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HomeSTARTUPSInnovation in Open Footwear Technology, Mr. Gaurav Chopra, Co-Founder, Solethreads

Innovation in Open Footwear Technology, Mr. Gaurav Chopra, Co-Founder, Solethreads

India’s open footwear segment is estimated to be worth more than Rs 6,000 crore and growing at a CAGR of 15%+. The category of open footwear was considered a commodity till the recent past – one can now see a paradigm shift in this category from commodity, to fashion. Here’s sharing some insights on what are the factors that have led to innovation in the open footwear technology:

Then, and Now: In the past, flip flops have been associated with indoor, hot weather and beaches. However, a change in fashion trends has led to the adoption of flip flops for everyday use, both indoors and outdoors.

Trends: Flip Flop being a high involvement purchase for the consumer, especially the young consumer who is extremely conscious and aware of what he/she wants, it is becoming the footwear of choice for the millennial/Gen Z & they are willing to own, wear and flaunt it at multiple occasions.

Comfort: A lot of product trends have emerged not just on the design elements, but also on functionality and performance. Clearly, comfort is a dominant factor when it comes to choosing a premium Flip Flop as the consumer is wearing them for a significant amount of time.

Longevity: Another factor that offers a great product experience to consumers is the extreme durability and ruggedness of the footwear. That being said, like any fashion accessory, design & aesthetics plays a pivotal role in making your product aspirational.

The Making: To give an inherent superiority to your product, innovation begins at the core, for example 60% of the DNA of the footwear is dependent on the compounds which go in as raw material and the formulation in which they are processed. For instance, using a proprietary formula and processes to make special sheets that can thereafter be used to manufacture the product is a great approach. This formulation inherently makes every Flip Flop functionally far superior as it is more rugged, softer, bouncier and yet extremely light weight.

Design: Focus on Design is equally important and one should constantly be evolving and experimenting to stay ahead of the curve. Using latest technology design software and evolved design processeslike sketching, molding and final sampling has led to great advancement in this footwear tech industry.

Innovation: The way to call out your innovation is also very important so that it immediately connects with the consumer needs. The insights one gathers, guides the communication and the cataloguing approach of your core products. To sharpen the product communication, it is important to register the patents around your technology.

In conclusion, this market is driven by factors such as change in consumer preference towards trendy and comfortable footwear, rise in the number of purchases by young people, and the conversion of this category being driven by the purchase of open footwear as a lifestyle accessory. In 2021 the open footwear is going to evolve further and global players such as Reef, Teva, Sanuk, Olukai and even new age brands will continue to innovate and disrupt the category. 

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