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Innisfil family scores with 'brilliant' laceless cleat design

All four members of family involved in development process; 'For both of my kids, it’s about empowering them to step out into the world and not give up,' mom says

For the Khans, designing soccer cleats is a family affair.

The Innisfil mom, dad and two-son team is passionate about footy — Tyler, 8, and Taysen, 5, have each played for a couple of years. But a few elements about traditional laced soccer cleats never sat well with Tyler, a kid who would play matches in the rain and who was still learning to tie his laces.

Shoes slipped off when wet. Or they’d come untied, forcing him to stop mid-play, or temporarily leave the pitch altogether. 

So, nearly a year ago, Tyler and dad Rejean began brainstorming with the goal of making better footwear for the Beautiful Game. They ultimately settled on a laceless, waterproof concept that has since, with the help of Taysen and family matriarch Tricia, been brought to market.

It is called NRG — the Khans couldn’t use the word “Energy,” but came up instead with an acronym based on the phrase “No Rest Given.”

They started with 200 pairs that were stored in the family garage. At a price point of $60, sales are going “pretty good,” Rejean said.

“You gotta try new things,” he said. “Our motto is ‘Follow your passion.’”

Now, Adidas, Nike, Puma and other big brands do offer laceless options. And notes stars like Mesut Özil and Paul Pogba are longtime supporters of this style because the cleat’s strike zone stays cleaner and purer, making a more accurate connection with the ball.

However, the Khan family believes they’ve got a quality, affordable product that can find a niche within the crowded athletic shoe market.

But what else makes this cleat unique? It’s designed with kids in mind. Sketches from the Khan boys inspire the look of the shoes, and Tyler has been wearing them for months, potting dozens of goals in that time.

“I like them,” he said. “They made me get all the goals I got this year. They feel way better. It doesn’t hurt my toe. Soccer’s the best.”

Tricia agrees.

“It was a brilliant idea,” she said. “It’s a brand that means a lot — it’s promoting young kids.”

Tricia calls her husband a “creative genius” and notes they’ve tried to encourage their children to think outside the box.

“I’m all about encouraging people to go beyond their limits and do whatever it is that’s on their mind,” she said. “You never know where it might go. It only takes trying. You might fail, but through your mistakes, you get better. For both of my kids, it’s about empowering them to step out into the world and not give up. Be resilient. Keep going. Have that energy.”

For more on NRG, visit its website or Instagram page.

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Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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