dry fit polo shirts Former NFL player and his son take on shoe giants at new company’s Pompano Beach headquarters
Chris Alflen admits he’s obsessed with shoes. He owns more than 100 pair; mostly athletic shoes.
As an artist and designer, Alflen decided he’d like nothing better than to design casual shoes that are lightweight and comfortable to wear, yet have the sporty look he likes.
Fortunately, his father Ted Alflen, who has owned several businesses, had the wherewithal to back his son’s dream. In 2013, the elder Alflen sold his natural deodorant company, TCCD, after it reached $4.5 million in annual sales.
With no direct experience in the shoe business, the Alflens have invested $250,000 in a new company, Skuze shoes, that makes what they call “ultimate lightweight comfort” footwear. From the company’s Pompano Beach headquarters, Skuze is taking on giants including Nike, Adidas and Skeechers.
After research, numerous sketches and many prototypes, the company launched its Skuze casual shoe was launched about a month ago.
Sk shoes are unisex. They come either with laces or as a slip on, in four colors in designs dubbed “Miami” and “Venice.” They sell for $79.99. Sk shoes are designed to be lighter than athletic shoes, weighing a little over six ounces, and feature an antimicrobial lining to prevent bacterial growth and reduce the foul odor often associated with sneakers,
Chris Alflen says.
Keith Anderson, district sales manager for FedEx in Fort Lauderdale, said Ted has been a long time customer. “He’s very honest, upfront and to the point someone you could trust,” Anderson said.
Anderson said Ted is particularly pleased to again be working with his son. “He was pretty excited about it, that he and his son were able to launch a joint venture together,” he said.
Chris Alflen, 36, graduated from Florida State University with a degree in graphic design and had experience designing packaging for his dad’s deodorant company. He remained with the company for awhile after it was sold, but now says he’s glad to be back working with his father on his dream product.
Ted Alflen, 69, hopes his son will eventually take over the business operation.
The Alflens went through many prototypes before Chris was satisfied with the quality of materials and lightness of the shoe.
Joseph LoBasso, 52, a hairdresser in Delray Beach, has bought two pairs of Sk shoes. “I bought my first pair when I went to Europe and walked around Stockholm, Sweden, (in) them.” They were comfortable on his trip so when he got home, he wore them to work whenever his feet hurt. “They’re just incredible,” he said.
LoBasso said he favors good shoe brands such as Cole Haan and Bostonian Shoes, because he’s on his feet most of his work day. The Sk shoes “are very light. They have arch support and mesh material. It feels like there’s an air conditioner in there,” he said.