FUN is in the JOURNEY... Not the Destination

Year 2000 - San Jose Mercury News, LifeStyle Section 

Copyright © 2000 San Jose Mercury News

 

By Mary Gottschalk 

A pocket of innovation in shoe design stores keys, money, identification

MATT POTTS started toying with the idea of storing his keys, money and an identification card in his athletic shoes more than a decade ago. Now his idea is near fruition. “ It started off as a simple thought and evolved,” says the 37-year-old Fremont-based technology and management consultant. Potts was earning his master’s degree in judicial administration at the University of Southern California and was an avid tennis player in 1989 when the idea first occurred to him. While his sports activities changed over the years, his need for a handy storage place never did. Attaching a key to a cord around your wrist or a chain around your neck is a common solution, but one he dislikes because “you’re always at risk of losing it or it obstructs your performance.” Potts’ solution is a “Shoe Pocket.” ­ a cartridge that slides into the arch portion of a shoe sole with room for two credit card-sized items, cash and a key.

 

Two years ago he started the patent process and on Aug. 1 he received U.S. Patent 6,094,844 for his Archport Shoe Pocket ­ a shoe with a cartridge that slides into the arch portion of the sole on the left shoe with room for two credit card-size items, cash and a key. With the help of a shoe designer, Potts developed a prototype for the first Archport, and samples are expected to arrive any day from South Korea. Initially, Potts plans to wear a pair himself, inviting others to test them as well before going into full-scale production. He also plans to use the samples for marketing. The idea is straightforward,  but turning it into reality hasn’t been easy. Athletic shoes worn during sports take a constant pounding. Potts says he’s been experimenting with different materials, including Hytrel, a DuPont product used by Wilson and other tennis shoe manufacturers. The first Archport samples use high-density nylon for the recess that holds the snap-in cartridge with a polyurethane mid-sole. The samples will be “ a bit heavy,” Potts acknowledges. “They will be stable and comfortable, but a little heavier than a pair of cross-trainers.” The first shoes will also be unisex. Potts is working on marketing the shoes, hoping to place them in retail outlets within the next six months. He expects the first Archport shoes to sell for $60 to $80. He’s also talking with several manufacturers about the possibility of licensing. Eventually, Potts would like to see his concept expand, saying, “My long-term vision is to store electronic devices in the shoe, but right now most electronic devices can’t absorb the impact.”

Contact Mary Gottschalk at mgottschalk@sjmercury.com or (408) 920-5607

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