How Kizik Used the MESH01 Product Testing Platform to Connect Disparate Customer Feedback and Drive Brand Growth

The Challenge:

Since 2017, Kizik has been proving the functional application of its innovative hands-free technology while also capitalizing on opportunities for improvement. For years, these opportunities were being signaled through disparate channels, requiring more work to understand their customers’ feedback and preferences. To properly inform future product enhancements, Kizik needed to go beyond ratings and reviews and generate comprehensive feedback data from their customers by product testing within the product development process.

Kizik’s unique hands-free designs allow customers to simply step into their shoes and go. As an innovation-focused footwear brand, continuous improvement and validation is a driving ethos for Kizik’s product teams; and while their designs were delighting customers, Kizik wanted to go further and ensure every aspect of their footwear was optimized. 

After several years on the market, Kizik needed to dig deeper into its customers’ experiences in order to fully understand how customers were experiencing their shoes. This intel would help Kizik establish a testing baseline for new product development. And while the hands-free concept was unique, it was also important to Kizik to nail the fundamentals. During this effort, the Kizik team questioned whether focusing on the innovative aspects of their shoes left other elements with room for improvement.

The MESH01 Solution:

Kizik Adopts MESH01 Product Testing as a Standard Process Within Product Development

By implementing product testing on MESH01, Kizik was able to generate comprehensive product testing feedback data within their product development process. Kizik leveraged MESH01’s vast and integrated community of reliable product testers to receive actionable, constructive insights as well as performance validation. This valuable feedback gave the product, sales, marketing, and leadership teams direction and confidence that their products were on the right track.


“You have to have the nerve to put your product out there in a neutral, unbiased test.”

Skip Lei portrait

Skip Lei

Chief Product Officer
Kizik Footwear

Challenge Analysis

Tapping into the Testing Community for a 360o Product & Positioning Review

With innovative and differentiating technology, Kizik was already appealing to a variety of consumers – the hands-free nature of the footwear resonated with a wide range of consumers who simply want a more hassle-free form of footwear.

However, while the innovative, hands-free elements had been validated since the launch of the brand, other areas of the footwear designs needed to be revisited as Kizik was focused on amplifying quality and comfort throughout their product range.

Seeking a partner that could help them dig into their customers’ product experience, Kizik turned to the MESH01 testing community and initiated a 360° review of their products and positioning.

Solution Analysis

Gaining a Clear Vision Across All Key Attributes

Through decades of industry-leading product experience, Skip Lei, Chief Product Officer of Kizik, was already deeply familiar with product testing methods. He now relies on the MESH01 approach as a neutral, independent testing program that gives Kizik’s new product development “no free rides.”

For Skip and Kizik, the biggest impact of MESH01 is the confidence that comes from getting a clear vision of how their products stack up across all of their critical brand defining attributes. Having product testing data allows Kizik to fully evaluate their footwear within the product development process and move forward aggressively with business decisions informed by testing results. Even internal sticking points on products – not uncommon in product creation – can be avoided by finding out exactly how consumers feel about every aspect of a product before the purchasing of inventory or the product launch.

Further, Skip points out that “data” is only part of the story; it’s also about the partnership with the MESH01 team that allows Kizik to completely understand the results of their testing and move forward to improvements.

Kizik Digs Its Heels into Product Testing

Working closely with MESH01, Skip and the Kizik team were able to quickly gather ideal target customers in the MESH01 product tester community and distribute new, existing, and even comparative products to get a full view into what consumers feel and think about the Kizik shoes. This program-level product testing approach gives Kizik both an instant read on the strengths and weaknesses of a product as well as the ability to go deeper into detailed feedback and gather insights from numerous testers.

Leveraging MESH01, Kizik set out to test their best-selling shoe in order to generate feedback that would allow them to pinpoint specific areas for potential improvements. Working with their MESH01 Customer Success Manager who helped to fine tune test design and surveys questions, Kizik was able to generate objective constructive feedback that goes beyond casual ‘friends and family’ testing. The data was crystal-clear, and the product development team was able to get extra context where needed, including: Testers wanted more outsole traction

  • Deep-dive: What was the specific activity of a tester that was unsatisfied by the shoe’s traction?
  • Specific areas of concern were identified

From here, Kizik made it a company priority to improve on these areas and quickly reworked this model. After the new product launch, Kizik saw return rates amongst the lowest in the footwear industry.

In Skip’s words, “You have to have the nerve to put your product out there in a neutral test. Utilizing MESH01’s methodology, Kizik was able to ask the hard questions and identify the right direction for continued success.”

After the new product launch, Kizik saw return rates amongst the lowest in the footwear industry

Combining a Vast Tester Community with A Data-Driven Feedback Platform

Another critical benefit of the MESH01 community is their responsiveness throughout every step of the process. Without losing time to training testers or circling back to get more details, product development teams are able to seamlessly integrate the data and testing feedback into their process. Here, the support of the MESH01 Customer Success Manager helped Kizik understand how to best leverage the testing community and find the right testers for the job.

And the ability to connect feedback data to deep tester data also helped Kizik get the most out of its testing processes. For example, knowing about a recent injury or if a tester is a pronator or a supinator, gave the product developers a
complete picture of the testers, and ultimately made the data even more robust.

Having this combination of access to the MESH01 tester community and the support of the Customer Success Manager in conjunction with the data available through the platform is what makes MESH01 a go-to development tool for Kizik.

Unanticipated Value Generated by Engaging Real Customers

In addition to generating actionable insights against their core testing objectives, Kizik has also found additional value in unanticipated findings as well. A recent example of these types of incremental outcomes is a strongly-supported identification of the application of their technology in kids’ footwear. Through product testing with the MESH01 community, Kizik discovered just how important and impactful this technology was perceived to be by parents of young children.

For Skip and the Kizik team, this information was intuitive, but Skip pointed out that, “The feedback was off the charts” and that their hands-free technology would give kids an exciting sense of independence. While this insight is critical for the product team to know that they are on the right track, it’s also game-changing for the marketing team as they geared up to launch this new segment of business.

The Results

Today, Kizik relies on MESH01 product testing when developing a new product. It not only helps the product to be the best possible, but it also gives the marketing and sales teams insight into the unique selling propositions for each style. For Kizik, programmatic product testing through MESH01 is now part of standard operating procedure for all new product development.

At MESH01, we’re delighted to provide the level of support that can so often be game-changing for our customers. Kizik has used the product experience feedback data they have generated on the MESH01 platform to make challenging and important business decisions that are now paying off with strong revenue growth.

Giving Kizik and other brands the confidence that comes from really knowing how consumers experience a product, and understanding how each new concept or product stacks up, are great additions to every brand’s toolbox.


This case study was coauthored by: Glen McKibben, International Strategic Brand Consultant

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