Fewer shoe types are helping makers identify and concentrate on important R&D agenda.
China suppliers of sports shoes are maintaining their emphasis on cross-trainers and one or two other types of footwear for specific activities. The strategy helps them improve the features of their chosen segments.
|These women’s jogging shoes from Putian Wingate have mesh and PU uppers. The price is $8 per pair.|
The majority of output still consists of models suitable for different types of indoor and aerobic exercises. Running, tennis and football are the popular categories for athletic designs.
The R&D focus for jogging styles is shock absorption. Makers utilize lightweight EVA and phylon for the midsoles to reduce impact on the knee. The former is foamed and molded in one step. Phylon requires two phases, but provides better cushioning and flexibility. The uppers are often in PU leather and have large mesh patches for improved ventilation. The outsoles generally combine phylon, rubber and TPU. The last two increases stability and minimizes slippage, respectively.
Tennis shoes are very similar in construction, with a few modifications. First, mesh portions on the upper are smaller and fewer. Moreover, the rubber part of the front outsole extends to the toe for a braking effect. This enhances the player’s agility.
Variants for football are generally considered upscale. They adopt genuine leather uppers such as kangaroo and full-grain cowhide. Product development emphasizes ball control and resistance to sliding and moisture. The tip of the upper is stitched so that the rough texture prevents the ball from falling. Cleats that grip the ground are molded with the sole or attached separately. The latter can be removed after a game.
To withstand water, the uppers are coated and a textile membrane is inserted into the lining.
Low-end models go for $6.80 to 8.60 and have action or PU leather uppers with mesh patches. Fabric or PU leather is employed for lining, while the insoles are made of EVA, PU leather or textile-covered soft rubber. The midsoles are in Texon, EVA or phylon. TPR, phylon and rubber are the outsole options. Products in this segment are breathable, rigid and nonslip.
Midrange designs reach $10.50. Similar components are adopted, except Texon midsoles. Pigskin is also an alternative for insoles. The footwear can be anti-bacterial.
High-end styles utilize more durable inputs such as genuine leather. Some boast gel insoles and water-resistant membranes in the inner layer.
Rising material and labor costs have pushed suppliers to raise prices by up to 10 percent since the Chinese New Year. As this trend is expected to continue, makers anticipate further adjustments in the next six months.
Note: This article "Narrow athletic footwear selection enhances quality" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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