Leveraging the last 40 years of experience perfecting the shape and fit of footwear, insole manufacturer Superfeet is breaking into footwear manufacturing with a Spring ’17 collection of men’s and women’s footwear designed to offer personalized fit solutions.
Eric Hayes, Superfeet chief marketing officer, said the brand has been working toward the footwear launch over the last year and a half. “We designed our new footwear collection from the insole out,” Hayes told VAMP.
The debut 15-style collection ranges from athletic styles to casual office footwear to sandals and flip-flops. Each shoe features Superfeet Supercork premium insoles, Lock-and-Key construction and flex-groove outsoles to complement the foot’s motion. Shoes retail for $59.95-$139.95. For Fall ’17, Superfeet will follow up with premium leather boots.
Hayes shared with Vamp the research and technology that went into the development of Superfeet’s footwear collection and how the company aims to offer consumers the “entire comfort package.”
VAMP: Describe Superfeet’s insole business before launching footwear.
Hayes: Since the brand’s beginnings in 1977, Superfeet has been dedicated to providing consumers with the ultimate shape. The Superfeet shape compensates for harder surfaces and adapts the flat, two-dimensional midsoles of a shoe by providing a structured heel cup, rearfoot support and stabilization to create a more personalized fit and feel. For the last 40 years, we’ve designed industry-leading insoles to provide consumers with our legendary shape. Looking ahead to the next 40, technology has made it possible to deliver the same Superfeet shape in new ways—like footwear.
VAMP: Why is it the right time for Superfeet to step into footwear?
Hayes: Superfeet is extremely fortunate to have an incredibly loyal fan base—half of whom own three or more pairs of insoles—and we’ve worked hard to earn their trust. Many consumers, our fans included, are looking for products that offer the entire comfort package. With our new footwear collection, we’re able to offer the Superfeet shape in a ready-to-wear product that consumers already know they can trust.
VAMP: What gap in the comfort market do you feel Superfeet fills?
Hayes: Unless a consumer is adding a Superfeet insole to their shoe, they’re likely not receiving the support they need. We’ve found that almost 80 percent of consumers would benefit from a supportive insole to maximize natural shock absorption, add longer-lasting comfort and help alleviate common foot pain. Our footwear can fill a unique gap in the comfort market by providing versatile designs that are built from the insole out with the Superfeet shape, ensuring consumers receive comfort when and where they need it most.
VAMP: What are the most efficient ways for the brand to communicate information about its Lock-and-Key and Supercork technologies?
Hayes: We’ve found the visual mediums are the best way to communicate the features and benefits of our Lock-and-Key and Supercork technologies. When we launched our footwear collection, we did a big push across social media to help show how the Superfeet shape is built into each style using these key technologies.
VAMP: Describe the brand’s target footwear consumer.
Hayes: Our target consumer is anyone who is looking for comfort but doesn’t want to sacrifice style. We have found that active audiences have been the most perceptive (i.e. people who run and hike and are looking for the same or similar support in their everyday shoes).
VAMP: How do you envision the footwear collection growing in future seasons?
Hayes: In the future, you will start to see our two lines blend together in styles that incorporate the best of both lines with mesh and leathers. We are also currently considering ways that we can further personalize the look and feel of our footwear to the end user.
VAMP:What’s the feedback like from retailers?
Hayes: Sell through at retail has been strong. We have worked with our top retailers to provide co-op advertising campaigns and custom POP to help spread the word and tell our built from the inside out story.