Comfort Buzz: Springboost, Helle Comfort, Piro Shoes

Work It Out
Waltham, Mass.-based Springboost is intensifying its customers’ workouts with a series of insoles for the Speed Train athletic shoe. The Modular System includes three insoles — basic, active and intense — that create three levels of resistance in the men’s and women’s sneaker. The system is based on the brand’s proprietary Dorsiflexion technology, which positions the heel lower than the ball of the foot, working to tone and strengthen muscles, reduce joint pressure and improve posture. Set to retail for $140, the shoes will hit stores in March.

Comfortable as Helle
To branch out from the core comfort market, Helle Comfort is introducing a collection of trend-driven dress shoes aimed at retailers in the fashion arena. “The idea had been floating around, but was sparked [now] by the economy,” said Martina Helle, president of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based brand. The result is Martina & Peter H., named after Helle and her husband, Peter. While the collection puts the focus on styling, it incorporates comfort elements such as padded footbeds, arch supports and flexible bottoms. In addition to high-end stores, Helle said she expects the shoes also will appeal to her existing clientele of fashion-comfort retailers. Set for December delivery, the line retails from $200 to $250 and will offer an in-stock program.

Basic Instincts
Clarks of Newton Upper Falls, Mass., is keeping things naturally light this spring with the launch of Elements, a collection of women’s styles featuring cork-wrapped wedges. The retro-inspired sandals and clogs, detailed in an earthy color palette, maximize the comfort story with cushioned footbeds. Slated to hit stores in December, the shoes will retail at $90 for sandals and $100 for the clogs. Distribution is targeted at independents, select department stores and Clarks retail stores.

Light Waves
This spring, Fishers, Ind.-based Piro Shoes will debut a line of unisex footwear that weighs just 6 ounces a pair. The shoes come packed with features including a patented non-marking slip-resistant EVA outsole with vents for the maximum displacement of heat and moisture, as well as channels designed to move away ground water. The closed style features leather-and-mesh uppers and Agion-covered antimicrobial removable EVA insoles. The shoes are machine washable and quick drying. Available in a boat shoe and flip-flop, the collection retails for $40 and will be targeted to independents, uniform shops and sporting goods stores. The line will hit stores in February, with an in-stock program available.

Sport Style
Batavia, N.Y.-based P.W. Minor is introducing for spring the Support and Motion Control series — its first offering of performance athletic shoes for men and women. For enhanced support through the mid-foot, the Support collection (below) features a dual-density EVA midsole and compression-molded TPU mid-foot shank. The Motion Control line, designed on a full-fitting last, is built on a dual-density EVA midsole with a rear foot stabilizer for torsional stability. Inside, the shoes feature Ortholite footbeds and Dri-Lex Eco linings made with recycled and renewable materials. All shoes have breathable mesh uppers and low-profile outsoles. Available in a variety of sizes and widths, the $130-to-$140 collection will deliver for February.

Car & Driver
South Korean brand Tenevis, which borrows technology features from automobile design, is launching its men’s and women’s collections in the U.S. The shoes, designed to promote better walking posture by moving the wearer’s weight backward, are built around two interchangeable chips in the shoes’ heels. A Planter Support Chip in the heel reduces movement of the foot to promote better balance, while a Balance Chip absorbs heel shock and releases tension to protect the knee, ankle and joints. The chips can be changed to four different densities for a personalized experience. The Balance Bone, acting as an accelerating lever, provides a gentle push and prevents any swaying action on the foot. Headquartered in Seoul with a U.S. branch in Santa Clara, Calif., Tenevis America Inc. offers a range of athletic styles for women, and athletic, dress and casual styles for men. The line, available for immediate delivery, retails from $200 to $250. Replaceable Balance Chips are $20, and Balance Bones are $30.

Going Green

Eco-minded comfort consumers have a new resource for spring ’10. Spanish brand Snipe, recently acquired by Germany-based Gabor Footwear GmbH and distributed in North America by Kanner Corp., hits stores in February. First launched in the early 1980s, Snipe maintains a commitment to both comfort and the environment by using soft, chrome-free tanned leather, nickel-free metal details, antibacterial cushioned footbeds that are removable and recyclable. The collection is available in a mix of women’s, men’s and unisex styles, including sandals and boat shoes, for $155 to $200.

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