News & Article

Plimsolls are better than trainers for children, say scientists

Old-fashioned plimsoll shoes are better for children’s feet than modern trainers, according to scientists, because they teach them to run in a more natural manner on the front part of the foot.

Dr Mick Wilkinson, a sports scientist at Northumbria University, told an audience at the British Science Festival in Newcastle: “If I was to advise someone on what to give their child I would say don’t go and buy them expensive big-cushioned jobs, just get them a pair of flexible, flat shoes. There is a lot of evidence that the human foot is structured to cope with the forces of running by landing on the mid-foot,” he said.

Once children become accustomed to running in trainers they find it difficult to learn to run more naturally, he added.

Stuart Weitzman names new CEO

US footwear brand Stuart Weitzman has appointed Wayne Kulkin, former vice-chairman, as CEO to lead a major store expansion over the next three years. The company says it is expecting considerable wholesale and e-commerce growth, licensing opportunities and brand extensions, including handbags and accessories. "Wayne has been a true partner over the last 23 years. His passion, creativity and business acumen have been essential in driving our growth across diverse channels, and I am confident that Wayne will be equally instrumental in his new role as CEO," said the company’s chairman, Stuart Weitzman. As part of the company’s expansion, Roberta Lee has joined in the newly created role of vice-president of marketing for Asia-Pacific. She most recently worked as head of fashion marketing for Chanel, with responsibility for the strategic business planning and marketing for Hong Kong and Macau. Stuart Weitzman has 100 freestanding stores, three e-commerce sites and 80 countries of distribution

Wage confusion leads to lay-offs in Indonesian footwear industry

Indonesia’s footwear industry association Aprisindo has said its members have laid off a collective of 44,000 so far this year.

The organisation’s president, Eddy Widjanarko, has told local media that the main reason for the lay-offs is a lack of clarity over wages. He said increases in the minimum wage this year, along with higher energy bills, had pushed up production costs.

Aprisindo has said it would like wages to rise in line with inflation with employers able to add an additional 5% or 10% at their own discretion.

Bata was backing African sports stars 30 years ago

To prove that there are very few genuinely new ideas under the sun, reports from Africa have been commemorating the impact 30 years ago of Ugandan footballer, Issa Sekatawa, a striker for the national team in the 1980s and early 1990s, who also played for a number of the country’s top clubs.

These days, an African player of Issa Sekatawa’s talent would be snapped up on a lucrative contract by one of Europe’s biggest football clubs before the age of 20, but his big move came in 1982 when he moved from provincial club Nytil FC in Jinja to the capital, Kampala, to play for Express FC.

After he topped the scoring charts in the Ugandan league in 1982 and 1983, footwear firm Bata launched an Issa Sekatawa sneaker, which proved highly popular in the local market. Endorsements with textile firms followed, and for a time in the 1980s, when a young Kampalan wore the face of sports star on his or her T-shirt, the star was most likely to be Issa Sekatawa and the writing underneath his slogan: ‘Goals are my business’.

A series of injuries brought an end to a great, but local, career in the early 1990s.

Sympatex presents 3D moisture-transporting laminate

A new 3D laminate by Sympatex Technologies promises increased moisture transport with a small carbon footprint.

Foam points on the inside of the Phaseable laminate touch the skin, and during the recovery phase of the athlete, an insulating layer of air is created between the skin and the laminate. When the physical activity is increased, moisture is produced, which lets the compact hydrophilic membrane swell up and the foam points disappear so the laminate gets closer to the skin, improving moisture transport

“The 3D 2.5-layer laminate is as light as a two-layer laminate, but offers the stability of a three-layer laminate,” said Haymo Strubel, director of apparel at Sympatex. “In addition to the high requirements in regard to the performance, we have focused on the ecological compatibility of the product during development.”

Sympatex will present the technology at the OutDoor Fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany, from July 11 to 14.

Ecco reacts to Russian ban on synthetic shoe linings

Outdoor footwear brand Ecco has said changes in regulations that have come into place in Russia have forced it to alter some elements of the collection it is currently preparing to ship to that market for sale in the autumn-winter 2013-2014 season.

Specifically applying to children’s shoes, the change, which came into place in July 2012 shortly before Russia became a full member of the World Trade Organisation, is that now all children’s shoes in the Russian market must have linings that are made wholly from natural materials.

