Tracking dirt into the house is a problem most everyone struggles with. It’s an everyday problem, but can become more serious if the concern is to prevent germs and bacteria from being spread all through your living space. People in areas with severe winter weather or long “mud seasons” are used to carrying around a pair of indoor shoes or slippers because many homeowners ask guests to take off their boots or shoes at the door to avoid tracking snow, ice or mud through the house. It’s certainly possible to leave a pair of slippers by your door when you go out and change into them when coming back home, but sometimes that can be a real hassle. You’ve got bags of groceries or your kid’s sports equipment to unload from the car, requiring several trips in and out of the house. Or maybe you’re going out shopping and forgot your keys, and you really don’t want to bother sitting down and changing your shoes just to make a quick foray to the kitchen where you left the keys!
Eric Cruz faced this dilemma every time he went out to sports practices where he would then need to change into cleats or other sports footwear. Not finding anything that would make this whole process easier, Eric decided to make it himself. After graduating from Kean University in 2011 with a degree in management, Eric earned a master’s degree in business and sports administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He went on to work at CBS Radio and Mercedes-Benz, then he teamed up with his brother, Ryan, and friend, Kevin Zamora to establish Muvez Footwear (pronounced “moves”) and creating his dream shoe became his full time job.
In a March 30, 2020 article on the Kean University website, Eric recalls that the first prototype was made from supplies from the local hardware store. He even volunteered to dip his foot into a silicone, rubber and foam mixture to create a mold for the footprint! The team then spent several years in research and development to create the shoe, which they named “3:AM.” Eric Cruz, Ryan Cruz and Kevin Zamora all left their jobs in corporate America to pursue design and manufacture of innovative products. 3:AM reflects Muvez’s mission to support the lives of creative and innovative people (who apparently are often up at 3AM, deeply involved in the creative process)! In fact, the 3:AM shoe was adopted early on by Chris Lavish, a model and NYC street fashion connoisseur, who wore them while showcasing various fashion ensembles during London Fashion Week.
Initial funding came through private equity and a Kickstarter Campaign. The campaign occurred during August/September of 2019, with an initial goal of $15,000, and ended with 292 backers and $33,873. An article in Yahoo Finance Section on July 31, 2019, described the shoe as combining “the functionality and detail of an athletic shoe with the comfort and convenience of casual house slippers.”
The 3:AM is made of a breathable knit upper slipper/shoe and elastic piping that provides a comfortable, secure fit. The detachable sole is made of rubber-like EVA material and provides protection and extra shock-absorbency. Wear the inner shoe around the house without the sole and then slip on the sole when leaving the house! The inner shoe comes in four different colors and the sole in black and white for mix and match capability. If the sole gets dirty it can be tossed in the washing machine. 3:AMs come in sizes for men, women and children.
Eric Cruz learned many of the elements of a successful business at Kean University: networking, resourcefulness, learning on the go, and mitigating risk. He admits he didn’t really set out to become a business owner, but “entrepreneurship kind of chose me.” Eric’s goal has always been to be successful at whatever he pursues and it looks like he is on the right path with Muvez!