The Ultraflex Series

Lightweight, terrain-responsive hybrid sole assemblies for outdoor & military footwear.

What's the big idea?

Terrain varies. Why shouldn’t your shoes?

I’ve worked with talented engineers and designers to create the Ultraflex series and offer versatility in footwear by replacing old-school sole construction with a lightweight hybrid smart assembly…a terrain-responsive sole that absorbs and distributes impact to keep you trekking on the roughest terrain without the bulk of a traditional boot.

Our assemblies provide greater impact resistance, enhanced elasticity, multi-directional stability, and terrain-dependent rigidity. Detailed photos of our advanced prototype (not shown) are available by email.

Describe the nearest player in your field.

Salewa advertises its Pro Gaiter mountaineering boot as the only boot with an adjustable sole system. It enables mountaineers to approach climbs with a flexible sole before engaging the stiffening mechanism. However, the cam-locking shank is inherently heavy and prone to damage from debris.

How are you different from that player?

Rather than relying on a mechanical system that requires the user to activate a mechanism, the Ultraflex series utilizes a hybrid system of thermoplastic and dilatant “smart” material that responds instantaneously to impact with no input from its user. Opportunities exist for a wide range of gear.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

Rather than manufacturing and selling gear independently, we will take advantage of established brands by licensing the UltraFlex trademark, design patent, and utility patent. We have already met or spoken with footwear executives at Feelgoodz, Vibram USA, and McRae Footwear.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

I’ve accepted enrollment at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and after exploring the Sierra Nevada, the Bavarian Alps, and the Wasatch mountain range, I’m eager to improve footwear available to outdoor enthusiasts across the world. After all, I am a Schuster… shoe-making is in my genes.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

We will use Start Garden funding to perform impact testing with our material supplier in the UK. The lab has years of experience manufacturing and testing impact-resistant sports equipment and consumer products. We will also update our patent application and create a teaser video.

There have been 3 replies to this page

  1. Kay Parks

    I am so excited about this product! If this hits the market I will be there to buy the shoe with this technology. Having broken my foot many years ago, I have tried so many shoes that do not give my foot the support I need in order to go hiking and I miss it. This sounds like the solution! Go Brian!!!

  2. Drun Valo

    A good shoe or boot is always a solid investment. Worldwide opportunities.

  3. Brian Schuster


    Thanks for the support! I look forward to updating you on the progress over the coming months!

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This idea was funded by public endorsement on August 22, 2013.