Jinjiang Zhongzhi Textile Co., Ltd.

New Consumer Expectations of Performance and Comfort Hit the Textile Level

Apr 17, 2021

Welcome to latest monthly column, which will look at the newest developments in textiles and their applications for the footwear industry. So much focus is placed on the design and style of a shoe, but the raw materials can be equally important in achieving the right end result. This column will explore the changing role that these materials play in footwear production.

During a year spent predominantly at home, people have been free to wear the shoes that feel best – if any at all. Unsurprisingly, slippers and comfort styles saw impressive sales throughout 2020. But consumers also participated in outdoor activities at greater rates, with sneaker sales booming. For many shoppers, purchasing multiple styles might not have been in budget. Instead, they wanted product that could fulfil both needs: high quality performance but a comfortable fit.

Now, as regular activities begin to resume and consumers start to explore classic styles again, they are bringing that reevaluated comfort expectation to the larger marketplace. From a material perspective, this can be quite a challenge. Traditionally, the comfort and performance categories have functioned separately, but this overlap requires looking at design in a new way.

“We increasingly see the request for ‘more comfort’ without compromising performance,” said Richard Leckenwalter, global business leader for GORE Consumer Footwear, Gloves & Accessories. “Knitted uppers is an example of where there was an adjustment phase. Everyone likes the flexibility, the lightness, the great fit that is available through stretch materials, and it took a while to adjust performance to this kind of footwear without compromising the advantage of these materials.”

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