We stepped into the world of Greyhound shoe manufacturing by accident. Prior to owning a Greyhound, we were blissfully unaware of the plight of these magnificent dogs and their 'corny' feet.
After many failed attempts at finding suitable shoes for our Hunny, we decided to design and make our own, but thats another story – you can read about our journey here.
A year on, we have put thousands of shoes on Greyhounds around the world. We have invested in continuous improvement through research and development, as we seek out the perfect solution for shoeing Greyhounds.
We invested in scanning technology and foot modelling software to build and print perfect replicas of Greyhound feet.
This enabled us to generate the most common foot sizes from our previous measurements of hundreds of Greyhounds and Whippets. Each one was adjusted based on measurements versus weight of dog. Interestingly, higher knuckles were dominant in lighter dogs. The heavier the dog, the flatter their knuckle height. Each one was modelled in "digital clay" and adjusted until they were perfect.
We printed the models in ABS plastic to create our 'shoe lasts'– the templates shoemakers use to manufacture footwear. We believe these lasts to be the only Greyhound shoe lasts in the world, so to us, they're very valuable!
With accurate lasts of Greyhound and Whippet feet, we needed to further invest in studying the mechanics of dog walking. Next time you see a person out walking their dog, watch how their feet land with each stride. The dog trots along on its toes, but its owner strikes the ground with his or her heel, then rolls the weight towards their toes before pushing off for the next step.
Dogs are 'digitigrades', that is, they walk on their toes. We, like every other dog shoe manufacturer had failed to address this sufficiently.
We started redesigning a sole – the very foundation of a shoe – that would recognise 'toe walking' and the lack of heel contact, but accomodate a better hold on a Greyhound's foot.
Our new sole was slowly taking place, with dozens of iterations.
Once a single design was perfected, all five sizes were modelled.
Each final version was printed in TPU, a flexible rubber-like filament, which enabled us to check fit against our shoe lasts, and to 'test fit' on real dog's feet.
The orange model is a test-fit model for inner dimensions, the centre is the TPU flexible prototype and left, the final rubber sole. We chose 70-A Shore hardness for durability. (Shore hardness is a scale in which rubber is measured, 70-A is about the same hardness as a car tyre). Confident of the fit with the five sizes against our foot lasts, we set about the next stage of designing the uppers.
With thanks to the many customers who provided us with feedback on versions 1 and 2 – most great and some not so great – we knew what design and material modifications were needed in designing version 3.
Feedback on the mesh shell fabric was great, as it provided valuable 'breathing' for Greyhound feet. But the modification we needed to make was how the soles bonded to the uppers. We introduced a new microfibre 'leather' three times thicker than previous models which made it structural, whereas in V1 and V2, it was decorative.
The microfibre design was changed to surround the upper at the sole, giving a larger area to bond the soles to the body. Being structural instead of decorative, heels and therefore shoes stay up - no more heel collapsing or twisting.
New zips were introduced. We moved away from nylon zips in favour of high quality metal zips with permanent zip stops.
We trialled the idea of a buckle strap in our 'Splish-Splash' winter boots. It was so successful that we've used it in our new V3 mesh boots.
The strap is more robust, with a stronger bond surrounding the heel area.
Our new V3 Hunnyboot is an entirely new boot, rebuilt from the ground up, after many months of design and prototyping. We're very proud of it and confident it will outperform expectations – so much so we're backing it with a one year warranty on the V3 against defects and performance.
We've introduced new colours along with your old favourites and also catered for Whippets in the most common size.
It’s a continuing journey and we set ourselves some solid design and production challenges, but we met them.
If you've been on the journey with us, we hope you'll be as happy with V3 Hunnyboots as we are.