2 of 6
BACKNEXT
Zip up your sneakers
Zip up your sneakers
Jerry Stefani, with a Zipz shoe

Zipz Shoes
Irvine, Calif.

In 2004, John Stefani was at a family reunion barbeque when the conversation turned to the massive number of dirt-caked children's shoes flung around. John's dad Jerry commented on how cool it would be to have an interchangeable shoe -- one where you could mix tops with bottoms and throw the dirty piece in the wash.

The idea stuck. John and his siblings left musing about mix-and-match footwear. They sketched shoes held together with Velcro, buttons, clasps and pins. After fiddling around drawing various prototypes, Jerry had the eureka moment: a zipper!

It took five years of development and three prototype iterations to bring Zipz to market. "With boots and things, zippers are pretty common place," John says. "Tennis shoe factories are not used to working with zippers."

In 2010, Zipz' first year of sales, the company grossed $1 million. The shoes, which retail for $45 a pair, are available online and through boutique retailers. Distributed in 40 countries, the shoes have drawn particular interest in Europe, Japan, and the Middle East.

Foot Locker will start carrying the brand in April, and 2011 looks to be "a far better year," says John, the company's CEO.



NEXT: Brush your teeth -- and your tongue!?
LAST UPDATE: Feb 18 2011 | 11:53 AM ET
142 years old and still hot The McIlhenny Company's sixth-generation CEO made his family's Tabasco hot pepper sauce worldly. More
How failure led to Rock BandHarmonix revolutionized the gaming industry -- but first, it nearly went broke. More
The Wiggles empire What began as an Australian rock band is now a $45 million global kids' brand. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.