The ALINE Story
Marblehead, MA - Gordon Hay looks like trouble. A redheaded barrel of energy who began his life’s work by jumping off of cliffs on skis, he talks a mile a minute and still rides a skateboard to the office. What’s not immediately obvious is that he might know more than anyone about what an athlete’s foot actually does during sports. And by joining up with his polar opposite, he may have completely redefined the footwear world.
"I started off using cocktail napkins and duct tape in ski boots, because when you’re landing a 100 foot cliff jump, unstable feet can ruin your season in an instant," says Hay.
Hay progressed to custom orthotics and gradually built a reputation as the go-to guy for many professional athletes in pursuits ranging from snowboarding to boxing to Himalayan expeditions. But even as people came from all over the world to be custom fitted by him, he began to realize that there was a fundamental problem with even the best-made orthotics. From years of working with athletes, Hay knew that the foot needed to be stabilized and aligned. But he also knew that once you spring into action, the foot’s topography changes.
"I knew that even at my very best, I couldn’t do everything I wanted to stabilize the foot and still allow perfect movement in every axis of motion."
"I went to pedorothist school and I realized that the medical approach is based on what the foot does when the person is just standing or sitting. But as soon as you go into motion, you’ve got foot structures that move within the foot. If you don’t let them, you compromise good biomechanics and peak performance."
Hay knew the answer would be an engineered product…something that could incorporate his knowledge and solve the alignment/performance puzzle. So he contacted Keith Orr, a design engineer who’s worked on everything from Reebok’s DMX technology to orthopedic surgical equipment.
Orr’s clean-cut presentation and smooth verbal delivery are a strong contrast to Hay’s wild energy. “Gordon and I couldn’t be more different in terms of our approach to things. His intuitive knowledge of the foot is incredible. But the challenge was to build that knowledge into a consistent, engineered product that could align and stabilize the foot while allowing it to move the way it evolved to do.”
Along with business-development specialist Derek Carrol, the two formed ALINE. And after a year of back-and-forth between the linear-thinking designer and the chaotic extreme athlete, the problem was solved with BFAST (bi-lateral foot alignment and suspension technology).
“I don’t know how we survived the process, but we did it,” says Orr. “We succeeded in creating a footbed that is completely unlike anything ever made.”
The BFAST suspension incorporates 21st century materials and engineering to be both rigid and flexible. It is based on a ribbed design that supports the arch and helps align the lower leg without locking off any of those important and ever-shifting bones and tendons.
Elite athletes in running, biking, skiing, snowboarding, and golf have gravitated to ALINE for its distinct performance advantages. In less than a year, ALINE has won two PGA Tour events (Rory Sabbatini and D.J. Trahan), dozens of X-Games medal (including the Superpipe snowboard gold medal) and has made its way under the feet of the country’s top runners, cyclists and big-mountain skiers.
“The beauty of this system is that it’s simple and easy, and everyone benefits by improving their alignment. If your ankles or arches are collapsing, it’s going to affect your stride, your ski turn, or your golf swing. And when you let your natural alignment come back, the performance benefits are huge,” says Carroll.
“Our list of athletes grows every day,” says Jeff Imperato, who joined the company as VP of marketing in fall of 2006. Imperato piloted the growth of Red Bull North American when it first splashed into the U.S. market in the mid-1990s, and he expects the same level of success for ALINE.
“Athletes are seeking us out because the BFAST system works. Until now, the only options have been rigid products that lock out the ankle or squishy foam inserts under the foot—which can negate most of the foot’s stabilizing power. What ALINE has done complete redefines the most important piece of sports equipment in the world.”
The ALINE insole system benefits athletes of all abilities by optimizing their foot and lower leg alignment to stop excessive pronation and other misalignments. The laser-assisted "ALINER" device quickly and easily measures foot size and ankle/knee position. In just minutes, the athlete can see exactly where his or her alignment should be. And the ALINE suspension insoles allow this optimization to occur naturally. For more on ALINE, visit www.aline.com or call 800-736-9005.
ALINE Systems, Inc.
123 Pleasant Street
Marblehead, MA 01945
800-736-9005 ext. 111