Skins skinned

I wrote about Skins Footwear a couple of years ago, lauding its effort to teach an old market, shoewear, some new steps.

Skins aimed to make all shoes fit the same, by separating the outer shoe, the skin, from the inner, the bone. You would transfer the bone from skin to skin, keeping your fit consistent.

The idea made intrinsic sense to me; I immediately thought of shoes I liked the look of but couldn’t stand to wear. The idea didn’t catch on — Skins went bankrupt earlier this month. I’m not sure what happened. I know I never saw it in stores; its potential retailer in Massachusetts opted not to carry it. I suspect it suffered from fit issues for those who tried it — it was like a semi-custom shoe, and I wondered whether that would work.

The death of Skins shows just another facet of how business can look like evolution. New ideas — mutations — may not prove adaptive.

At least it seems to have failed in straightforward fashion. At another company I wrote about, Entellium, management cooked the books. If the shoe doesn’t fit…

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