If you like knowing what the hottest new trend will be, just watch de la Valdene. The serial entrepreneur, who is 45 and has never had a boss, is the boss when it comes to picking new trends that stick.
De la Valdene’s newest product, Jukz Shoes, is poised to become the next fashion phenomenon. The idea for Jukz flip flops and slides is simple but clever. They’re radically comfortable shoes with inserts made of any kind of sports ball you can think of.
“I’ve had a lot of crazy ideas that ended up becoming bestsellers, and when I was approached with the idea for Jukz, I knew it was going to be a game changer in the footwear industry. Fans can literally wear their sport. And they should—life’
Valdene credits Kevin Puterbaugh, a former Dallas advertising executive for bringing him the original idea. Puterbaugh had been honing the idea for months, deconstructing tennis balls and other sports balls and cobbling prototypes for what would become Jukz.
The flip flops are made from actual baseballs, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, tennis balls, or volley balls. They’re designed for both sporty style and maximum comfort with built in arch support, cushioning heel tag, supportive toe ridge, and reflexology balls that make every step feel like a massage. Whether sports lovers are athletes, fans, kids, or adults, anyone can embrace the trend while they embrace the comfort.
Jukz can also be branded with college or professional sports logos. Currently several Texas colleges are represented, including Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, Texas Tech, North Texas, Texas State, and Rice University. Notre Dame is also on board, and the brand is also in talks with major professional sports teams including the Dallas Cowboys.
Agreements with department stores including Dillard’s are in progress and de la Valdene hopes Disney won’t be far behind.
Partner and investor Ed Coppola says the concept is just as revolutionary to the flip flop industry as Under Armor was to sportswear when it was first introduced. “Not only is it a fashion forward item that breaks through a homogenous category, but the shoe technology is endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association. It’s one of the most exciting fashion-technology retail breakthroughs I’ve seen in recent years,” Coppola says.
Every pair of Jukz is as green and eco-friendly as possible. They’re made from recycled materials and fans can ship them back to the factory to revamp the same pair. Sandals are also 100 percent recyclable.
The shoes are made in the United States, a rarity in the shoe business. Family owned Okabashi in Buford, Ga., which has been in business since 1984, handles all Jukz manufacturing. Their shoes are 100% recyclable, designed with superb foot support and massaging insoles, vegan friendly, and are antimicrobial to prevent the growth of bacteria.
A swimwear line with neoprene soles as well as a line of backpacks is also in development.
“The amazing thing about this idea is that every season is brand new. We can keep adding new sports and team logos for every activity imaginable. Jukz represent a fresh, energetic look that’s also comfortable, practical, supports the U.S.A., and is recyclable and green. It’s a great product that my gut tells me is going to score big,” said de la Valdene.
To learn more about Jukz, visit www.jukzshoes.com.
About Jukz Shoes
Jukz shoes, named for the sports term meaning dodge, are the newest trend to score big in footwear. Made from recycled sports materials including baseballs, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, tennis balls, volley balls, and even swim wear, Jukz let any athlete or fan of any age literally wear their sport.
Created by serial fun-preneur Johnny de la Valdene, who also launched the Marshmallow Shooter toy sensation and international beverage hit Vacation in a Bottle (ViB), Jukz are the newest way for sports lovers to support their sport while walking in comfortable style.
More information is available at www.jukzshoes.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/