In a highly competitive US footwear retail environment
, a new market opportunity is discovered by a leading foot care brand. The challenge was to address a peculiar “creasing” problem of sneaker fans wishing to maintain the fashion, value and comfort of the popular “Airforce” sneakers.
Bestol was brought in by the brand to develop and engineer a product to meet the functional and commercial needs of the opportunity.
Since the product was targeting teenagers and young adults, it needed to be affordable, have a broad appeal, be straightforward and easy to use, and be functional yet comfortable for every season including the warmest summer months.
While the concept for the Force Fields was relatively simple, the first design challenge the team at Bestol encountered was how to accommodate the two seemingly counter requirements: Supporting structural strength and integrity, while maintaining comfort and breathability, all at a reasonable price point. The insert would need to be simple and intuitive in its application, and readily “stick and stay” at the roof of the toe box, from the inside.
Bestol’s design engineers decided that we would need to draw on material experience across the footwear and sport good’s space including a wide range of foams, fabrics and adhesives. We designed and tested numerous multi-density constructions including thermoplastics and dense urethane foams, some of which provided superior decreasing rigidity but at considerable cost and discomfort.
Finally, after months of iterations and testing in collaboration with our US Brand partner, our engineers arrived at a dual-density EVA foam construction that addressed the 3 key deliverables that could maximize market potential: 1. Sufficient Rigidity 2. Appreciable Comfort and 3. Low-moderate Cost.
A unique problem – oversized, creased-up sneakers – that had hitherto relied on bespoke, homemade solutions was given an elegant, reliable, affordable product solution.
Launched more than a decade ago, now millions of Fore Fields have been sold in the US and around the world.
The original design has indeed stood the test of time and competition. Having required few updates, the Force Field continues to lead the market as the superior shoe decreaser.