Soccer Talk — Spotlight Interview With Storelli’s Tom Marchesi
Storelli has released its latest secret weapon — The SpeedGrip™ Insole — which provides athletes with unprecedented grip through its performance-enhancing properties.
The SpeedGrip™ technology was introduced on Kickstarter, and Storelli raised in excess of $50,000 in funding on that platform prior to launch — these SpeedGrip insoles sell for under $40 and make a difference.
SoccerToday spoke with Tom Marchesi, Head of Design at Storelli, on the benefits of the product and the science behind it.
Soccer Locker Review: New York sports technology brand Storelli, creator of the injury-preventing protection gear worn by soccer stars Iker Casillas, Jesse Lingard, Oscar and César Azpilicueta, has launched the revolutionary performance-enhancing SpeedGrip™ Insole.
Referred to as “YOUR SECRET WEAPON” — we wanted to know more. So we reviewed this new product; we talked to the company making it and the designer who actually designed the insole and who has overseen its manufacturing. In a nutshell — it is super cool.
Our Soccer Locker Review: In a nutshell — SPEEDGRIP is super cool. The surface of the insole grips like nothing else but is still comfortable.
Here is the scoop:
“Athletes spend countless hours training, yet winning or losing can come down to fractions of a second,” said Claudio Storelli, CEO and co-founder of Storelli Sports. “Standard insoles are not optimized for traction, meaning you constantly slide inside your shoes, slowing you down.”
The insoles are lightweight, velvety to the touch and have a heeltar to help lock the foot in place.
When you step on the surface material of these insoles — your foot is gripped — unlike when you step on other surfaces. Yes – we tried it.
The insoles block germs and odors with their antimicrobial treatment — and they come in three sizes so you can cut them down for a perfect fit.
The idea is simple – if you can grip the foot to the shoe — like glue to counter — you can reduce slippage and friction.
The Insole can be adopted for any sporting discipline or activity where grip is required, from soccer to basketball, tennis to running and skateboarding to cycling.
“At Storelli we are doing something different,” said Tom Marchesi, Head of Design at Storelli. “We are engineering performance from the inside out, focusing on the areas closer to the body, to the skin.”
“These areas are largely neglected but can enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.” adds Marchesi.
“Sports performance is a constant battle between energy and error,” said Rocco Monto, MD.
“If you have better grip in your footwear, less energy is lost during quick stops, starts, and cuts. This is truly game-changing because the optimal use of energy is key for performance in sports. When a player has more comfort and confidence in their traction, getting in the flow is quicker and easier.”
SoccerToday spoke with Marchesi on the benefits of the SpeedGrip™ Insole and the technology behind the innovative product.
Diane Scavuzzo: What makes this insole so special?
Tom Marchesi: The insole was an inspiration born from another product soon to arrive in the lineup- the sock. When looking at the sock and the various materials involved, we wondered why not take grip to the next level and apply it directly to the cleat?
The grip insole was born. But of course it wasn’t going to stop with just the bottom of the foot and grip, and the development of the heel tab was underway.
The fabric is very special. There are a lot of fabrics that can grip available on the market today, but what we were looking for was something special.
Diane Scavuzzo: What makes this fabric so unusual?
Tom Marchesi: What is happening at the fabric level — it is purely synthetic and made with heat pressure, this is not a fabric that is woven traditionally or knit in any way. Both sides of the fabric are the same — there is no direction to the fabric. It does not stress or stretch in any one direction.
This fabric can be manipulated in many ways. What this means is that when you have all these small fibers close together it creates more friction as the parts can all interact a grip on each other. It has a lot of surface area.
The fabric is then brushed, giving it a suede-like feeling. You get a lot of interaction with the fabric.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does this work?
Tom Marchesi: When you play a sport, you sweat — so this fabric had to have the same properties when it was wet and dry. We worked on the insole for about a year.
The fabric is from China — we tried many factories — and, this is not what you imagine when you think of a factory in China. This is not a factory with thousands of employees. I actually sat down with the workers in this factory — at a sewing machine — and showed them how to do it.
Diane Scavuzzo: Where do you design?
Tom Marchesi: I have the ability to create a full prototype here in my design studio. We can make something during the day and test it at night in a game. This is much more than just sticking grip on to an insole.
Diane Scavuzzo: How many prototypes did you make before you were satisfied?
Tom Marchesi: I can’t even count how many prototypes — so many nuances. When you put your foot into a shoe, you are very used to what that feels like, when you introduce something new, it has to be comfortable.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does it feel like when you wear this inner sole?
Tom Marchesi: You can feel the difference. I instantly feel it when I don’t have it. It is almost more of a feeling when you don’t have it. As you can imagine, even if your cleat is tight fitting, it usually has some type of give/stretch.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does this really impact the player?
Tom Marchesi: When a soccer player cuts from side to side and cuts forward — every time he or she does this, it takes a little bit longer for the foot to change direction as the cleat gives.
The quick feeling of direction is when you will feel this most. The heel tab really locks your foot in.
Diane Scavuzzo: Does this really work?
Tom Marchesi: It works really well — of course, it does depend upon what type of sock you are wearing.
We have a very innovative sock coming out in a few months — ours is very different. We had to recreate the whole way you make socks — most socks are knit on a circular knitting machine. Suffice it to say, this will be unlike any sock on the market.
Diane Scavuzzo: How is technology enhancing our physical abilities to perform? Does technology give some players an unfair advantage?
Tom Marchesi: A few years back, speed swimsuits came out that were able to cut down on the friction between the water and the suit, and while they were eventually banned … this is a great example of technology helping an athlete’s performance.
Diane Scavuzzo: Is the insole an unfair advantage?
Tom Marchesi: I was a goalkeeper when I was young …. The question of whether it is an unfair advantage can be compared to goalkeeper gloves.
Was the first guy who put on a pair of gardening gloves and realized that they were better than bare hands using an unfair advantage?
Take a look at the variety of keeper gloves out there — I would say no, it is not an unfair advantage, he was just demanding more from himself, and in turn, the gear he relied on.
Players spend $300 for a pair of soccer cleats — you buy all this technology with the studs designed specifically for you as a defender or keeper.
You expect this level of detail from your cleats. We are bringing it to the rest of your gear.
Does it work?
The insole testing was conducted by Progressive Sports Technologies Ltd., based at Loughborough University in England. The tests showed that the friction properties of the insole improved the perception of foot control and boosted the power of movement.
The tests, conducted in both wet and dry conditions, showed that SpeedGrip™ Insoles had a 58 percent more friction, and the majority of athletes testing them (90 percent) said that the Insoles made them feel faster.