MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO) -- For years, Oli Manchal suffered from severe back pain.
“I was a metal worker actually and I eventually figured out the problem was caused by the sneakers I was wearing,” said Manchal.
He searched for a shoe that could help.
When he couldn’t find one, he started experimenting.
“So, I made a prototype and another one, and another one and another one and here we are,” he said.
The solution to his pain turned into a pretty successful business called Sense of Motion Footwear or SOM.
SOM shoes are designed to make you feel like you are barefoot, but with the support and protection you need.
“The way I am standing in my shoes right now is exactly the same way I’d be standing barefoot,” Manchal said. “Straight alignment, nothing is off balance basically, just natural posture.”
Scott Cassidy owns Backstreet Bagel and Deli in Montrose. He was searching for an answer for his pain when he discovered the SOM shoe company.
And it has made all the difference for him.
“I am basically a baker. So I am on my feet sometimes up to 15, 16, 17 hours a day,” Cassidy said. “I found these and I am happier with them.”
Cassidy thinks it’s pretty cool he was able to find shoes made in Montrose.
“Here’s a company that is doing right here in our backyard and it’s very rare to find shoes that are made right here, let alone Montrose Colorado,” he said.
Production has grown to six people over the years. All of the fabric and rubber that makes up the shoes is cut and glued together at the Montrose shop.
SOMs are considered a minimalist shoe, but that has not stopped the active crowd from lacing up a pair.
“We have customers that are weightlifters, cross fitters, runners… I go running hiking, training, jumping you name it,” Manchal said.
Cassidy said SOMs are awesome everyday shoes.
“Not only do they work really well in my work in my restaurant, but I also hike 14ers. I jog in them I take my dog out,” he said.
Manchal said it makes him happy to hear from his customers.
“We don’t make the shoes because there’s a trend we make the shoes because they help me, they can help more people for sure,” Manchal said.