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Friday, October 02, 2009

Comfortable fashion

Seems the message is loud and clear when it comes to high heels versus comfortable shoes. Women want to wear them but they also want footwear that is both sleek and comfortable. Figures released from the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) confirm a drop in shoe sales from 2007 to 2008. In the US the average consumer bought 67 pieces of clothing and eight pairs of shoes in 2007; by 2008 that numbers dropped to 64. The new order is to attract customers with ‘comfortable’ fashion. Designers like Kenneth Cole have risen to this demand by releasing a new Silver 925 collection. Each shoe contains two layers of foam, flaxseed pillows in the arch and rubber soles for more flexibility. The range includes fashionable ankle booties, billed as ‘the most comfortable fashion shoes you’ll ever wear.’ They contain flaxseed pillows in the arches. Kenneth Cole is not alone with others likeTaryn Rose(shoe designer and orthopedic surgeon) offering suede pumps with built-in arch supports and cellular urethane (Poron) foam padding. Contoured foot beds are also a popular feature in many of the comfortable fashion ranges e.g. Tsubo Nabu pump. The new Cole Haan - Maria Sharapova’s collection of ballet flats, ankle-wrapped stilettos and strappy platform sandals, all have Nike Air technology. Stuart Weitzman’s has also acknowledged the need for comfort and include a padded foot bed in his Mocarena range . Added features include apps like special footbeds that prevent build up of odour causing bacteria. Historically the last time there was such an interest in foot comfort matched with fashion was in the 30s post the Great Depression when the arch support became an essential addition to shoes worn for work and leisure. The arch support proved to be more of a comforter than orthopaedic support but did spurn the foot orthoses industry.

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