Every parent knows the frustration of buying their child a brand-new pair of shoes — only to have them outgrow or outwear them in a matter of weeks.
Enter EasyKicks. Created by two former Nike employees, the savvy, Portland, Ore.–based startup allows customers to order new Nike and Converse kids’ sneakers on demand for a monthly subscription fee of $20. Customers can choose from a thoughtfully curated selection of the latest styles — everything from Nike Huarache runners to Chuck Taylor All Stars — and swap them whenever they need a new pair. Once the new shoes arrive, the old ones are mailed back to EasyKicks using a prepaid return envelope. The company will then recycle or donate them to kids in need.
“We created EasyKicks to provide a solution for busy parents, and so far, the feedback from customers has been amazing. They see this as insurance — that they won’t be wasting their money if their kids outgrow or beat up their shoes too quickly,” said co-founder Dave Cobban, noting that customers on average swap out for new shoes every two to three months.
The company, which is being backed by Nike under the athletic giant’s venture-capital division, is exploring adding other brands to its offering, as well as socks and a wider range of shoe categories including cleats, rainboots and sandals. Cobban said his team is also looking at ways to tailor its subscription service to different customer groups, based on their shopping cadence and interests.
“We see many opportunities to build different membership plans and relationships with customers depending on what their particular needs are,” Cobban said. “For instance, we have some parents whose kids are mini sneakerheads and really into those premium styles. They might be willing to pay a slightly higher monthly fee to get them.”
Currently, customers are invited to choose their own styles from a constantly evolving assortment, but Cobban said the more convenience-focused parents want EasyKicks to make selections for them. “We have customers who say, ‘Okay, you know my kid now, you know what he or she likes. I just want you to choose and make it easy for me.’ So that’s triggered the thought that we might have different plans to better cater to different people.”
To engage with its young customers, EasyKicks includes small gifts inside each package, from stickers to activity guides featuring suggestions of fun things kids can do outside with their parents. The boxes are personalized with each child’s name.
“That’s the real magic of it,” Cobban noted. “It’s very rare that kids get their own packages delivered to them. This allows them to be part of the process and makes shoe shopping fun. Our customers post unboxing videos on social media, showing their kids opening their packages and trying on their new kicks. We love how people are really embracing this.”
Find out more about becoming an EasyKicks sneaker club member.