Entrepreneurship, good design and problem solving have been in Antonia Saint Dunbar’s life, long before she co-founded THINX and Antonia Saint NY. After watching her parents run their graphic design business and her father work as one of the Chiefs of Design at GM, Antonia co-founded the disruptive personal care brand THINX, and in February 2022, Kimberly-Clark became a majority partner to take it Global.
While making the long commute to her THINX office years ago, the idea for Antonia Saint NY and her patented SoftSurround System was born because she relied on one trusted ‘cute-enough’ pair – whether for work or nights out, despite owning many more pairs of shoes. Most were stylish but uncomfortable, and so many shoe-lovers she knew had the same problem.
After any movement, the discomfort of beautiful shoes is often too much, and Antonia emphasized, “We face many challenges – but painful shoes shouldn’t be one. So just like when I lead the design for THINX, my dad’s designing DNA came alive, and the SoftSurround System now makes our shoes unlike others in the market today in that they support all parts of the foot in cushioned comfort, customized fit, and with more sustainable production methods and materials.”
To be specific, Antonia Saint New York gives supreme cushion with its patented SoftSurround System that includes extra cushioning above the toes, anti-blister tabs, and a celebrity NYC podiatrist known by 200,000 patients over her star-studded career, shared that a deep heel cup and recessed big toe cushion could also be integrated for other pain points.
Sustainability is also a key part of Antonia’s pursuit; they use a wide range of eco-friendly materials like recycled and certified vegan materials, in addition to energy-saving production processes and making products of enduring value.
Initially, shoe manufacturers were reluctant to change generational production systems to make the changes needed. But Antonia wasn’t about to let this deter her vision – three years of R&D led to the refined fit and technology of the patented SoftSurround System now available at Antonia Saint NY.
The company’s blueprint aims for no less than the ‘diamond standard,’ but for shoes. When diamonds are assessed for value, experts apply 4 or 5 Cs, like ‘cut’ and ‘carat.’ Antonia couldn’t understand how a decorative object could have this, yet shoes – which impact our mood and ability to go about our lives in peace – had no equivalent.
This inspired Antonia to devise her own higher standard for footwear, The 3 Cs: Comfort, Construction, and Customized Fit. Comfort is addressed with their patented SoftSurround System embedded into each shoe’s design, Construction is addressed with better materials like patented ballistic-nylon heels (no more nicks), and Customized Fit addresses the 60% of the population who have different-sized feet with an ability to order separate sizes for the left and right shoes on their site.
As she continues to apply her diamond-inspired 3 Cs to every product, Antonia is staying true to her good design roots with every step.