How Customer Feedback Really Impacts Shoe Design

Connecting with consumers is more important than ever for companies when it comes to developing new products. Many brands are taking advantage of online customer reviews for input. Comfort brands, in particular, want to know what features consumers liked about their footwear as well as what improvements can be made.

Here, five comfort brands weigh on on the importance of customer feedback in designing their footwear collections.

Sally Murphy Senior director, women’s design, Rockport

“In spring ’14, we [introduced] a T-strap shoe with a heel zipper as a fashionable detail that was a great success. We repeatedly heard how convenient it was for women to zip in and out and not have to always adjust the buckle. Now we’re always aware of creating an easy entry and have incorporated heel zippers into a lot of our caged spring ’17 sandals and fall ’17 boots.”

rockport boots
Rockport fall ’17 women’s boot with back zipper.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

Sal Agati EVP of design & global sourcing, Dansko

“Dansko is not about a marshmallow-like [feeling underfoot]. But we’ve heard that on the selling fl oor, people want to [instantly] feel something di erent. So in spring ’16, we [began updating] our footbeds with our soft landing feature — a top layer of memory foam. You can feel the 4 millimeters of foam compress as it reaches the supportive foam underneath. We’re now adding these footbeds to more closed-toe product for fall ’17.”

dansko koralie
Dansko’s fall 2017 women’s Loralie Mary Jane.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

Katie Moore Senior designer, Dr. Scholl’s Shoes

“Be Wandered — the most recent innovation in our spring ’17 Be Series featuring our proprietary Be Energized insole comfort system — was directly inspired by consumers who asked for footwear that can move with them throughout the day. The sporty casual shoes include water-repellent properties and a sawtooth tread for [enhanced] traction. They also feature our proprietary refl ective accents that make them perfect for everyday adventures.”

dr scholls sneakers
Dr. Scholl’s fall 2017 women’s Be Wandered slip-on sneaker.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

Shubhankar Ray Global brand director, FitFlop

“It’s important for our design team and biomechanics scientists to listen to both positive and negative feedback. For instance, after receiving customer feedback about our [o ce-appropriate] skate slip-ons and sneakers, we retooled the toe shape for fall ’17 in order to streamline the silhouette. Women wanted a more modern, chic look.”

fit flop shoes
FitFlop fall 2017 women’s Skate slip-on.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

Becky Pollina Head of design, SAS

“I get feedback from our [sales] team as well as Zappos.com, where you hear the real truth. Athletic and athletic-inspired shoes are getting lighter each year. Recently, we improved on our men’s Journey sneaker that’s been in the line for years, making the forepart more fl exible and the outsole lighter. For fall ’17, we kept the classic design for loyal customers in our new Venture style, but also incorporated [these updated] features that customers look for.”

venture SAS sneaker
SAS men’s fall 2017 Venture sneaker.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.
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