Buffalo architect seeks to disrupt … the rowing shoe industry

Wednesday, 10 June 2015 10:36 Written by

Gerry Strickland, an architect from Buffalo, believes he is on the cusp of storming into the sub-niche market of boat shoes for rowing clubs.

His G CLIP assembly and cleat shoe system will enter free trials this summer with five of the largest U.S. rowing clubs – three near New York City, one in Boston and one in Oakland. Those clubs will consider entering into formal commercial relationships with G CLIP and also bring the product to events around the world – a huge marketing boost in the hyper-competitive world of rowing, where new technologies are often adopted across the board.

“If it’s good, they’ll buy it without even thinking about it,” Strickland said. “It will take off on its own.

Strickland’s inspiration came while his former architectural firm was doing work on the Frank Lloyd Wright Fontana Boathouse, used by the West Side Rowing Club.

Strickland saw the worn out shoes attached to a rowing shell – and later learned that those shoes only come in a few sizes. That creates myriad problems, from slipping out of the boots during races to hygiene to outright prohibiting people whose feet are too big from rowing.

He has spent the last two years honing the product, getting a patent and testing it with the West Side Rowing Club. The product includes an injection molded part and shoes that twist easily into and out of them.