A pair of insoles may not be the sexiest accessory around, but British entrepreneur Rachel Bowditch is turning it into a must-have in women’s wardrobes. Tired of having sore feet from a pair of too-high, pointy-toe pumps, she created Alice Bow, a line of fashionable insoles that have won over customers that include Kate Middleton.
On Saturday, the collection is making its exclusive U.S. retail debut at Bloomingdale’s Soho location in New York, timed for New York Fashion Week. The brand will be part of “Fashion Delight,” a pop-up shop created by Gen Art, a marketing agency known for its programs across digital, runway and live events.
The brand, which launched last year, is available to U.S. customers online. When Middleton picked up a pair, said Bowditch, “We went global overnight.” A former management consultant, Bowditch was tired of the unattractive insole options available on the market and decided to offer women a more attractive alternative — even if they were hidden in the shoe.
Bowditch came up with a duo of styles retailing at under $20 in order to make them accessible to most women. “I wanted to get people to wear them,” she said. The insoles are made in the company’s London studio out of colorful leathers from Italy and feature a slim layer of padding that allows them to comfortably fit inside a range of shoe styles.
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“The competition in insoles is big,” said Bowditch. “But I’m taking the product and making it more desirable. It’s like having good underwear that no one ever sees, but you know it’s there.”
Included in the offering is a version designed for high heels and another for today’s popular flats. In addition, consumers can order a set of five insoles in different colors for $169 that can be embossed with lettering or initials of their choice.