Since winning the 2006 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, KURU Footwear has become a leading direct-to-consumer shoe brand. The company has headquarters in Salt Lake City and specializes in shoes that eliminate foot pain.
“Going through each round of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge taught us the value of persistence, reacting quickly to outside feedback, and to not give up,” said founder Bret Rasmussen of his experience in the statewide business model competition. He has since graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in business management, finance, and a minor in English. “KURU Footwear is a great success story to share about the UEC program.”
Rasmussen competed in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge as CORE footwear, which later became KURU Footwear. The $40,000 grand prize was used to develop and patent a breakthrough technology called KURUSOLE and to develop prototype shoes. The business formally launched as a direct to consumer brand in 2009 and has been growing ever since.
“Our original vision for the brand was to target customers who lived at the intersection of urban, outdoor, and action sports,” Rasmussen said. “In order to build such a brand, we knew we had to invent a real technology that was more than marketing hype.”
The secret to their success is the patented KURUSOLE technology. It provides an orthotic built into the shoe which is shaped like the foot and designed to dynamically flex with every step. This unique design cups the natural cushioning of the heel, keeping it under the foot. The result is a shoe that helps your body heal from all kinds of foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, heel pain, fallen arches, and more. The company now offers a broad selection of styles for trail, travel, and town.
“While not the original focus of the brand, when we discovered KURUSOLE could become transformative in helping eliminate foot pain, we knew we had to pivot,” Rasmussen said. “It was at this point that the brand’s purpose snapped into place and we became focused on eliminating foot pain for our customers.”
The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and sponsored by Zions Bank.
Learn more about KURU footwear at www.kurufootwear.com.