Social Justice Enterprise Seeks to Keep Low-Income Climbers Climbing During Hard Economic Times While Promoting Social, Racial & Environmental Justice
New York, NY - Flash Friction LLC announces the launch of its climbing shoe repair services to the growing gym and outdoor climbing community in the greater NYC area. Founded by the children of immigrant shoe cobblers, Flash Friction seeks to encourage climbers to be more socially and environmentally responsible by giving new life to their climbing shoes - and in particular help low-income climbers continue in the sport during a time of pandemic, economic uncertainty, and calls for racial justice.
Flash Friction is the birth child of Edward, Ceasar, and Alex Saingchin, three brothers from New York of Chinese, Cuban, and Thai heritage. Their parents spent more than 50 years as cobblers in the Bronx, with the scent of rubber, leather and glue being a major part of the brothers’ early lives. As they grew older, they fell in love with climbing through the local climbing gym. Climbing served as a course for personal growth, camaraderie, and many adventures in the mountains. Years later, they launched Flash Friction to address what they saw as an unmet need for NYC’s burgeoning gym climbing community - and experiment with the idea of climbing shoe repair as a vehicle to promote social and environmental change.
“With the economy being slow, we hope Flash Friction can help climbers that are struggling financially due to the pandemic to save money and keep climbing,” said Edward Saingchin, company Co-Founder and Operations Manager.
Prior to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, climbers spent approximately $42 million on new climbing shoes. Costing upwards of $200 per pair, and initially lasting a few short months, climbing shoes account for the most money spent on climbing gear in 2018. Climbing shoe repairers (known as resolers) can significantly prolong the life of climbing shoes by replacing worn rubber off their soles, often for far less money than a new pair of shoes. Yet despite what might seem like an obvious need - especially when money is tight like these days - there are only a few dozen resolers across the country. And none were located in the expensive NYC area, until now.
Ceasar Saingchin, the company’s Brand Director and Co-Founder added, “Flash Friction is our contribution to the local climbing community during the pandemic, especially to low-income climbers or those from historically marginalized communities like Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC).” Indeed, the onslaught of COVID-19 has exacerbated racial inequality in the United State. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Black and Latinx communities have collectively faced some of the most damaging economic and health effects of the coronavirus, suffering from higher rates of unemployment than in white communities. These statistics are even higher amongst Black and Latinx women. It should not be surprising then that from a climbing perspective, these communities already participated in the sport at low rates, not to mention being disproportionately overburdened with proximity to pollution, and overall lack of access to nature.
“We aspire to be a new kind of business, one that is better for people and the planet,” said Edward. Besides saving climbing shoes from being prematurely thrown away, Flash Friction has also committed to donating at least three percent of its profits to local community organizations engaging BIPOC communities in local fights for social, racial, and environmental justice. In their first year, moreover, they aim to collect, resole, and donate 100 pairs of used climbing shoes to climbing non-profit organizations empowering youth from historically marginalized communities. through climbing.
“To be able to climb regularly is a privilege. Gym memberships are not cheap; Gear starts to add up; And paid vacation time to go send outdoors is a luxury for many. We hope Flash Friction can play a tiny part in helping the climbing community be more accessible and inclusive,” concluded Ceasar.
With its launch, Flash Friction is New York City’s only climbing shoe resoler. Currently, climbers can drop-off their shoes for repair at Steep Rock Bouldering, with two locations in Manhattan, or mail them straight to Flash Friction. You can see the menu of their services as well as drop-off times at www.flashfriction.com and follow them on Instagram.
Flash Friction’s mission is to encourage climbers to be more socially and environmentally responsible by giving new life to their climbing shoes. We believe that climbing can unleash the inner spirit, bring people and cultures together, and foster stewardship of our planet and its limited resources. We take great care in preserving climbing shoes for the long haul, and strive to promote business and community practices that protect our planet and its people for generations to come.