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For thirty years we’ve been making the best shoes we can make for growing feet. From humble but exciting beginnings that started three decades of growth and adventure, here’s our story. Where will we go next?
In a garage in New Zealand - not unlike other garages where all great inventions are invented, Chris Bennett had a serious challenge ahead of him. He and Bobux co-founder Colleen needed shoes for their baby daughter Chloe, but nothing on the market would do. In that fateful garage, armed with leather, suede and a couple of rubber bands, Chris had an idea - Soft Soles. The first of their kind. He crafted the materials together and finally, Chloe had soft, comfy shoes that let her little feet move naturally.
Chris thought other babies might like these gentler, softer non-shoes too, so he took them to the local markets in Auckland where demand went through the roof. By 1997, Bobux found its way across the Tasman and onto the feet of children throughout Australia, and then onto Europe and the US.
Although our heritage and history is grounded in the Bennett family, Bobux quickly welcomed more creators into the team so we could be the best we could be. In August 2002, we introduced a lead designer who held the reins for over 20 years, creating some of the most renowned Bobux styles loved the world all over. From there, the design team grew into what it is today, a hub of designers and collaborators innovating, developing and exploring the blend of foot health and style to continue the Bobux legacy.
Soft Soles were perfect for little ones. But just as we were growing, they were, too. In 2007 we introduced two new ‘stages’ to our range: Step Up for first walkers, and I-Walk for toddlers. Step Ups gave first walkers more flexibility for their softer, more malleable feet while I-Walks Bobux designed with more durability for toddlers’ stronger, more active feet.
Those not in the shoe-biz won’t necessarily be familiar with ‘lasts’ but this is where Bobux really changed the game. Lasts are the mold on which a shoe is fitted when it’s being made. Most shoe makers have a one-shape-fits-all last in different sizes for both kids and adults, but we here at Bobux know that’s not how kids’ feet work. In 2008, we re-invented the very anatomy of children’s shoes by developing custom lasts that reflect the shape and needs of kids’ feet through the different stages of their development. When we talk about foot-health centric design, this is where it starts.
Having been there ourselves, we know that adventure and creativity can get messy. And as much as we all love a good puddle, no one likes their socks soaked through. These challenges inspire us to find innovative ways to make fun unstoppable. In 2014, we introduced SplashTEX: internal waterproof membrane technology that keeps little feet dry and healthy on wet weather adventures.
We came to 2017 realising that we could, and wanted to, do even more for Bobux kids as they grow through our range. Because even after they’ve mastered walking, their feet still need to be cared for in shoes that understand them. So that year, we extended our range with a new stage for bigger kids: Kid+. Designed for natural movement with more durability, and a built on custom lasts that follow the more mature curves of their feet.
30 years since the adventure began, and Bobux is a family of some of the most innovative, creatively diverse people in the world. In everything we do, we hold close the values that matter most to our customers: Comfort, care, love for our people, our environment, and for the adventurous kids who wear our shoes. Chris and Colleen are still here, and their daughter Chloe is all grown up with Bobux kids of her own! After all this time we’ve never forgotten who we are or why we do what we do. It’s been 30 years since that first Soft Sole, and we still craft the best shoes for growing feet. Loved and worn by Bobux children in over 40 countries around the globe.