SportsJam with Doug Doyle: VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik Helps Healthcare Heroes

Oct 10, 2020

VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik talks about the advantages of his company's high-performance insoles
Credit VKTRYgear.com

Backed by 10 years of research, VKTRY is the world's first high performance insole, scientifically proven to help athletes run faster, jump higher and train smarter.

VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik is the latest guest on SportsJam with Doug Doyle.

The unique, patented design is made from aerospace-grade carbon fiber and was originally developed by Matt Arciuolo for the USA Olympic Bobsled team to help with explosive starts. Now, the product is being used across virtually all sports and by all levels of athletes from Olympic gold medalists to weekend warriors. Currently, athletes at more than 300 pro and college teams are using VKTRY Insoles.

VKTRY insoles
Credit VKTRYgear.com

During this pandemic, Waskik launched the VKTRY4Heroes Program.  Since April,  the Connecticut-based company has given away over 600 pairs of VKs to healthcare workers that have been nominated by their friends or family. 

Wasik says the feedback  they've received from these heroes is truly gratifying.

"Like most CEOs of companies we talked internally and we wanted to figure out what we could do at VKTRY to help our heroes.  We're not in a position to donate money, we're still  an early-stage company.  We also can't switch our manufacturing from carbon fiber to PPE so we thought the best thing we can do is to provide our product which we know is helpful in terms of energy return, stability and added shock absortion, for people on their feet everyday we thought this would provide some benefits.  The feedback from doctors, nurses and first responders has been amazing.  They really feel the difference.  They tell us that their legs and back are not as tired at the end of each day which certainly makes all of us at VKTRY feel very proud."

Cleveland Browns All-Pro running back Nick Chubb is part of Team VKTRY
Credit VKTRYgear.com

Even Cleveland Browns All-Pro runnng back Nick Chubb helped with the effort.   Wasik says Chubb has been a big supporter of the insoles and is a part of Team VKTRY.

"We talked to Nick Chubb and his mom has been in the healthcare business almost 30 years and he was really anxious to partner up with us. He's a tremendous individual, a really fine young gentleman, and he was glad to find a program where he knew people like his mom would be worthwhile for all of us."

While NFL is big, VKTRY has also grown on the feet of Olympians, elite volleyballers, golfers like Padraig Harrington and even MLB rising stars like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vlad Guerrero Jr., while also finding its way into the shoes of younger athletes, avid runners and healthcare workers.

VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik (left) and insole develop Matt Arciuolo
Credit Hearst Connecticut Media/Connecticut Post

Wasik stresses VKTRY is the most innovative and most researched insole in the world.  In addition to performance benefits, the product also helps to reduce injuries.  How much? Wasik says 415 less foot injuries and 22% less lower leg injuries in a study of 263 Division 1 football players over a full season of practice and games.  He says the added injury protection comes from increased support, stability and shock absortion.  Sports Medicine experts around the world are recommending VKs for help in recovery from injuries such as Planta Fasciitis, Turf Toe, Shin Splints, ACL/MCL/Mesniscus problems and even lower pack bain.

VKTRY employs 15 people in Connecticut. Wasik says the keys to success are hiring good people, a steady hand at the wheel and being able to monitor cash well.  While being a veteran in business and marketing,  what's been the magic touch at VKTRY ?

Steve Wasik is a Boston Red Sox fan and played club Rugby at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management
Credit Steve Wasik

"I say what excited me most about VKTRY, first of all, the people are great.  It's kind of a family-founded business. The sports category is a lot of fun.  I'm a big sports fan myself, part-time athlete, but the biggest thing was the product.  It's very unique.  When you think of insoles, typically they're made of foam, plastic, maybe a little rubber and they are really passive in nature.  So with the VKTRY insole, because of the carbon fiber base, is a dynamic product and we have the patent on it.  There's frankly nothing on the market that's anywhere near like our product."

Wasik got his BS in marketing at the University of Connecticut and his MBA at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.  He says VKTRY is looking into marketing other types of athletic equipment in the future and plans to introduce a "Silver Series" version of VKs that will be less expensive that the original "Gold Series".

To find out more about VKTRY you can click the top of the page and listen to the entire SportsJam with Doug Doyle interview.