DO YOU STILL USE CLOGS?

Let’s continue to shake up the paradigms

Why did we launch the Zufo project?

We shouldn’t be able to say that the best time of a day of skiing is when you remove your shoes. Like many entrepreneurial adventures, Zufo’s idea was born out of frustration, that of not being able to take full advantage of his ski days without having feet. The findings are not new and even make consensus:

  • – Ski shoes hurt

  • – Ski shoes are not comfortable

  • – Ski shoes are not practical for walking

Ski boot development pretty much remained stuck in the 1970s, based on hard plastic shell technology with hooks. A design that has not found an answer to the problem of ski boot comfort.

It was time to think differently and shake up a 50-year-old paradigm: performance and comfort are not contradictory.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE NUMBER OF PATENT DEPOSITS FOR SKI BOOTS
Graphique montrant le nombre de brevets déposés chaque années pour les chaussures de ski. Le graphique montre un pic important au début des année 90, et un grand ralentissement depuis.

Innovate again but differently

Over the years, skiers’ equipment has evolved significantly, with three main areas of improvement: performance, safety and comfort.

Ski boots have also undergone developments. It has gone from the soft leather ankle boot without support, therefore offering little control of movement, to the plastic shells that we know today. However, this innovation dates from the 1970s, and since then, the design has changed little. This is evidenced by the number of patents filed each year, which is in sharp decline. The ski equipment industry saw its last true revolution in the 1990s with the introduction of parabolic skis, which offered a level of control never before achieved.

Today, in addition to the quest for comfort and performance, there is the desire to make the ski industry more sustainable and virtuous, both in practice and in the manufacturing of equipment. Innovation must therefore rhyme with eco-design, an essential point in the specifications that we have set for ourselves at zUFO.

The challenge was therefore significant: finding a solution to an unresolved problem using a new approach and proposing this solution in line with the environmental and social issues of our time.

Our Vision

Icon flocon de neige en noir

As parabolic skis did with straight skis, we believe that exoskeletons will replace rigid shells ski boots. Thanks to its patented technology, zUFO will be a key player in the next ski boots market replacement.

OUR STORY
Photo du fondateur dans son atelier en train d'assembler l'un des premiers prototypes des chaussures de ski zUFO

   2020

The idea for the project actually dates back to 2008, but it is in 2020, in the middle of Covid, that things are accelerating. Hervé Fredouille, founder of zUFO, is taking advantage of periods of confinement to realize and materialize a project that has been brewing in his mind for several years: ski boots based on an exoskeleton.

The ZUFO concept was born, and the first patents were filed.

   2021

The first prototypes are produced to test the concept on the tracks. The demonstrator validates a large part of the characteristics expected for ski boots. Iterations can begin based on these first prototypes. The specifications are clear: maximize comfort without sacrificing performance.

ZUFO integrates a SportTech-oriented incubator supported by UNITEC.

Photo de l'équipe dans l'atelier en train de réaliser des essayages d'un des prototypes des chaussures de ski zUFO
Photo de l'équipe dans l'atelier en train de réaliser des essayages d'un des prototypes des chaussures de ski zUFO

   2021

The first prototypes are produced to test the concept on the tracks. The demonstrator validates a large part of the characteristics expected for ski boots. Iterations can begin based on these first prototypes. The specifications are clear: maximize comfort without sacrificing performance.

ZUFO integrates a SportTech-oriented incubator supported by UNITEC.

Photo d'un prototype avancé des paires de chaussures de ski zUFO sur les pistes de ski pour l'un des premier essai en contexte

   2022

Prototypes and tests continue, the technical level of zUFO ski boots is more and more satisfactory. The company is getting closer to a functional product.

zUFO is the winner of the PERFECTO call for projects from the French Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME) thanks to its modular design. An innovative approach which reduces the ecological impact of the product. ZUFO ski boots are in fact repairable and more easily recyclable thanks to mono-material modules, thus increasing their lifespan and, in turn, offering customization possibilities for skiers.

 

   2023

Carrying out the first beta tests, which are an opportunity to obtain initial feedback from users on the reinvented ski boots.

ZUFO’s eco-design is once again awarded and recognized, this time in the United States: zUFO receives the Sustainable Innovation Award at the CES in Las Vegas.

ZUFO joins the OSV Start-Up incubator in Annecy.

Photo d'Hervé, fondateur de zUFO avec son prix du CES 2023 sur le salon à Las Vegas.
Photo d'Hervé, fondateur de zUFO avec son prix du CES 2023 sur le salon à Las Vegas.

   2023

Carrying out the first beta tests, which are an opportunity to obtain initial feedback from users on the reinvented ski boots.

ZUFO’s eco-design is once again awarded and recognized, this time in the United States: zUFO receives the Sustainable Innovation Award at the CES in Las Vegas.

ZUFO joins the OSV Start-Up incubator in Annecy.

Photo des chaussures de ski en utilisations sur les pistes de ski.
AND 2024?
After more than 3 years of research and development, tests and iterations, the year 2024 will be that of the implementation of the production of our ski boots. Selection of the players in our production chain, development of distribution channels, preparation for the general public launch… the year promises to be sporty.

The goal is to see you hit the slopes next winter with your first COMFORTABLE AND PERFORMING ski boots.

Our ambition?
PROVIDING SUSTAINABLE COMFORT TO MORE THAN 135 MILLION SKIERS.

OUR VALUES

Conviction & humility


 

It is with unwavering conviction that we are breaking new ground. If we challenge 50-year-old paradigms (a ski boot “must” have rigid shells and hooks), we do so with complete humility by accepting to be wrong and correcting our mistakes every day.

RATIONALITY & SIMPLICITY


 

Our approach is clearly scientific and rational. We started from a blank sheet and the results obtained stem from a rigorous functional analysis. A positive signal of success is simplicity. We provide simple solutions to a complex problem: “Simple is beautiful”.

Plaisir & respect


 

More than an objective, respect for the environment is obvious to us that we take into account in all aspects of the project. What may appear to be a constraint is also a challenge that allows us to go further in reasoning and therefore in innovation. It will be a pleasure and pride for us to achieve the expected results: a ski boot improving both environmental performance and the comfort of skiers.

A project team dedicated to ski boots innovation

We have created a project team with complementary skills, in particular: Engineering, Design, Eco-conception.

A communication agency supports us and eventually a commercial team will be created.

We are also supported by a dynamic entrepreneurial eco-system: Our incubators Unitec and Sportech supported by the New Aquitaine region, the FrenchTech and BPI startup support organizations, entrepreneurial networks CLENAM, Initiatives Grandes Ecoles et Universités and Réseau Entreprendre and are part of the professional organizations OSV / EuroSIMA (Outdoor Sports Valley) and USC (Union Sport et Cycle).

OUR SUPPORTS

CONTACT US

You have questions?
Want to know more and discuss collaboration opportunities?
Message us!

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We are often looking for new talents,
do you have skills to put to use in the reinvented ski boot?
Don’t hesitate send us a free application to jobs@zufo.ski.