The final Part 2 interview with Athletic Propulsion Labs founders Adam and Ryan Goldston is here. The 23-year-old twin brothers revealed their deep industry backstory and ground breaking shoe in Part 1 of our interview with the company. Now, we now take a deeper look behind the aspirations and overarching vision of the newest entrant to the athletic footwear industry that brings with it the first performance basketball shoe designed to instantly increase your vertical leap. The high end, $300 priced APL Concept 1 shoe (sold exclusively at http://APLbasketball.com) is looking to break ground in a variety of ways and the Goldston’s want to let you know all about it. Continue reading for Part 2 in our final in-depth interview with Adam and Ryan Goldston, Athletic Propulsion Labs Founders…
Counter Kicks: What’s the initial retail strategy for the APL line?
Ryan Goldston: The APL line will be sold exclusively on our website which is athttp://APLbasketball.com. We know it seems a bit unusual not to be selling APL in the conventional athletic footwear stores but we really want to control the user experience and make sure that everyone is seeing the shoe in the same presentation and getting the full description of the product, our Load ‘N Launch technology, and the results achieved in our vertical leap testing. We just don’t want to take the chance that someone sees our shoe in a store and doesn’t really understand the brand, what we’re trying to represent, and just what an incredible shoe and invention this is. So, if people want to buy the APL shoes and instantly experience what it’s like to increase their vertical leap on the court they’re going to have to go to our website at http://APLbasketball.com
Adam Goldston: At the end of the day, what we’re really doing – and it sounds crazy – but we’re selling a dream. First and foremost, we had a great invention before we even had a basketball shoe company or a basketball shoe idea. We had a great invention and it’s basically selling somebody their dream. Everybody wants to jump higher. Everybody goes up and wants to be able to dunk, or to dunk like Michael Jordan, LeBron, Kobe, and all those guys. So, we’re selling somebody a dream with our invention.
Ryan Goldston: And to piggyback on top of that, there was actually an article published in the Wall St. Journal that compared how high people were jumping to college scholarships they got. And there’s two different thresholds in which there was a 1.5 to 2 inch difference with I think 15 percent more people that could jump the two inches higher in both of the thresholds having the higher likelihood of receiving a college basketball scholarship. And 2 inches is a huge difference when it comes to playing basketball. If you can get 2 inches from spending $300 on a pair of basketball shoes that can increase your chances of getting a college scholarship that much higher, according to this study, you could potentially be getting a way greater benefit and reward from spending this $300 that you couldn’t get in other areas. So that’s another thing that really contributes to what we’re saying in our slogan “Stop Dreaming. Jump Higher.”
CK: Have you performed any scientific tests on the Load ‘N Launch technology that’s in the Concept 1 shoe?
R. Goldston: Yes, we tested our APL Concept 1 shoe at a leading west coast university’s biomechanics lab. We tested the Concept 1 against another leading brand’s high performance shoe to measure whether APL’s shoe made you jump higher and allowed you to do so without exerting as much force. We had two biomechanics PhD’s who specialize in vertical leap conduct the testing using both a vertec and Kistler Force Plates, which cost between $50,000-100,000 each.
We chose to use a vertec because it is the system that is used both at the NBA and NFL combines to measure vertical leap and we chose to use the Kistler Force Plates because they are considered the gold standard within the scientific community when measuring vertical leap. The results from the test proved that APL Concept 1 shoe provided significant increases in vertical leap and allowed the subjects to jump higher using considerably less energy. Some of the subjects experienced as much as a 3.5 inch increase on their vertical leap. Within the confines of the biomechanics lab, 12 of the 13 participants jumped higher in APL shoes and none of the participants were world class athletes either. This was truly a groundbreaking test and solidifies our claim that APL shoes are designed to make you jump higher instantly. The report we received from the two biomechanics PhD’s confirmed this and stated that there was a statistically significant increase in vertical leap instantly.
In addition, the two biomechanics PhD’s discovered that the more the subjects jumped in the shoes, the higher they were able to jump. This is a result of getting used to the proper form and technique needed to properly engage the Load ‘N Launch technology which sits in the forefoot of the shoe. We noticed the same thing with our product testers as well.
CK: Would you guys like to be looked on as a niche brand or do you have a bigger plan in mind for APL?
R. Goldston: You know, we really want to carve out a niche right now which is the performance basketball shoe that makes you jump higher. Because we’re based on performance and that’s what we intended when we created the name of the company.
