CEO & Co-Founder
Location: Broomfield, CO
After returning to sprinting at age 45, Steven Sashen was injured almost non-stop for two years. When a friend suggested he ditch traditional running shoes and run in his bare feet, Sashen realized why he was getting injured and how to stop getting injured. As a Masters’ All-American sprinter, the natural movement was profound to him. So, Sashen made ‘minimalist sandals.’
When a running coach suggested he create a website, his wife urged him not to do it, but when she went to bed one evening, he created a website for his designs and Xero Shoes was born. His wife then joined forces with Sashen as the CFO and Co-founder.
“One of the advisors to our private equity partner, who is now a board member, asked me during due diligence if I see the company becoming a $1 billion + brand in 10 years,” said Sashen. “I told him it would only take seven years.”
Since then, Sashen has become one of the leading experts in natural movement and biomechanics and the most recognized face in the minimalist footwear space as the CEO and Co-founder of Xero Shoes. “With my wife, we’ve bootstrapped a company that started on the floor of the corner of a spare bedroom and now we have a multi-national business that’s repeatedly on Top Company and Fast-Growing Company lists,” said Sashen.
He has built his business by doing what most companies don’t. The company embraces open book accounting, quarterly equitable profit-sharing-inspired bonuses and ran one of the most successful Reg A+ equity crowdfunding raises in history while generating profits along the way.
The CEO said he doesn’t have a success yardstick. “If our team at every level is happy, working hard, seeing results from their actions and committed to our business and mission, things are going well,” he said. “If you’re thinking too much about leading, you’re overlooking what truly needs to be done.”
Having had no previous footwear experience, Sashen now has multiple patents and major footwear brands copying his non-patented unique designs. However, he credits the support of his wife, not the accolades, as his most significant accomplishment. “I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve built this business with my wife as an equal partner,” he said. “All the rest – business growth awards, design awards, etc. – pale in comparison.”
For his continued success and commitment to following his dreams and passion, Sashen has been named a Titan of industry
Steven used to be a professional street performer and made a living by walking on broken glass on his bare feet!