Hey, y’all. It’s Justin.
If you don’t know me, that’s my fault. You see, over the last several years, I’ve fallen off the edge of the earth—at least when it comes to BirthdayShoes.
I haven’t posted a thing since April 2019.
Had it not been for the faithful and regular work of Jarvis Chen, who knows what this site would look like today.
So why am I back?
I’m still here. Are you?
It’s been nearly 15 years since founding BirthdayShoes. That’s long enough for minimalist footwear and “barefoot shoes” to grow incredibly popular, only to see the popularity wane …
… and rise again. Just take a look at this Google Trends data, which we can use as a proxy for demand for barefoot:
Isn’t that something?
That second peak—which is happening now—is due to … what?
I have no idea.
Maybe I should.
The quiet boom in barefoot
Not long after the photo atop this post, I was catching up with my (now) old friend Steven Sashen. You know Steven as the co-founder of Xero Shoes.
Every time I talk to Steven I’m set back by his youth. That’s not just because of his long curly locks.
Steven’s full of energy, which is saying something after all the hard work he and Lena Phoenix have done to build Xero over the years. Did you know that Xero Shoes sold $50 million in shoes in 2022? That is a lot of shoes—and sandals too.
In catching up, Steven told me how barefoot shoes were growing. He told me about all of Xero’s the exciting plans for 2023. I don’t know how he manages it all.
And I caught Steven up on my life. I shared about the busy-ness of raising kids—and the rolling dumpster fire that is work at high-growth software companies (Not for the faint of heart)—work that’s about killed me for the last 6+ years.
I left that conversation wanting to plug back in on BirthdayShoes.
But where? And how?
… and the months went by.
You see, here I am, looking at this site, thinking about all the work that’s been put into it—and how much needs to be put into it.
Like an old house that’s in need of a remodel. Where do you even begin?
It’s a little overwhelming.
Which brings me to this post. It hit me. I don’t need to fix it all at once. The past cannot be changed. And the guilt of my neglect shouldn’t stop me from just … getting started.
So I flipped the site to a plain-Jane WordPress theme, and set to the work of simply stepping back into BirthdayShoes.
Hello, World. It’s Justin.
I’m putting a toe in the water to see how that feels.
And if read this, I’d love to hear from you. What would you like to see from this site?
I’ve got a few ideas, and I’d graciously welcome yours.