Walking the right path

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Walking the right path

By Michael Johnsen - 04/20/2018
The treads may be wearing thin in the foot care category, where overall sales across U.S. multi-outlets are down by 10% or more, though there may yet be opportunity with those silver foxes making their daily mall walks. Insoles and shoe inserts have long had household penetration in the high teens among the coveted baby boomers demographic.

“Baby boomers and the aging of America help foot care in general,” Steve Head, Implus executive vice president of sales, said. “Foot issues come with age. But that being said, household penetration stubbornly stays in the high teens and that makes the category not have the growth we’d all like to see.”

To help differentiate the foot care set and drive the traffic against the category that will help sustain overall foot health, Head suggested merchandising within the planogram based on condition. He noted that condition-based merchandising has done well in the case of plantar fasciitis, which creates pain in the heel of the foot and affects roughly 2 million people every year, according to the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, most of them between the ages of 40 years and 60 years old.

“People have foot issues that move beyond just comfort,” Head said. “If you have plantar fasciitis, the shoes aren’t going to magically fix that; you really need to get either a plantar fasciitis orthotic or sleeve to address that issue. That’s one of the things that has been driving a lot of success.”

In the past year, Implus has brought a plantar fasciitis sleeve to the market that has worked very well, Head said. “That’s the easiest opportunity [to capitalize on]. It’s easy to understand and altogether different.”

There also may be an opportunity to market foot care products to weekend warriors in the mass channel.

“Weekend warriors are more inclined to get an insole that may help with their athletic endeavors in food, drug and mass outlet,” Head said. “[But], if they’re a more serious competitor, they tend to get that product in a sporting goods environment. That’s helping drive the premium insole piece of the business. Everyone’s trying to be more active. … And the more you’re on your feet the more they tend to hurt.”

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