by John Brilliant / @CounterKicks
Athletic Propulsion Labs is the newest entrant to the athletic footwear industry and they come with a special pitch: The first performance basketball shoe designed to instantly increase a player’s vertical leap. Led by 23-year-old twin brothers Adam and Ryan Goldston and backed by decades worth of sneaker industry insiders, the pair have set out to establish Athletic Propulsion Labs as the ultra high-end performance wing of the footwear world. Launching with the $300 priced APL Concept 1 shoe exclusively sold at APLbasketball.com, the Goldston’s are aiming high and want to take your feet along for the ride. Continue reading for Part 1 of 2 in our in-depth interview with Adam and Ryan Goldston, Athletic Propulsion Labs Founders…
Counter Kicks: Introduce yourselves to our readers.
Adam Goldston: We both grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Southern California. We played basketball for USC under Tim Floyd. And then for a brief time we played football for Coach Carroll there as well.
We were brought up in and around the athletic footwear industry. Our dad was a top executive at Reebok, L.A. Gear, and worked with Converse as well. A lot of people who look at APL don’t know that we have this company experience because we have our dad and a lot of the people that he worked with have been mentoring us since we were young. We always hung out with our dad in his office growing up and met all of his executives and friends, so we’ve been in this industry from a young age.
Our dad, since he was a top executive at Reebok, he helped work on the Pump and Energy Return System (ERS). When he worked for L.A. Gear he was responsible for the lighted shoes. He patented a lot of technologies by himself and he’s been teaching us about the footwear industry for many years. The education is actually invaluable because you can’t learn that in school or anywhere else, you just have to get that from first hand experience.
So, about three years ago we decided that we wanted to create the most innovative athletic footwear company ever and it would be centered around breakthrough technology designed to dramatically increase athletic performance and hopefully vertical leap, which we achieved. That’s a little bit about us.
CK: So growing up you lived around the Boston area when your dad worked at Reebok?
Ryan Goldston: Yeah, we were actually born in New York and when we were one and a half years old our dad took a job at Reebok where he was the Chief Marketing Executive of the company. So we moved to Boston, and he worked on the Pump, Hexalite, and all those technologies. We used to get to see everything early. Then when we were five years old we moved out to Los Angeles and that’s when he took a job at L.A. Gear.
And actually, Adam and I were the first ones that tested the L.A. Gear Lights. It was because of us that the lights for the little kids moved from the back of the shoe to the side of the shoe because my dad brought us back some samples and we were walking around the house and we couldn’t see our lights. So we kept asking to each other, “Can you see my lights?! I can’t see them!” And Adam would say the same thing to me. So we were telling our dad this and that’s when he got the idea that you should move the lights for the kids from the back to the side whereas for the adults you could keep them on the back. So it’s funny little stories like that which we’ve been involved in with the industry since we were little kids. We used to test out the products for Converse for the little kids and for L.A. Gear so we’ve been involved with it since a young age.
CK: That’s one of the things you wonder about a new company – where they’re coming from or what their background is, so it’s interesting to hear your dad was in the industry and you guys were around it growing up.
A. Goldston: Yeah, some of the guys that are part of our team now, we’ve known since such a young age that they’ve been helping us and they’ve had industry experience for 20 or 30 plus years. And so, we’re young guys in the industry but we’re surrounded by people that are seasoned veterans that have been involved with Nike, Reebok, adidas, and all these companies so we really have great experience on our side.
Since we played basketball at a high level, we know about the performance aspects and what players expect and things of that nature. So we used our playing experience along with their technical experience to build a new product. And also, we worked on the APL patent for a long, long time. It’s something that we’ve always been interested in because my brother and I, especially me though, have always been obsessed with vertical leap. That’s all I cared about when I was playing basketball. I could always shoot the ball, dribble, and do all that but all I really cared about was being able to jump higher. I did Air Alert and Jumpsoles and all of that stuff works but you have to put in so much effort to be able to get the results that you hoped you could achieve. So we had always wanted to create something that instantly made you jump higher. That was always my goal. I was always like, “Man, I wish I could just put on some shoes and jump like Lil Bow Wow did in Like Mike.” Ours aren’t that much of an increase, like 5 feet in the movie, but they will increase your vertical leap because that’s what they’re designed to do. There’s never been anyone else to do what we did. It’s real exciting stuff for us over here at APL.