My Sneaker Love Story

My repair experience. 

What?!?  I can repair my sneakers myself? 

Before we talk about the self-repair experience, I would like to talk a little bit about the journey and how we even got to the point of creating the world’s first self-repairable sneakers.  

VYN started over a beer (as many things do) and a discussion about why we are creating season after season of the same shoes ‘slightly differently’. Catherine and I both knew there had to be room to create something that is designed better and will provide a longer use for the customer and a product we are proud of. Fast forward to 2019 when after a year of research, we had a 3D print of a mechanism to replace the heel on a sneaker sole. We showed the print to David a friend of mine and product developer in Italy, who became our key partner to help us create our unique idea. He gathered all the partners we needed to begin our VYN journey.  

Let the fun begin! In summer 2019 we had the first prototypes. The first time I stepped into our sneakers I was truly in love. Finally, a product we designed and developed that incorporated everything we want from a sneaker:  great feel, minimal styling and look, beautiful details that age nicely and, of course, the amazing sole unit that is self-repairable. A true statement piece for what we stand for as designers and people.  

In 2020 we decided to push the button on creating VYN GmbH, ordering 500 pairs and sell them during the most disruptive time ever. That was a much crazier ride than we could have ever imagined. During all that time I was wearing my prototypes and loving them more and more with every step. But then OH GOD! The heel piece started to be worn off so what to do?!  

BEHOLD! I can repair it myself. Remember... I had worn the sneaker for a year throughout the pandemic, successful and less successful sales events, creating the brand, not knowing if we could pay the bills and not being able to travel. Yet I held our sneakers in my hand; heel worn off. Every other sneaker I had in my closet inevitably would have been thrown away but here I was with our invention looking at that worn off heel. I took the VYN coin, put it in the slot, twisted it. Click, Click, Click the heel started coming off and I pulled it off completely with my hand. OOOPS that’s dirty! Cleaning the mechanism felt good, quick wipe with a damp cloth and all is well. And then the magic happened: I knew it works, I had replaced the heel a lot of times to show friends, family, and strangers why this is the best sneaker I have ever designed. But THIS IS MAGIC! I stepped into my sneakers with the heel off, aligned the heel piece and heel nicely on the floor and stepped slowly onto the pins and then Click! On last step and the heel is repaired.  

I am off, loving my new heel colour, the new heel feels great, and I have the comfort of an old friend on my feet. How good is that! This might sound pretentious coming from the designer of the product, but it was nevertheless one of the proudest moments of my life to create a product that works so effortless, looks great, feels amazing and at the end of it I really look forward to wearing every day.  

I do love my sneakers. 

Stefan Mathys 

Co-Founder VYN 

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