Having said that, one day, we would love to potentially expand and become a bigger company. In late 2011, we’re looking to hopefully move into running shoes and create a shoe where you can “stop dreaming, run faster.” So we’re looking to eventually expand but we’re really trying to focus on the niche that we’re in right now, create the best possible product we can, and make a shoe that everyone really appreciates and makes them jump higher.
CK: Was there ever any thought at the beginning of simply licensing your technology to another footwear company instead of creating your own shoe and brand around it?
A. Goldston: No, we never wanted to license it. When you have something revolutionary, you want to keep it close to your chest. It’s like, would you give your baby to someone else to raise? So that’s the way we felt. We felt we could build the brand the best because it’s so close to us. We had an idea of how we wanted the company to be when we started it and no other company could do it the way we wanted to do it, so that never crossed our mind on licensing the technology.
CK: What colorways in the APL Concept 1 can we expect? Is there any significance to the initial White/Black/Green and Black/Green launch colorways of the shoe?
A. Goldston: White/Black/Green and Black/Green are our main colors. Initially when we were coming up with the colors for the brand, Ryan said that he really liked this shocking green color which is our APL green. We were all gung ho for it but we didn’t know if we could actually build a brand around that color. Once we started making cards and just started figuring where it could go on the shoes we started to say, “Ok, we really could use this color and have it as our staple color.”
So, the colors we’ve always used since the beginning were White/Black/Green and Black/White/Green and things of that nature so we wanted our first two shoes to be that color. And we now have Cody Harris who’s the head of our graphic design and he’s a wizard when it comes to coming up with colors of shoes. He’s been working on a lot of stuff with us and we’ve been shooting ideas back and forth with him. We’re not sure exactly which colors we’re going to release in the future but we do have a lot of great ones. We have this White/Black/Red and Black/White/Red shoe that is crazy with the materials we used for that one and the way it shows up on the shoe, it looks great. Maybe one day, an all APL green shoe as a super exclusive or something like that. We have a lot of options because we have Cody on staff now.
CK: Talk a little about the materials you used on the upper of the APL Concept 1.
A. Goldston: It’s a mix between a carbon fiber material and a synthetic material that’s used on the eyerows. Then there’s the piping which is not a carbon fiber material but it’s accented in our APL green color so we really create a brand image and it’s something that you can notice everywhere. And when you see the color, we want you to connect that with APL.
CK: What’s the pricing and sizing you’re offering in the Concept 1?
A. Goldston: The shoe is $300 and we’re offering them in size 8-12, 13, and 14.
CK: What are the plans for additional APL models in the near future?
A. Goldston: We have several APL basketball designs that we’ll select from for future product launches. We intend to market the APL Concept 1 shoe for this season and establish it as the gold standard in high performance basketball shoes. The intricate details of the shoe design and technology combined with the fact that the APL brand is completely new to the market will make the Concept 1 shoe a style that will forever be remembered as the shoe that helped change the performance basketball market.
So, we have a bunch of other designs in our pocket. We’ve worked on them and they’re ready to go but what we really want to do is concentrate on Concept 1 right now and after that’s established and recognized, then we’ll release our other models.
R. Goldston: When going through the development phase, we’ve been developing 3-4 different other models of shoes that have all been tested to this point, so we know that the technology works. We’re choosing to release with Concept 1 but we do have some great looking shoes that we could potentially release soon afterwards.
CK: What’s the initial marketing strategy you guys have planned on getting the word out on the APL brand and the Concept 1 shoe?
A. Goldston: Well, initially we just want to create it in the viral market. We started off with grassroots so that everybody has to hear about us through the Internet since we will be selling on the Internet. We have ads in SLAM Magazine as well. We think that the majority of our customers are going to find out about us through blogs like Counter Kicks. So, we’re going about it in a grassroots type of way. It’s all viral right now basically besides our ads in SLAM Magazine. The main marketing strategy is to do it through the Internet because everybody is on the Internet now. That’s the easiest, most inexpensive way to spread the word on your company is to do it through the Internet and the viral market is powerful. You see the way people work themselves into a frenzy over shoes like when Nike releases things at House of Hoops and stuff like that. They don’t have marketing strategies, people just hear about them on the Internet, everybody goes crazy, and it just keeps building and building like a snowball effect. We’re hoping that’s what happens with us, except our shoes do live up to the hype.
