Outlook 2010: Footwear
Despite the tough economy, manufacturers are fired up about their shoe offerings.
In footwear, trends have been pretty consistent: “Lightweight is the key component,” says Jerome Jackson, Prince’s global category manager for footwear. The challenge, he adds, is to reduce weight while still retaining features such as comfort, cushioning, breathability and durability.
Prince believes it has the answer with its new LightSpeed series. “Lower, lighter, faster — that’s the new direction for us in building a shoe that’s more responsive,” says Jackson. The LightSpeed shoes include the men’s Rebel and Renegade and women’s Poise and Grace and are a different look from previous Prince shoes. Not only are the cosmetics more toward a younger demographic, but the shoes are built lower to the ground, for stability and response. Other changes include a more snug fit in the heel for the Rebel and Poise.
Babolat’s update of the Propulse includes the Propulse Titanium and Propulse Lady Parma. The Propulse line is designed to aid players looking for ankle or foot support. Babolat’s Foot Belt technology, combined with TPU heel counters, provides for a secure fit, with straps that allow for adjusting the instep and support. The Propulse range also has high-tech, durable Michelin soles.
New from Head is the Speed Pro, for men and women, which includes all of Head’s performance footwear technologies, including the CXG Comfort Grid cushioning system, an interlocking coil structure encapsulated within a resilient polyurethane form. When the shoe contacts the ground, says Head, the coil fibers compress and absorb shock. As the foot reaches the end of its stride, the comfort grid rebounds, like a resilient spring.
Wilson’s Tour Collection includes updates of the Tour Vision, Tour Spin and Tour Strike for fall (delivery in June), adding a third cosmetic choice to these poplar models. The Tour Vision, for both men and women, includes a six-month guarantee on the Duralast Supreme outsole.