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Athletic footwear: demand for speed is driving innovation
published in Issue 190, February 2018
Athletic footwear is first and foremost designed to help athletes to perform at their best, but it is being worn increasingly by consumers as part of day to day wear. Indeed, consumers enjoy the casual style of athletic footwear as well as the comfort it provides. The market for athletic footwear is fiercely competitive, and there is high pressure on providers of athletic footwear to release new and innovative products to the market in very short time frames. Also, there is a high level of consumer demand for customised products—as young consumers in particular seek unique products. Such pressures pose significant challenges as the footwear industry is heavily reliant on manufacturing facilities in Asia, as well as labour intensive manufacturing processes. These challenges have prompted several major companies to invest significantly in automated manufacturing and in research and development (R&D) operations, and these efforts have resulted in innovations such as knitted uppers which can be produced as a single piece as well as shoe components made using additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing. Furthermore, advances have been made in the development of new materials for the manufacture of footwear, including environmentally sustainable alternatives to leather, and fibres made from recycled waste materials. This report provides a wealth of information on the market for athletic footwear, innovations in athletic footwear, and developments in the manufacture of athletic footwear. The report also features information on: the key players in the athletic footwear industry; endorsements, sponsorship and celebrity collaboration; customisation; the anatomy of athletic footwear; specialist types of athletic footwear; key properties of athletic footwear; materials used in the manufacture of athletic footwear; innovations in materials for athletic footwear; and the outlook for the athletic footwear market.
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