The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2019. The global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2019. It is a disease which is now increasingly affecting the global population, as well as pre-diabetes. Being a lifestyle disease, it has far-reaching aggravations and side effects which hinder daily chores and routines in many ways. One of these is diabetic neuropathy: a nerve damage caused by high blood sugar (glucose). This happens mainly in hands and legs and impairs normal flexible movements. Unfortunately, the awareness about this and effective remedy still remains inaccessible to most. Those which exist are drab, unfashionable orthopaedic shoes which are often not preferred by the patients. This kind of neural damage often results in the patient losing feeling to an extent where there is a risk of stepping on something sharp or dangerous, with worse case situation being total amputation of the limb. Although it is not a new market, or one easy to break into, several innovative start-ups are popping up. One of the most recent ones being Dr. Brinsley, a design by two Northeastern University students, Vidhan Bhaiya and Danny Jooyung Kim.
The idea came to Vidhan Bhaiya at a family wedding on seeing his favourite uncle not being able to dance because of this; as a chemical engineer partnering up with Danny, a student of pharmacy with a similar entrepreneurial mindset, their primary aim was to bring forward footwear that was durable, functional and stylish- pillars of their core branding. Starting with India and now fast making their presence felt in the Middle East, and understand that to stand out, they must make a niche for themselves.
The shoes are made out of leather and constructed for people with diabetes in mind. The foot-bed is made out of crystallised memory foam, which helps to evenly distribute the pressure of the foot. Built-in metatarsal guards, arch and heel support, leather walls, and a dual density sole complete the design. The students’ aspirations for the company are high- they aim for a reality where these shoes are available in a Foot Locker, or being kept with Nike Air Jordans would sell just as well.