Scott Everett for NPR
After more than 20 years working in the shoe business, Wayne Edy decided to strike out on his own, risking most of his savings to launch his own brand. Knowing he was entering a crowded field, he focused on a niche sport—trail running—and developed a lightweight shoe with a rubber-cleat sole, well-suited to the terrain near his home in England’s Lake District.
The unusual design raised eyebrows at first, but after inov-8’s launch in 2003, the shoe quickly grew a following among elite trail-runners, which raised its profile and helped the brand expand into CrossFit and hiking.
After selling inov-8 and then buying it back, Wayne still leads a multi-million dollar business that’s headquartered in a tiny English town, while outfitting athletes from around the world.
This episode of How I Built This was produced by Liz Metzger and edited by Neva Grant. Research help from Claire Murashima. Additional support from Jeff Rogers, Rachel Faulkner, James Delahoussaye, J.C. Howard, Julia Carney, Elaine Coates, Farrah Safari, Liz Metzger, Analise Ober, and Harrison Vijay Tsui. You can follow us on Twitter @HowIBuiltThis, on Instagram @HowIBuiltThisNPR and email us at email@example.com.