy Shoe Access (ESA) technology. That’s Friendly! Be Friendly On Your Feet and support a local startup with a handmade product.
Friendly Shoes are Different, Here’s Why:
You don't sacrifice comfort, style, or support just so your shoe is easy to put on. Friendly Shoes slip-on easily without crushing the heel and zip-up one-handed. We use beautiful, top-grain leather or suede uppers because leather molds to each individual foot, it’s strength provides support where you need it, and leather is always in style.
Our Friendly Sole System is designed by an occupational therapist for proper biomechanics. The outsole is grippy, lightweight rubber so you get traction, and the heel is beveled specifically for walking. Our comfort foam midsole balances cushion with perception so you get stability. And Friendly Shoes come with two insole options: Arch Support and Classic Comfort.
Sacrifice Nothing: Be Friendly On Your Feet. Wear stylish, comfortable shoes made easy with patent pending Easy Shoe Access (ESA) technology.
Joseph DiFrancisco is an occupational therapist with blue collar roots. He’s also a shoe enthusiast who demands stylish, functional, and comfortable footwear. Joseph questioned why proper shoes are so difficult to put on. Why do we still spend several minutes per day untying and retying laces. If you spend two minutes a day dealing with shoes and laces you waste 5 full days every ten years. That’s crazy! It’s the 21st Century!
And as an occupational therapist Joseph knew that biomechanics matter and difficulty putting on shoes is a major problem affecting even otherwise strong people. He had many patients who could run for miles, if only they could put on their shoes.
The Challenge: Reinventing Shoes
Being neighborly, Joseph decided to do something to make shoes easier for everyone. His goal was a technology solution in a supportive active shoe that looks and feels amazing. The bottom line was it had to be a shoe that people who work on their feet would want to wear because it’s comfortable, functional, and stylish. And it had to present a solution that medical clinicians could confidently recommend as a bona fide solution to anyone having difficulty putting on their shoes.
That means it has to actually be easy to slip-on and zip-up, even by people with low grip strength. It has to provide the fixation, cushion, somatosensory perception, and traction we all need for stability. And it has to look amazing! (Did we mention Joseph is a shoe enthusiast?)
The Invention: Friendly Shoes
The process took over four years of research and development with input from patients, PhD scientists, and craft shoemakers. Joseph studied medical literature learning everything he could about shoes, built a top-notch team across two continents, tested a score of prototypes, and poured everything he had into achieving his vision of reinventing shoes.
The result? A comfortable, full-function active shoe with patent pending Easy Shoe Access technology (ESA) allowing anyone to easily put it on and take it off. That’s Friendly! So long, shoehorns. Goodbye, velcro. Adios, laces. Hello Friendly!
We are continuing to innovate. We are developing a range of footwear with different materials to suit different activities and customer preferences. But they’ll all have the same essential Friendly qualities: comfort, style, and Easy Shoe Access technology: Slip-in, Zip-up, and GO.
Coming Soon: Friendlies (Kid Friendly Shoes)
When young children can put on their own shoes it increases their confidence and saves parents time. But it's hard finding great shoes appropriate for all movement activities that young children (or children with delayed fine motor skills) can easily secure themselves. Enter Friendlies: Kid Friendly Shoes that are easy to put on, designed for children’s developing feet, and economical. Make sure you sign up for our email list to be notified of our exclusive Kickstarter for Friendlies.
How Friendly Builds Community
The essence of friendliness is bringing people together. Difficulty putting on proper shoes is a major problem affecting anyone with delayed or impaired fine motor skills, regardless of age or cause. So we apply a portion of our inventory and proceeds towards providing Friendly Shoes to children and seniors in need. That's Friendly!