Pivot & Run

Brand Building: Part 1

Marathoners Dream Shoe Project Hits the Wall (…and breaks through.)

A shipping box arrives in Capetown, South Africa. Three runners – Roger, Alex, and Grant have been working day and night for months to get to this moment. Roger carefully slits the packing tape and opens the box to reveal three pairs of the Pivot & Run Forge V1 running shoe. The three friends quickly find their sizes and pull on their new shoes. Encouraged and excited, they hit the road running in the shoes they dreamed about and struggled to create for months.

Launch a running shoe brand

Will the Forge V1 be the right shoe to launch their new shoe brand? By the end of their long-run Pivot & Run will have the answer.

Pivot & Run Brand Story

Roger, Alex, and Grant have come a long way to get to this point. Their dream to make a new running shoe and start their own brand was finally within reach. The seemingly endless amount of time spent in lockdown during the 2020 Covid pandemic was the impetus they needed to take action and commit to the brand-building work necessary to launch their brand.

The Dream and the Challenge:

Develop a running shoe for South African runners, designed by South African runners.

First, they hit the road. Talking and running with beginner runners and marathoners alike to better understand, “What is the perfect running shoe for South Africans?” After months of research and brainstorming, the South African team had the perfect shoe concept and design in mind. Their Pivot & Run shoe would need a firm structure for long-distance running, fatigue-reducing underfoot comfort, and a high level of energy return for long efficient strides.  

The Marathoners’ Dream Project “Hits the Wall”

Standing in their Capetown running shoe store, Roger, Alex, and Grant closed their eyes and imagined their dream shoe on the wall next to Nike and Adidas. It would work, it would sell, South African runners would love it. They could see the finish line.

That’s when they hit the wall…the proverbial “runner’s wall.” Sneaker development and manufacturing was not their terrain. It was like they made it to mile 22 and they couldn’t make it any further. They were at a loss for how to get to the next step in the development process. They needed help to create their new sole technology and they needed to find a factory they could trust to make high-quality shoes.

They searched Google for the answers to their questions: “How to make sneakers”, “how to select footwear materials,” “how to find a shoe factory?” This was only the beginning of the journey and already they were at a standstill.


“How do we find a factory to make our shoes?” “How do we know if they are a good factory that can make the high-quality product we are looking for?” “What if the shoe factory tries to rip us off or steal our idea?” “How do we communicate with an overseas shoe factory?”

Breaking Through the Wall – How to Get your Shoe Brand Started

Online links to SneakerFactory.net consistently showed up in their search. They were making headway with the valuable information on shoe design, development, and manufacturing. They purchased the Start-Up Pro Course Package and devoured the information in the 4 books. They found the downloadable profit and margin spreadsheets invaluable. The SneakerFactory and “The Shoe Dog,” were spot on resources to guide the runners step-by-step in their journey. The information was invaluable and saved them countless hours of time and frustration. They hit the jackpot here – pros and cons of upper materials, footbeds, and foam. Cost sheets, spec sheets, marketing tips, necessary business forms, duty and tariff rates, communication tips, checklists, professional inspection techniques all laid out for them. Pivot and Run was on the move once again.

Finding a Shoemaking Coach

They worked on their shoe design but needed a pro to accurately transfer their ideas on paper. Someone to help them create technical drawings for their midsole technology. Could they afford it? Would their design be profitable? They had very little idea what it was going to cost to make their dream shoe. The friends needed a footwear cost engineering professional to help with the financial details of their running shoe business plan. Roger decided that they needed to get there faster – they needed a shoe-making coach to help with their brand development.

Want to read more about their journey? Go to PART 2 of the Pivot & Run brand story.

Interested in starting your own shoe brand? Start here…

  • The Shoe Company Start-Up Pro Course Pack is a must-have for anyone serious about launching a footwear company.
  • All you need to get your shoe business off the ground.
  • The complete at-home course teaches you how shoes are made, how to select materials, and how to start your brand.
  • You learn how to write product briefs, find a shoe designer, raise money, find a factory, import and market your shoes, and much more.
  • Plus, a real cut-paper pattern and factory outsole blueprint AND 10 more valuable files you cannot get anywhere else (like our profit margin calculator).
  • Your success starts here! Four softcover textbooks and 4 PDF ebooks, all full-color 8 1/2″ x 11″, with over 1300 color photos.
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