Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 12:34 pm
Anastasia Kraft thought it was about time to offer females working in STEM fields a steel-toed boot that was fashionable and safe. “I worked in engineering for over five years and although I loved my job, there was one thing I truly hated. That was my clunky, heavy steel-toed boots that were based on men’s designs,” Kraft said. Her co-workers and other women she asked in the industry felt the same way. So she decided to design work boots women could wear from an office environment to a manufacturing floor.
January 2018: Kraft and her husband Dmitry Krivochenitser begin developing the concept and write a business plan. “We’re bootstrapping it,” she said.
April 2018: The pair works with a freelance designer to complete the first boot design, a low-cut black or brown leather bootie that has a puncture-resistant midsole, a steel toecap and a rubber outsole that is heat-, chemical- and slip-resistant.
May 2018: They find a contract manufacturer in Mexico, and complete five rounds of prototyping to assure the boots meet ASTM standards.
December 2018: Prototyping is completed and production begins. “The main challenge is trying not to over-engineer the product,” Kraft said. “To make it feel comfortable and provide the right level of safety features.”
May 2019: Xena Workwear launches with online sales. The company is working on its next boot design, which covers the ankle and meets more stringent requirements.