VKTRY Gear, a performance insole company, has announced that basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady has joined the company as a brand ambassador and a member of VKTRY’s growing athlete advisory team.
The company’s insoles, made from aerospace-grade carbon fiber, aim to store and return energy to the athlete in a “spring-like” effect, improving shock absorption and reducing the load and stress on an athlete’s body. In independent performance testing, athletes wearing VKs increased their broad jump by an average of four inches, upped their vertical leap by 1.6 inches and improved their 40-yard dash times by 0.12 seconds. A recent study commissioned by the Korey Stringer Institute found 263 NCAA athletes showed foot injuries decreased by 41% and lower leg injuries by 22% when athletes use VKs.
“All the things that I endured in my career is what cut my career short,” McGrady said in an interview. McGrady played 16 NBA seasons but suffered from back, knee and shoulder injuries throughout. “This is something that could have prevented that, so I’m a huge advocate about this whole push to get these out to the kids and for them to really take control of their bodies and be serious about it.”
In recent years, McGrady has run his own youth basketball organization. “I see kids in my program wake up every day and go 100 miles per hour, no stretching, no nothing,” he said. “I’m a huge advocate about this because a lot of these kids right now, it’s all athleticism for them. I don’t really think they’re focusing on the necessary things for them to be injury free.”
Introduced to the company in April through his business partner Grant Haas, McGrady tried out the insoles and, he says, promptly fell in love with how they felt on his feet. After discussing with VKTRY their direction and their ambitions for the product, the seven-time NBA All-Star signed on to help the company.
VKTRY hopes McGrady can help it expand overseas and into youth sports. McGrady had a brief stint playing in China, and he currently coaches sixth through ninth graders in his AAU program in Houston.
“We’re at a point now where all of that can be valuable to VKTRY as we start to communicate to the world about our product,” VKTRY CEO Steve Wasik said in an interview. “He understands the importance of communicating the right messaging to consumers, and we thought he covered all the bases for us in terms of him being an elite athlete and now a coach.”
During the 2020 NFL season, more than 200 NFL players, from 29 of the 32 clubs, wore VKTRY’S carbon fiber insoles, a 300% increase from 2019 according to data from VCTRY. Nick Chubb, DK Metcalf and Justin Jefferson are just some of the notable names who have used the product. Outside of NFL players, 74 2021 NFL draftees used VKs for the first time during their pro days, a record for the company.
VKTRY insoles are available in five levels of flexibility to optimize performance, protection and comfort. Athletes at more than 300 professional and college teams wear VKTRY insoles for training and competition.
(The story was updated to correct the spelling of the Korey Stringer Institute.)