Recently, Devin Agca (founder of Modifox), ran a marathon to test the durability of their shoes designed for life onboard. So what happened? In this exclusive interview, we ask him about the experience and the direction in which Modifox shoes are walking 😉

What’s your goal for Modifox in the Superyacht industry, and where do your shoes come in?

To be honest, we got here by chance. Our first product was a home slipper that turns into a  sneaker in 1 step.  

I grew up on the countryside. All of my family, wore 1 pair of Birkenstock in sz. 38 for trips  outside. They were not my size, and not my type design-wise. So I hated them with all I had. 

Still, I couldn’t be bothered getting in actual shoes for quick trips. And as I already wore house  shoes indoors, I thought: How could I just keep them on outside without getting dirty? 

That was the idea behind Modifox Kiss – the first slipper that doesn’t get dirty. 

When we launched in November ’23, a Dutch friend called me. He lives on a house boat and  was fascinated by the idea of specialising the shoes for the marine industry. According to him:

“Keeping your house clean is a personal preference. But keeping a boat clean is a  golden rule.”  

The next day, there was a marine trade show in Amsterdam – The METS. From our office in  Cologne, Germany it was a 2,5 hour drive. Not knowing anybody, I packed a sample and went.  

We first talked to Tony from YachtNeeds. Being a founder himself, he could ignore the state of  the product and appreciate the concept behind it. The shoe was too warm, and not water  resistant. There was nothing marine about it. But according to him, the concept was brilliant. 

Tony got us in touch with the who’s who of the yachting uniform brands. Quickly we were in  talks with the likes of Liquid Yacht Wear and SeaDesign. They wanted to be onboard, if the  yachts were. 

So the next thing I did, was dockwalking every port from Mallorca to Italy. I spoke to over 50  superyachts. And with their feedback in mind, we built a marine version of our product. 

“That is what we named the Modifox Ocean Kiss. The first boat shoe that stays  clean everywhere. No matter if deck or dock.“  

Within 1 month, we pre-sold 1.000 pairs. Since Mid Apil, they have reached the known shops  at Cote D’Azur, Italy and Greece. Soon they will be available in our online shop. 

Our shoes only have been on the yachts for 1 month, but the first feedback is very affirming.  We hear from a couple of clients that they bounce back and fourth more easily then ever  before. Be it at the shipyard or on guest trips.  

Now, we will see how they hold up over an entire season.

What training did you do to prepare?

Actually, not much at all. When I first thought about running a marathon in our shoes, it was  about 1 month before our Kickstarter campaign launched. 

Back then, I knew I wanted to run before our first shoes were delivered. I wanted people to  know they were safe to use, before getting them.  

As we promised to deliver around March 2024, I had about 3 months to prepare. I consulted  my father in law and a few of his friends. All seasoned marathon runners, who live and breath  that sport. They ran close to 50 marathons in their lives. Each that is. 

I’m a relatively fit guy anyway, so they told me 3 months were enough time to get me in  marathon shape. Together, we drafted a training schedule.  

“I remember, the first week was by far the worst.”  

My first training session was only a 5K run followed by a 1h Gym workout. The run took me  over 35 minutes, and after the gym I had to throw up.  

That was quite a reality check for my perceived level of fitness.  

But after that, week by week I got a lot better. Running 20K was hardly possible for me at  first. Then I ran it in under 1:47h and felt good to go further if I had to. 

However, it’s important to note that I did all that in a light pair of running shoes. Not Modifox.,  I was quite afraid of injuring myself before the race, as they were never designed for running. 

So my plan was to build up my cardio with normal running shoes, and switch to Modifox 3  weeks prior to the race. 

“But the first time I ran in Modifox, I wanted to go home after the first 500 meters.”  

Trusting the process, I stuck with it, and a week later I ran my first 20K in Modifox. Apart from  a few blisters and burning calf muscles, it went okay! 

That was about 2 weeks prior to the race. A bit naively, I thought the marathon would feel  similar with a gradual increase in pain. Nothing I couldn’t handle. 

But little did I know what kind of exhaustion can kick in around the 30k mark.


Tell us about the marathon. How was the experience and why did you decide to do it?

For years, people were doubting the technology of our product. That was no surprise, as our  first prototypes barely functioned. Over time, we perfected the tech. But a few questions remained: 

“What if the soles fall off?  

What if I stumble and fall?  

What if I hurt myself?”  

We ran all kinds of tests. We did factory and cohort studies. But that seemed too boring, too  subjective. 

So I thought: What if I do the ultimate test? What if I run a marathon in them? I didn’t need to  think about it further. 

I acquired a few sponsors, put a film crew together and signed up for the LaValette Marathon  in sunny Malta.  

I chose this race as it goes along the coast line and finishes at Birgu Waterfont Marine. This  way all yachts could see whether the shoes hold up until the finish line or not. 

My Run for the Yachts, which was also my first ever marathon, went like this: 

  • 1-15 KM. Race begins. I start last, but feel great. Good rythm. Good views. I slowly  overtake 250 runners. 
  • 16-25 KM. First signs of fatigue. Climbing 360 meters in height doesn’t help. I  complete my half marathon at 1:59 h. 5:40 m/km. 
  • 26-30 KM. I walk for the first time. Only ever did that once in training. I lose track of  time. First runners I passed overtake again. 7:00 m/km. 
  • 31-35 KM. I walk as much as I run. I can’t say why. My breathing is okay. But I got  nothing left. Walking hurts. Even more then running did. 
  • 36-40 KM. I lose my sense of direction. Don’t know if I’m at 20 or 40 km. Every  muscle hurts. I run (walk) my longest kilometer up a hill. 14:07 m. 
  • 41-42 KM. I need to stop, and sit down. Once at 41. Then again at 42. The last 12km  have taken me 2.5 h. I swear I never run again.
  • 42.195 KM. Can‘t be seen walking across the finish line. I run the final 200 meters. I  break down right after. The next 2 h I shiver and throw up. 

Sounds a bit dramatic? If you want to see for yourself, here’s a clip of my Run for the Yachts.

How were the shoes afterwards!?

The shoes were more then fine. In fact, after giving them a good wash, I’ve been wearing them  ever since, without a sign of fatigue. 

“Mission accomplished.”  

While, many things didn’t go as planned, the Modifox Ocean Kiss was one of the few things  that didn’t fail me during the race. 

They felt heavier and heavier. But to be fair, they do way about 1kg versus normal running  shoes that are around 300g. So I expected that. 

What was more important to us:  

“No matter how awkward I moved, the soles never came off.”  

In the end, I finished at 5:22h. Nothing to be proud of from a competitive standpoint. But  primarily, I entered the race to test my shoes. Not myself. 

And testing the shoes I did – successfully!


So what are Modifox shoes best suited for if not for running marathons 😉?  

At the moment, Modifox is great at 1 thing – switching between different environments of  hygiene with ease. Whether that’s at home, or by the sea. 

“But that’s only the start.”  

It’s still our version 1, which we think is great but not perfect.  

Now, we look to get as much feedback as possible – good and bad. And with this in mind, we will build an improved version 2.  

After that, it’s our dream to build a whole Modifox World.  

A portfolio of compatible styles. 

Think of it as Crocs, but with shoes and soles, instead of clogs and jibittz.  

“I want to build a brand, where you can combine any shoe with any sole, depending on your task at hand.”  

I want people to be able to switch between a few essentials, instead going through dozens of  one-dimensional shoes. 

In yachting, this could be a shoe that matches a formal dresscode, but also works well for daily  chores, or the shipyard. 

Few parts > Many shoes. That’s the motto.

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