Realtor Debbie Klatt ruined dozens of pairs of stylish shoes driving around town.
"The shoes were perfect in every way, but I always had scuff marks from the back of the heel rubbing against the car mat when I used the brake and gas pedals," says Klatt, 55, of Tampa. "I have these beautiful shoes, and they're all scuffed up.
"I began noticing other women's shoes had the same damage. And when I asked my friends and relatives about it, they were having the same problem."
Klatt and her best friend, Gia Yee-Lozicki, a 46-year-old mother of three, were inspired to create Shoe Angels, small, reusable pieces of transparent vinyl that protect pumps, sandals, wedges and even flip-flops without altering the appearance of the shoes.
Shoe Angels come in two shapes: a crescent shape that protects the back of shoes at the heel and an oval shape that adheres to the bottom of pointy high heels. You simply peel off the backing and stick them to your shoes. They work by providing a barrier between your shoe and the floor mat of the car.
It took about a year for the women to come up with the right combination of protection.
"We kept trying every conceivable type of material," Klatt says. "We tried gels, foams, fabrics - whatever we could find. But we found the best thing was the thin, flexible vinyl and a special adhesive that releases without damaging the shoe or leaving any residue on the shoe."
Shoe Angels are sold online. The deluxe package - seven crescent- and seven oval-shaped protectors - sells for $19.95 and comes with a stainless carrying case that doubles as a business card holder. Refills are $7.95 for 30 Shoe Angels; 15 in each shape.
For information, go to: www.myshoeangels.com