Futureproofing footwear


During the Performance Days Functional Footwear Fair which takes place in Munich and online from March 4-5, a key theme will be how the industry is following apparel in becoming more responsible towards ingredient sourcing.

“The model for buyer behaviour when choosing clothing is a clear funnel,” says Charles Ross, lecturer in performance sportswear design at London’s Royal College of Art, who works with the Performance Days team. “The single most important factor influencing whether to buy is how a garment looks – if two items are similar, then the influencing factors move to pricing issues. If the prices are comparable then the next level of factors are those of fit and the material claims.

“Only if all four of these measurables do not prompt a clear choice then all the other factors come into consideration. In the last category currently are the corporate social responsibility – CSR – or eco aspects. In other words, everyone says that green factors are important in their choice system, but not more important than the appearance, the price – they will not pay more – the fit or the performance of the shoe.”

Change, however, is coming, he adds.

“Gen Z will be the biggest purchasing group by the end of this decade and this age group are distinctive by living in rented accommodation, not being concerned by debt –  as they are in so much already, and wanting their appearance to be reflective of their morals. The companies whose products  they choose to wear share their ethics and brands that do good as opposed to just speak it really count here.”

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