Ecco is a great champion of natural materials and, famously, even produces its own leather. However, it has also included Gore-Tex in some of its shoes for many years, layering the membrane into its leather uppers or laminating it into high-performance textiles inside the upper and carefully sealing it. “This way we can create outdoor shoes that are breathable, durable, waterproof, and engineered to keep feet dry and comfortable on all adventures,” the company has said.

After carefully considering the new regulations in Russia, Ecco has decided to take Gore-Tex out of all of its Russia-bound children’s shoes for autumn-winter 2013-2014.

The Danish footwear brand told that the purpose of the new regulation is to secure the safety of products used by children and adolescents, and that part of this is that the lining of children’s shoes has to be made entirely from natural materials such as cotton, leather or wool. “Any use of synthetic materials is prohibited,” the company said.

However, its vice-president for group communication, Steen Frentz Laursen, added that the technical regulations are still unclear. “They do not define what ‘lining’ is,” he said. “The authorities have not provided any interpretations of the regulations.”

He made it clear that the regulations make no specific reference to Gore-Tex and said Ecco had been forced to make its own interpretation of what would be acceptable in Russia in the face of the new rules. He pointed out that two other markets, Belarus and Kazakhstan, are also covered by the change.

“Ecco views the new regulation as a technical trade barrier,” Mr Frentz Laursen continued. “These products do not cause any safety hazard. Also, our products are sold in 90 other markets with no such requirements against synthetic materials. Nevertheless, we have adapted to the regulations to the best of our ability by developing and manufacturing an entirely new collection for this segment of the market.”

He said quality and comfort remained “at a very high level” for the altered collection for Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

WL Gore has said it will give us a response to the situation in the coming days.

World Footwear Magazine

Adidas attempts to resuscitate Reebok

Reebok’s logo is to change from July 1 as part of owner adidas’s strategy to boost sales, which have fallen for four out of the past six years.

It will use the red delta CrossFit sign across its range, as revenue in its CrossFit range rose 13% in the first quarter of this year.

Reebok signed the partnership with CrossFit gyms in 2010, according to Bloomberg, and the 30-minute fitness routine is growing in popularity.

CrossFit fanatics “shop like crazy”, said Katja Erbe, brand director for Reebok in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. “It’s about having the latest gear. Reebok is the only brand that is offering CrossFit-specific products.”

Adidas bought Reebok for $3.8 billion in 2006 but sales have steadily declined. It took a EUR 265 million writedown on the brand last year

Nike creates football boot for ‘new breed’ of player

30 May 2013

Nike has unveiled a "completely new" football boot, the Nike Hypervenom, designed with the help of some of the world's top players.

Strikers Neymar da Silva from Brazil, England's Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Sweden specified the need for a boot that could help them create space quickly in and around the penalty area and get their shot off from any angle.

The Nike Football design team, led by Denis Dekovic, began by looking at the attacking forces in today’s game. He said: “The game is changing. It used to be that speed was the focus of the attacking side of the game, but now everybody has pace. Players want to be quicker with the ball at their feet in small spaces.”

The Hypervenom’s upper is created using the new Nikeskin system. This features a soft, supple mesh bound with a thin polyurethane film, and is finished off with Nike All Conditions Control technology to provide the same level of foot-to-ball control in wet and dry conditions.

“Traditionally a new boot will focus on an evolution of the fit, the upper material or the sole plate and stud configuration. The Hypervenom features new solutions for all of these areas,” said Phil McCartney, vice-president of Nike Football for footwear.

The boot features a new foot last, removing excess material to place the foot closer to the ground and ball. The company says it is its most anatomical last to date.

It worked with podiatrists to create a decoupled outsole that increases the player’s ability to make the first step away from the defender. A groove in the forefoot helps to activate the first metatarsal, says the company - the bone that defines reaction time of the foot’s first movement.

The chassis of the outsole features compressed nylon for a “high-response plate” that helps deliver strength while being light. The stud configuration and length is designed to allow for faster penetration of the surface and a quicker release.

The new boots will debut on June 2 in the Brazil versus England match on Neymar and Rooney. Other players set to wear the boot include Ibrahimovic, Robert Lewandowski and Danny Welbeck.