HBN Shoe LLC develops Insolia®, a family of products unlike any other in the market. Insolia products provide foot and back solutions proven by medical science, with worldwide patents issued and pending.
HBN is based in the greater Boston US area, with R&D offices in San Antonio, Texas, Business & Technical Support offices in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Dongguan, China and Business Development and Support offices in Amsterdam, NL and Nice, France.
With solutions for both men and women, Insolia products have earned the American Podiatric Medical Association's Seal of Acceptance and the endorsement of the UK Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.
Our company's mission is to bring technological innovation to shoes while establishing Insolia Products as indispensable components for the world's best footwear.
Our Management Team
Dr. Howard Dananberg - Director Technology
Dr. Dananberg was one of the original three founders of HBN Shoe, LLC. His work in biomechanics and footcare/footwear technology began with athletic shoe patents and shoe design improvements. Dananberg pioneered the use of computerized in-shoe-pressure sensing in his medical practice and was able look inside a shoe to see what was happening to the feet and body.
As a practicing podiatrist, he knew that high-heeled shoes hurt women, but he didn't yet understand exactly why. Using computerized in-shoe-pressure analysis, he measured the forces present during walking and standing in high heels and identified the problem: the poorly designed inside of a high heel shoe creates a forward weight shift and an imbalance to the wearer’s body. Dananberg then developed a series of formulae that change the internal contour of the shoe to shift weight backward and properly align the body. These formulae are the foundation of Insolia Heels.
Dananberg recently retired from his practice as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. He is a Contributing Editor to Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association and a world renowned speaker on the biomechanics of human gait. He is also a consultant to Tekscan, Inc, a high tech company located in Boston, MA who produces pressure sensing technology used for in-shoe testing of gait style. Dananberg is on the adjunct faculty of the New York College of Podiatric Medicine and a former member of the Executive Board of the American Association of Orthopedic Medicine.
Dr. Dananberg received is undergraduate degree from Queens College. He received his podiatric medical degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine and conducted his residency at Central New England.
Michael Backler - President
Michael joined the company in 1999 in a part-time consulting role to assist in marketing and sales strategy and implementation. In 2001 he joined as full-time Chief Marketing Officer, and shortly after, became its President in 2002.
Michael brings more than 25 years of experience in international business development. branding, marketing, operations and strategic planning. With his ability to create value for all stakeholders in a business relationship, Michael has been successful in developing growth with retailers and manufacturers. He has experience on a global basis including Asia, EU and the US. He has significant experience in developing integrated communications and promotional plans to drive customer awareness and retail sales. As part of this, Michael has a track record of success in expanding business during changing market conditions.
Prior to joining HBN full time, he built and grew an independent consulting company, which provided executive team assistance in strategy, brand marketing and overall business management. His clients ranged from Fortune 500 companies to small start-ups and included HBN Shoe at one point. Michael sold the consulting firm prior to joining HBN fulltime.
Michael was also Corporate Director of Strategy and Marketing at Malden Mills where over a 10-year period he built sales and equity of the Polartec® and Polarfleece® brands. Prior to Malden Mills, he was a partner in a successful venture capital funded start-up and was a Vice President for a division of Xerox®. Mr. Backler holds BS and MBA degrees.
Brian Hughes - Chairman and Director R&D
Brian was the founding seed investor in HBN Shoe. Over time his role expanded, he joined the board and later became Chairman, and finally in 2004 he also assumed the role of Director R&D during the commercialization of Insolia Heels.
Brian received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT where he is a life member of the MIT Corporation, its board of trustees. He also received an MBA from Harvard Business School where he focused on technology and innovation management.
After graduating from Harvard he spent five years insuring spacecraft. In 1984 he co-founded PTAT System Inc., which built the first private transatlantic fiber cable linking New York and London which was sold to Sprint in 1989, thus ending AT&T’s international telecom monopoly.
Brian then switched back to the space business and became CEO of the American Rocket Company, which he closed in 1995. The hybrid rocket technology developed by American Rocket powered SpaceShipOne, winner of the X-Prize in 2004, and has been further developed for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.
Nick Soloway - Director Intellectual Property
Nick is one of the original three founders of HBN Shoe Company LLC. He is a founding partner of Hayes Soloway LLC, a full-service firm specializing in all aspects of intellectual property law. He is AV peer rated by Martindale Hubbell and included in Woodward White’s Best Lawyers in America. Nick is also an angel investor, has founded five for-profit companies, a technology business incubator, two not-for-profit organizations, and a chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree from MIT and his law degree from Boston College, where he taught chemistry.
Nick also serves on several boards of not-for-profit companies and is a member of the University of Arizona College of Science Dean’s Advisory Board, and also a member of the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts Dean’s Advisory Board.