In June of 2018, Joe Shamp was volunteering at a summer camp for folks with exceptionalities. Joe’s job for the week was to help his wheelchair bound friend, Logan, around the camp. One morning, Logan proudly told Joe that he recently learned to dress himself; the only part of his morning routine that still required assistance was the tying of his tennis shoes. Logan’s more accessible shoes were another reminder that he didn’t totally fit in, so he chose shoes like his friends wore. But needing aid to put his shoes on every morning left a hole in his confidence. This left Joe wondering, why are there so few accessible shoes that are also stylish? That very same week, Ben Seago, a self declared comfort-connoisseur, sent Joe a picture of a slipper he had been developing for personal use: a breathable, durable slipper coupled with a high fashion aesthetic. When Joe saw the image, he immediately recognized the brilliance of the concept; Ben’s quest for a stylized, supremely comfortable life led him to imagine a slipper that was built for action and accessible to almost everyone. A slipper that Joe’s friend could put on himself with confidence because all his friends wore them too. In an age when a progressive brand image is supremely important, Joe knew the innovative and inclusive product Ben drew had great potential. It was time to make the humble slipper, stereotypically seen as a shoe belonging to the elderly, disabled, or those simply lounging at home, the go-to shoe for late night snack runs and locker room chill sessions.
The serendipity of Ben’s quest for superior comfort and Joe’s desire to build his friend’s confidence through more accessible fashion compelled the two to develop Leandoers: a company that ritualizes rest and tears down artificial barriers to inclusion. Joe and Ben teamed up with Joel Rusnak, a freelancer and former senior designer at Reebok and Converse, to create their first iteration of the athletic slippers which launched in September of 2019.