Fit Stories: Lore Founder and CEO Stephan Drake
Perfect fit and athletic performance are inextricably linked. Footwear must enable both perfect balance and force transfer. In my mind, these things are non-negotiable. If footwear is not custom built around the individual foot with biomechanics in mind, balance and force transfer are inevitably compromised to various degrees. Further, the entry point to a special place in human experience is closed off (more on that lower down). Serially produced, conventional footwear is always a compromise no matter your foot size and shape. The degree of compromise becomes more and more extreme as one’s feet deviate further and further from the “average” lasts that serially produced shoes are derived from.
I am obsessed with the fusion between athletes and their equipment. The interest is for lack of a better word, spiritual. The goal is to have the line between body and equipment blur to the point that mind no longer distinguishes the separating line between the two. When that state of seamless fusion occurs, it’s among the most powerful experiences found living on earth, and therefore should be cultivated. Both selfishly and for the sake of our collective humanity, we should strive to experience this fusion as much as possible. Gear/Body/Mind fusion enables what the zeitgeist currently calls “flow states”. It’s simple: if the footwear is uncomfortable or impedes on the body’s ability to efficiently transfer energy, the mind is constantly bothered by that separation during the activity–– “flow” becomes difficult––- the wholesome bliss of unified peak performance is rendered impossible. An ill-fit, serially produced piece of footwear is akin to a fly that is constantly buzzing around your head and landing on your face while eating a meal. You can eat, but it’s hard to enjoy your food.
I was drawn into this realm of design largely as a result of my own feet. They are a big, clubish affair that feature a wide forefoot, a high instep, and a loose fascial structure (meaning that my feet move dynamically with a ton of displacement during athletic activities). You put these monsters in any footwear that was designed to look like an Italian loafer, and the result is massive constricting pressure on the fat pads and the restriction on dynamic pronation which shuts down the nervous system and inhibits balance. This is all very bad.
So, when we say custom fit, it’s not a glove fit. It’s not about building a plaster cast of the foot and simply mimicking its shape and perimeter. This approach is indeed “custom” but not functionally helpful, because the feet NEED to move within footwear to achieve balance and efficient force transfer. Again the footwear must have both ultimate comfort and force transfer for its user to enter the gates of bliss. When we say custom, we are talking about creating a structure that is completely relieved where it needs to be (your fat pads, toes, and medial pronation zone), but interacts closely with your foot at “cardinal points”–– a set of fixed locations where we want to cultivate constant interaction between the exoskeleton and the foot for maximal force transfer. Years of tedious work have yielded a highly complex digital “fit algorithm” that balances these two needs in harmony and is scalable to any foot shape and size.
So, for my foot, in the LoreOne you can see that my first metatarsal bone is snug up against the shell. It’s a cardinal point of energy capture for the transverse load that occurs during the cycling pedal stroke as the foot and shoe comes over the top at 12 o’clock.
You can also see that my toes are also completely relieved–– they are free to spread under load as force builds from 11-3 o’clock.
You can see that my fat pads are completely relieved–– allowing them to spread and swell naturally to cultivate comfort, circulation and balance.
You can see that the plantar shell has a close tight relationship to the lateral calcaneus and malleolus zone–– again critical for energy transfer that occurs during normal pronation and gait.
Finally, you will notice a perfectly sculpted dorsal roof–– the secret to ground reaction force–– it keeps the sole of my foot perfectly connected to the shoe, which is where the majority of force transfer to the pedal system happens. No other shoe in the world can do this. Fit is performance, Performance is Fit. Both things in balanced harmony open the gates of transcendence.
Scan and build your LoreOnes today.