Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Combining comfort with style

‘Technology is the backbone of Geox and we leverage on it to create comfort and fashionable shoes,’ says Geox Asia Pacific Limited senior vice president (sales & retail Asia) Mauro Malta.

‘Technology is the backbone of Geox and we leverage on it to create comfort and fashionable shoes,’ says Geox Asia Pacific Limited senior vice president (sales & retail Asia) Mauro Malta.

Geox offers ‘breathable’ on-the-go shoes that are comfortable and fashionable.

WOMEN can be extremely vain when it comes to footwear. Given a choice between uncomfortable pointed five-inch stiletto heels and comfort shoes that sacrifice style, most women would opt for towering shoes without batting an eyelid on the effects that high heels shoes have on the spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

A 2009 study conducted by Britain’s Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists found that nearly four in 10 women buy shoes knowing they do not fit, a poll of 2,000 revealed. The research discovered that 37% of test subjects would wear uncomfortable shoes as long as they were fashionable. Eighty per cent of the women in the survey said they suffered foot problems like corns or ingrown nails, with only four in 10 of the men and women surveyed sought help.

Given that fashion conscious women and men want contemporary and comfort shoes, Italian shoe brand Geox is pushing the envelope to produce stylish footwear that doesn’t comprise on comfort. Geox Asia Pacific Limited senior vice president (sales & retail Asia) Mauro Malta explained that Geox’s selling point lies in its ability to combine smart innovation and design to cater to customers who want top-performing footwear for daily engagements.

Mario Polegato, created Italian shoe brand Geox in 1995.
Mario Polegato, created Italian shoe brand Geox in 1995.

The company prides itself in Geox Techmotional where the emotion of technology is applied to make walking better.

“Technology is the backbone of Geox and we leverage on it to create comfort and fashionable shoes. We rely heavily on research and development to find a balance between style, comfort and technology to create breathable shoes,” said Malta during a press preview to introduce Geox’s 2014 spring summer collection in Hong Kong recently.

Geox (pronounced “gee-ox”) was created by Mario Polegato, who ironically comes from a family of wine makers.

In 1992, while in Reno, Nevada to promote the family wineries, Polegato went for a jog in a sweltering desert. Feeling uncomfortable due to the sweaty feet in his rubber-sole shoes, he took a penknife and bore a hole in the soles of his sneakers to release heat. Upon realising its benefits, Polegato went on to study the scientific phenomenon and discovered that perforated rubber soles with integrated membranes work wonders to expel sweat and enable feet to breathe.

In 1995, the Italian started up Geox, a name that comes from a combination of the Greek word “geo” (earth), and “x”, a letter-element symbolising technology. The Italian first created children’s breathable shoes and eventually added men’s and women’s footwear into its collection.

At Geox’s head office in Montebelluna, Italy, 15 engineers and researchers specialise in the nuts and bolts of creating comfortable and stylish shoes and apparel. Chemists and physicist are also roped in to conduct research on perspiration and human-generated heat-movement patterns, testing all materials used in their footwear and clothing. The company collaborates with research labs and universities to improve its formulation and “breathability” in shoes, Malta explained.

“Every year, 2% from Geox’s overall turnover is invested in research and development. Geox’s ground breaking technology behind the patented thermo-regulating properties and ultra flexibility provides freedom of movement without compromising on comfort.”

When asked if the comfort shoes could help foot problems such as Achilles tendon injuries, plantar fasciitis, hammertoe and bunions, Malta explained the shoes could help improve flexibility, resulting in better comfort.

Geox is pushing the envelope further to produce stylish footwear that doesn’t comprise on comfort.

“People tend to have foot problems when they purchase shoes that aren’t suited to their feet. If you are driven by style, regardless of the level of comfort, it is easy to make many mistakes. Look for shoes that fit well and provide good comfort. As both our feet are different, try both sides of your shoes to gauge the level of comfort on feet,” Malta advised.

In 2002, the brand branched out into apparel, creating a new patent for Geox Respira, a jacket that lets air through at the shoulders. There’s also BlueGeox Denim, a denim jeans collection designed using special technology to make it comfortable, durable, breathable and versatile. The brand has also diversified into accessories ranging from handbags, backpacks to travelling bags.

Today, the company owns over 60 patents and its products are available in over 1000 monobrand stores and 10,000 independent stores worldwide.

“We want to be perceived as a brand that is synonymous with comfort and style. Although we may not be able to incorporate our breathable technology for handbags and backpacks, we offer stylish accessories that complement our core business,” said Malta.

For its Spring/Summer 2014 collection, Geox has also released a capsule bag collection, Camotartan, by Milan-based South Korean designer Yong Bae Seok. As its name suggests, Camotartan fuses two of the fashion’s most celebrated iconic prints – camouflage and tartan. 

The new distinctive line targets design-driven consumers who thrive in a contemporary and global environment, whose lifestyles express strong fashion personalities. Pouches, bowling bags and totes are retro-inspired, interpreted with splotches of camouflage motifs juxtaposed on graphic patterns of plaid in vivid and muted contrasts as red/green and grey/beige. The range is available in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, and Tokyo.

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Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , FASHION , GEOX SS 2014


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