R. Goldston: And like what Adam said, we’re also not sponsoring any athletes right now because we want our shoe to be the hero. If you look at our 3 and 4 page spreads in SLAM Magazine, the product is the hero. We focus specifically on the product and we want people to see the shoe from different angles and really get the idea that our shoe makes you jump higher. So, from a marketing perspective, we always want to keep in mind that our shoe is the hero. Not the people or athletes that are endorsing it, but the shoe and the technology.
CK: How did you guys feel personally when you created this new technology and the Concept 1 shoe, and how it all came together? How do you guys feel about the whole process of it so far with launching your own brand?
A. Goldston: Literally, I promise you the most exciting thing in my life that happened was the day that I tested the shoe the first time. I was standing in the kitchen when we got the shoes and I put the shoes on and I touched a part of the kitchen that I’ve never touched before. That was honestly the greatest feeling of satisfaction that I’ve ever had. I’ve just been so anxious along with my brother to just release our shoes because we worked so hard. There’s a lot of things that you don’t see in companies when shoes release. Like I remember Ryan sat in front of the computer screen, I want to say, 18 hours a day working on Photoshop and colors. He did it for probably two weeks straight and I’m not a Photoshop whiz like Ryan so I had to sit next to him and he had to wear those Gunnar glasses so he wouldn’t go blind. He just sat in front of the screen 18 hours a day doing color after color after color. Now that we actually have the product that we’re going to release and we can hold it and feel the material and go play basketball and then answer questions about them, it’s just such a feeling of satisfaction for us. We put so much time and effort into it and there’s a lot of things that will go unseen and unheard that people won’t ask about but you know that you did to make the company work and come into production.
R. Goldston: Every kid who plays basketball growing up dreams of being in the NBA or having their own basketball shoe, so it almost feels like we have our own basketball shoe because we’ve created this brand from scratch, watched it grow throughout the process from designs to the actual company, to the technology, and we have the samples that show the linear progression that we’ve had. And so just seeing the progression, we can see the changes that we’ve made and it’s gotten to the point where we literally have a full blown, high performance, amazing basketball shoe that we can call our own. It’s an amazing feeling and it’s really, truly something special.
CK: Any plans to get APL on the feet of a professional athlete or NBA player eventually? Is that something you guys would like to see?
R. Goldson: It’s certainly not something that we’re ruling out, but like I said before, the product is the hero. If there’s athletes in the NBA that would love to wear our shoes, we’d love to potentially, if possible, work out a partnership with them. But at this point in time, monetarily, it doesn’t make sense for us to do it especially when we’re trying to sell to people that it’s the product that’s high performance and not just the person that’s wearing it. Jason Richardson for example can do an under-the-leg, 180-degree dunk. And whether he’s wearing the shoes or not, he would still be able to do it so it’s not as believable when someone sees him wearing it. So it’s certain things like that which we really want people to understand that the product is the hero, the product works. Having said that, if there got to a point where we really expanded and there were athletes in the NBA that wanted to wear our shoes and we could make it work, it’s certainly something that we may entertain. But as of right now, it’s not in our immediate plans.
CK: What do you guys hope to accomplish with the release of the Concept 1 shoe and the launch of the Athletic Propulsion Labs brand?
R. Goldson: Our goal with the introduction of the Athletic Propulsion Labs brand is to create ultra exclusive product lines for the serious athlete who wants to gain a competitive advantage when playing basketball or engaging in other athletic activities. The athletic footwear market hasn’t seen a brand like Athletic Propulsion Labs before and we intend to be true to our mission on delivering products that will instantly increase the vertical leap of the players who wear them. Most of the well known shoe companies within the industry are huge. They have to create something for everyone. And they sell millions and millions of pairs of basketball shoes. We’re trying to carve out a niche right now in something that is for people that are serious athletes, or people that want to jump higher, or someone that just wants something that’s really exclusive because there’s not going to be very many pairs of our shoes when we come out. So if you want our shoes, you have to go to our website to get them.
Not everyone will have the shoes. It’s not going to be the type of thing where you’re going to see everyone walking down the street wearing the same shoes as you. You might not ever see anyone wearing the same shoes as you unless you told them about it, so it’s going to be a different experience for the consumer. The Concept 1 basketball shoe is an example of us delivering on our mission, so the main thing is we just wanted to create a basketball shoe that makes you jump higher and we really feel like we accomplished that. And it’s only going to be available at http://APLbasketball.com