A client of True Mountain, an outdoor apparel manufacturer in Preston, Lancashire, U.K., asked for a promotional item for a trail running group. Company founders Tim Butcher and Jojo Burns created a shoe bag to separate dirty trail shoes from clean gear in a kit bag, but the waterproof fabric they tried on the prototype wasn’t ideal for the purpose, as it stuck when the user pulled the drawstrings.
On a visit to Allied Textiles, a nearby supplier of technical fabrics, Butcher noticed rolls of hot-air balloon fabric on the factory floor. The fabric is windproof, waterproof and antimicrobial—the trifecta for a shoe bag meant for muddy, damp and sweat-soaked trail shoes.
True Mountain now makes shoe bags for its customers, but also for other businesses or organizations that want to brand and sell the bags themselves. The fabric is ripstop nylon 6 with an antimicrobial coating inside and a durable water-repellent finish outside. To optimize fabric use, True Mountain limits its products to the most popular shoe and boot sizes. From two meters of fabric, the company cuts six bags: one boot, one shoe, two 1.25-liter bags and two 1-liter bags. The company’s other products include small runs of U.K.-made clothing, such as base layers, pants and running jackets.