The Science of SeaPigs Drifters
Why it’s so important for our product to be so well-crafted
At the age of seven I started to play rugby and carried on until a serious injury stopped me at age 28. I have played in the lowest leagues, the highest leagues, lots of representative rugby and played for fun, semi-pro and fully professional. After playing rugby I got into boxing and weightlifting, always looking to take on the next challenge. At the age of 41 my ankles and knees were at their worst and I was ready to do something about it.
At 41 I had a 22% limp and my new physio gave me very little hope of getting better. The years of punishment on my lower limbs had made me in pain when walking and I was unable to run and I mean I couldn’t run across the road.
One of my early dreams when writing my vision for my future was to be an entrepreneur who did not wear a suit every day and lived in flip flops. Flip flops to me mean freedom and putting up 2 fingers to the corporate world. To me wearing flips flops makes me feel alive, it reminds me of fun times at the beach, hot sunny days, frolicking with friends at the park, you get the drift - it’s more of a state of mind than a piece of footwear to me, but I was medically advised not to wear them - we are going to use technology to make our beach footwear, so you can rest in the knowledge they are loving your feet and not making things worse.
So after meeting my physio he gave me my exercises for the month and the do’s and don’ts of what to wear on my feet. First thing he said was that I needed to stop wearing flip flops - I already knew this as I had been advised this all my career playing rugby by doctors and physio’s. Whenever I wore them they were uncomfortable, gave me foot and lower limb pain and even lower back pain, but I persisted as they were part of my vision and dream. He told me which footwear I should wear and with what cushioning insoles I needed. There were lots of options for trainers and shoes, nothing for beach footwear. I went to an orthotic specialist and paid £300 for a pair of custom made flip flops - they were terrible, they fell apart after a month, looked like something my grandad would make in a shed in the dark. As they were so soft they just fell apart: rubbish. I do not have any photos of them, but let’s just say they were brown and goddamn ugly.
I tried sandals and flip flops with contoured foot support but they just gave me blisters and they looked clunky to say the least. I was back to wearing trainers on the beach on hot days. That means you have to wear socks. Apart from being very hot and getting white feet, it took ages to get them on and off, all I wanted to do was to wear flip flops - like everyone else and stop having to explain why I wore trainers for the beach. At certain times in my life I thought sod it and went out and bought flip flops, but I wore them for a few days until the pain was unbearable.
While I was doing my physio I decided to use mindful exercise to improve my lower limbs. I’m not your “mindfulness” kind of person, but it really worked and my progress has even amazed my physio (he is the type of ex-front-row forward who only shows positive emotion when talking about scrummaging or the 50m try he scored decades ago- if you know rugby you will understand). I am now running, albeit not very far and my whole ankle, calf, quads and hamstring needed to be built up, one at a time. In fact, I’ve had to work on building up individual muscles, then work on other muscles, then returning to these muscles three or four times. It has taken ages, three years, but I have also read and understood what your feet need for perfect health and well-being.
When I started this journey I knew I wanted to create a pair of flip flops that my physio would let me wear, so I found out what our feet need and why, then set about making beach footwear that looked and acted like flip flops, but were in fact the polar opposite.
I wanted the footwear to fit all types of feet, so I knew they had to offer under foot support, but while also being able to mould and adapt to the wearers foot, our feet are as unique as our faces - one size certainly does not fit all. My whole aim was to get approval from my physio to say that I could wear the SeaPigs Drifters. Plus without a £300 price tag.
After 2 years of development into the SeaPigs Drifters my physio gave this quote after trying them on, he has also been critical in the design and every time I met him to get treated I took him the latest prototype and got his opinion.
“The structure of the product allows the foot to be supported but also freedom to adapt, this will be beneficial to all not just those with foot pain.”
The environmental and sustainability angle is something else that I firmly believe in and this is second to the the fit for purpose of the footwear, but extremely important. SeaPigs the brand is all about loving our planet, but the SeaPigs Drifters in particular are about loving your feet.
So after three years we have come along way and now we are ready to test the product on real people. If you cannot or will not wear traditional flip flops then contact us and you could be one of our guinea pigs (if you’ll pardon the pun)
Over and snout
Love Our Tiny Blue Dot
SeaPigs Drifters - love your feet & our planet