A Certain Lack of Focus

Monday, February 04, 2008

Shooting themselves in the shoe

shoesI noticed something interesting the other day when Matt was shopping for new dress shoes. Many men's dress shoes these days have gel pack insoles to make some part of the shoe, in this case the heel, softer than the rest. This isn't really surprising or even that new. What was interesting is that in most cases these insoles were intentionally left visible.

This seems to be a trend with shoes in general, though less so with dress shoes. New advances are made in shoe comfort and the shoe designers decide to make it extra visible to advertise that the wearer is sporting the very latest in shoe technology. Or something. This is not normally possible with dress shoes, but since this alteration is on the inside, the manufacturers can make it obvious to the buyer at least, that they've used the utmost of shoe technology to ensure their comfort.

There's one problem with this, which Matt found much to his sorrow. For someone with a sensitive foot, the edge of the gel pack is noticeable, and has the possibility of growing uncomfortable if not painful. shoesMatt had some problems with one of his feet a while ago and, though he liked two of the shoes he tried on, decided not to buy them because of the visible insole. The silly thing is, that edge would probably not be a problem if the manufacturers chose to cover it with even a thin layer of fabric. If that wasn't enough to do it, I'm sure the padding required would be minimal. Then the wearer could get the benafit of the technology without the inconvenience of that plastic edge. I can almost hear the designers saying: "but then how will the customer know that this shoe has the very latest shoe technology, which is of course very important?!" I wonder if anyone's done some kind of survey to see how many people are more likely to buy a shoe because of the visible element (and I'm sure that actually does have a positive affect on sales) verses the number of people who will not buy them due to feeling the visible element. Any thoughts?


Marsha said...

jelled filled shoes are a problem at airports because they look as if organic material is hidden within the shoe. Sometimes this is an indication of a possible explosive device. Manufacturers have started making it easier for security to know when a shoe is jell filled.

Meagan said...

Interesting... thanks for the input. I feel far less smug now. :)