NEW YORK, September 9, 2013 — Duck Dynasty is the most popular reality show on cable television. Its fourth season premiere drew a record 11.8 million viewers, according to Variety. Now the A&E smash is getting its own line of camouflage running shoes courtesy of Spira Footwear.
The collaboration is part of A&E’s Project Startup, a partnership with crowdfunding site RocketHub.com to help young companies find their audience. A&E helps entrepreneurs finance new projects on RocketHub.com, where they take their products to the public.
“The biggest challenge for any entrepreneur is the opportunity to tell their story,” said Andy Krafsur, CEO and Co-Founder of Spira Footwear, in a statement. “We’re grateful to A&E Project Startup for discovering us and helping us along on our journey.”
Spira Footwear is a privately owned company based in El Paso, Texas. Their Project Startup campaign also includes a commercial airing on A&E.
The officially licensed Spira Duck Dynasty Camouflage Shoe sports a duck camouflage pattern in three color options each for men and women.
While a running shoe company and Duck Dynasty may not seem like an obvious match, the project aims to draw a comparison between Duck Commander founder Phil Robertson and Spira founder Krafsur.
“The Robertsons built a better duck call based upon their passion for hunting, and we believe we have built a better shoe based on our passion for running,” reads a message from Spira Footwear on their RocketHub site.
“I had been a runner my entire life, and ran competitively in high school and college. But by my early thirties, I was so beat up after a run, I would have to take a week off,” said Krafsur. “I will never forget the first time I tried on what turned out to be the very first Spira shoe. It was a crude prototype with the WaveSprings duct taped into a cut open midsole. I put the shoes on and shot around on our basketball court for a couple of hours and suddenly realized my legs were completely fresh.”
The WaveSpring is a lightweight, compact spring placed in the heel and forefoot of Spira shoes. It has a dual function: to cushion and to return energy to the wearer. The effect, Krafsur claims, is more comfort and less stress than most footwear on the market.
But Spira has not been without controversy in the running world. Running community site LetsRun.com followed a 2007 debate between Spira and USA Track & Field, the sport’s governing body, regarding whether the shoes are legal in competition. Oddly enough, it was Spira that insisted the shoes were banned. A USATF rule prohibits shoes that incorporate “any technology which will give the wearer any unfair advantage, such as a spring or similar device.” At the same time, the USATF stated that Spiras were not banned. Regardless, Spira filed a lawsuit against the USATF in 2007, which Spira eventually dropped. Runners have continued to race in Spira shoes at USATF events without penalty.
Spira addressed the controversy in the FAQ’s on the RocketHub site:
“Are the shoes legal for competition?
Answer: USA Track and Field has a rule that prohibits the use of springs in shoes for competition, but no one has been disqualified for racing in the shoes and runners competing in Spira have won over 200 major races and marathons in the U.S.”
Runners and Duck Dynasty fans can pre-purchase the shoes on RucketHub.com. Shoes start at $100 and decrease in price when purchasing higher quantities. Fans can expect to receive them in three to six months from the date of purchase.
In addition, A&E promised to donate $20,000 to America’s VetDogs, a charity that provides service dogs for disabled veterans and active duty service members, when the Duck Dynasty shoes reached $100,000 in sales on RocketHub. The project launched August 16, 2013 at www.rockethub.com/duck and has already raised over $225,000.
Now Spira Footwear’s Duck Dynasty shoes, like the show, will be a reality. The campaign will continue through November 14, 2013.
Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runners’ show about running. Her work has been seen in Newsweek, RunnersWorld.com, Active.com, ABC-TV in New York and over two dozen other outlets. She has finished six marathons and four triathlons. Follow Karla at RunKarlaRun.com.
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