Julie Adams, a ski mom from Colorado, was enjoying drinks with friends when she had an idea. She was sitting outdoors after a day of skiing and her feet hurt. So she took off her ski boots.
“If only,” she thought, “If only I had a pair of comfortable boots to put on right now…”
That was her idea: lightweight, packable boots that could be tossed into a backpack and slipped on after a day of skiing.
And, rather than just thinking about what she wished she had, she created Pakems.
Cold Weather Flip Flops
Available in a high-top or low-top style, Julie Adam’s dream shoes launched in November with an Indiegogo campaign. You can read all about it, right here. (And while you can’t get your shoes right away, if you help fund the company, your contribution includes Pakems at less than retail price.)
Think of these low-profile shoes and boots as cold weather flip-flops.
Weighing in at just about 6 ounces each (that’s 12 ounces for a pair), Pakems squash down to about 2.5 inches when packed. Each pair of Pakems comes in a bag with compression straps that can be carried as a belt pack or stuffed into your backpack.
Made of water-resistant, rip stop, insulated nylon, Pakems have a sturdy rubber sole with a good tread to resist slipping. They slide onto your feet easily and tighten with a one-hand toggle.
But best of all, they look (and feel) really good!
I recently tried the high-top Pakems. I got the grey boots with orange trim and was very happy when I opened them. They look even better in person than on the website. Now available in blue, black, grey and a couple of subtle patterns, I’d wear these boots almost anywhere…that I don’t want to wear shoes.
Just like flip-flops.
In addition to wearing them après ski, take them traveling, take them camping, or wear them indoors on cold winter night. Get two pair and use one just indoors and dedicate another to the (dirty) outdoors.
With their sturdy design and treaded sole, they are the perfect cross of a shoe and a slipper.
Just like flip-flops.
Three Other Entrepreneurs Who Solve Their Own Problems
As someone who usually sees a problem and complains about it fruitlessly, I am in awe of people who recognize a need, turn it into a challenge and create something the rest of us can use!
Here are three more inventors and their nifty, smart creations.
The Ski Bumper
A simple magnetized rubber strip to hold your skis or boards: this is Bo Pitto’s big idea.
A Colorado-based ski instructor, Pitto created the Ski Bumper to help all of us who drive to the resort.
Think about it: you park, you get out of the car and you pull out your skis. You’re probably still not ready to go, so where do you put the skis? On the ground? That risks dirt and dinging the edges. Against the car? That risks scratching your vehicle.
But if you own an $18.00 Ski Bumper, your skis and snowboards always have a place to safely rest at the beginning and end of the ski day.
Pitto launched his product last season, but has significantly improved it for this year, with Ski Bumper 2.0. The concept is the same, but changes include embedded magnets to truly keep your car scratch-free, clips on both ends to more securely hold your skis and hooks in the middle for snowboards.
The SkBoot Boot Bag
I’ve had a medium Skboot Ski Boot Bag for several years. I love it looks in red, and I appreciate the smart design, but I always wished it was just a bit bigger, so that I could pack more gear in it.
Well, I just got a large Skboot Bag and my dreams have come true. Not only does it hold my ski day essentials (boots, mittens, helmet and odds and ends), but it’s also roomy enough for me to pack my ski clothes for travel.
Just like the medium bag, it is well-designed on smooth rolling wheels with an easy to use handle. Designed for travelers, it can be checked at the airport and includes a sleeve for your laptop, as well as a removable waterproof bag for wet gear if you’re coming straight from the slopes to the boarding gate.
The brainchild of Caroline Graham, a well-traveled Australian, who now lives in Utah, the Skboot bag is perfect for skiers and snowboarders who don’t want to hoist their boots onto their backs or carry a shoulder bag. (Interested? Use coupon code, BRAVESKIMOM, at the Skboot site for $25 off a Skboot ski boot bag!)
In addition to the Skboot bag, Caroline is also the inventor of the neoprene helmet glove for kids and adults. Available in a variety of colors and designs, the NHG lets you give your helmet a quick change look, while keeping your head extra warm and cozy on the coldest, most inclement days.
The Ski-Shield Bag
Do your skis bang together in your rocket box? Or do they ride through all sorts or weather on top of your car? How about being transported in an unpadded ski bag?
If the answer to any of these is yes, here’s a practical, inexpensive way to protect your bindings and edges: The Ski Shield Bag.
A giant bubble wrap sleeve, the bag will accommodate fat skis base-to-base or thinner skis, edge-to-edge. Tie it up and off you go. No dirt, no grime, no dings, no rust.
Michigan-based skier Cal Peters is the brains behind this simple idea. What is it with guys, skis and cars?
The Ski Shield weighs little and costs only $10.00. If you’re careful with your binding brakes (Peters recommends rubber-banding them in the ski position to keep them flat), the bag is reusable.
To facilitate this post, I received product samples from each company mentioned. As usual, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
- A Skiing Family’s Letter to Santa: Gift Ideas and a Giveaway, November 18, 2013.
- Ski Fashion on the Go: The Skboot Bag, November 14, 2011.
- Tight Turns: The Ski Bumper, More Helmet Covers and Skboot Design Contest Winner, January 28, 2013.
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