×

Premiere of the ‘Travel Shoe’

Fashion market trends have undoubtedly fluctuated and flowed toward comfort and practicality, particularly in footwear. And brands such as uin Footwear are fastening their focus on a niche segment – the travel shoe – that reflects the distinctive lifestyles, wants, and needs of consumers.

Originating in the ancient hilltop city of Toledo, Spain, the brand is led by shoe designer Fernando Acevedo, who was inspired to design a pair of travel shoes after observing his wife Ana struggle to find footwear suitable for travel from her sizable collection. As he began to think about designing a unique shoe made specifically for travel, Acevedo decided that art and a “strong Spanish style” would define the aesthetic.

“At present, the primary categories of shoes in the market are dress shoes and sports shoes, but as people’s lifestyles become increasingly diversified post-pandemic, various scenes and settings change when traveling through urban, seaside or fashionable environments, or even for daily wear,” he said – and uin Footwear’s travel shoe can be worn in multiple milieus.

Fashion and Function

Acevedo explained that moving through continuously shifting landscapes – the essence of travel itself – creates a need for a single, multi-hyphenate shoe. “In these different scenarios, these two types of footwear alone can no longer meet people’s different wearing and outfit matching needs. Besides, clothing is very diverse, which illustrates shoppers’ different styles, but the styles of shoes are generally monotonous.”

It’s why uin Footwear tries to address the “varied matching problems of people in different scenarios,” Acevedo said. And with all that in mind, Acevedo ultimately landed on a foot-shaped design, massage insoles, 100 percent natural cotton canvas materials, and ultra-light EVA soles, among other qualities, that collectively deliver a barefoot-like experience for the wearer.

“The canvas upper with colorful patterns tell different traveler’s stories. From the inside out, it gives people a chance to express their own style with artistic patterns, while enjoying the comfort and freedom brought by the bionic design. It indeed brings about a comfortable and happy journey for both body and mind,” Acevedo told FN. “It is a pair of shoes that make people want to set off on a journey.”

 

Its footwear philosophy is centered on three core ideas: Progressing from functional design to natural design; a shift from merely functional value to emotional value (“A pair of shoes that carry emotional expression and resonance bring hope, warmth, soothing and encouragement to travelers with interesting, loving, rich and touching patterns, especially during the pandemic,” Acevedo noted); and moving away from traditional Color Material Finish (CMF) design to artistic design. “We replaced traditional CMF design with rich patterns, and redefined design with aesthetic value, emotional significance and attitude expression contained in the patterns themselves,” he explained.

For example, Acevedo said he crafted the “Toledo Shoe” with a 3-D map of the cherished Spanish city in the sole’s design, integrating “a profound and beautiful history” into the shoe itself.

Footwear Market Moods

The brand said that during the pandemic period, it saw its sales increase ten-fold. “Under the influence of the epidemic, travel restrictions issued by various countries brought a wave of growth opportunities to online e-commerce businesses, and simultaneously, people had more time for deeper self-exploration, which has produced a higher pursuit for the emotional value of products,” Acevedo explained.

“Our brand creates the opportunity for people to wear beauty on their feet and showcase creative and artistic designs, so that every step people take can inspire the enthusiasm for life for themselves, their friends and family, bringing warmth and inspiration. That subsequently generates a strong emotional resonance with our customers.”

The company sees sales in more than 100 countries worldwide, and in the U.S. market, uin Footwear saw a fifteen-fold sales increase from 2019 to 2021. “We have nine product series that support different needs of specific groups of people, seasons and travel scenarios. Our Toledo style, as a super product, attracts users globally, especially the U.S. consumers that advocate natural and innovative design.”

As far as what consumers want now, uin Footwear says that the pandemic has only increased shoppers’ longing for travel. “The pandemic has restricted people’s freedom of travel, while their desire for it has become stronger. In 2021, uin Footwear launched a campaign, ‘Travel in My City,’ which received a warm and positive response from consumers. During the pandemic, we also launched a design of ‘Nurse Shoes’ to express our respect for the medical workers. This design remains one of our bestselling shoes to date.”

uin’s Toledo Van Gogh Wheatfield with Cypresses

Acevedo’s concept indeed aligns with the direction and current mood of the market. “The pandemic has further enhanced people’s health awareness and strengthened the relationship between human and nature. More people voluntarily go outside and get closer to nature,” he said – which means, naturally, an increase in travel.

The pandemic has also motivated people to seek spiritual comfort and encouragement, Acevedo said. “Under these circumstances, uin Footwear is inspiring people with its simple and natural design, and rich and creative artistic patterns, with our buoyant Smiley Collection; storytelling Destination Collection; humanistic IP Collaborative Collection; Pet Collection; and Blossom collection all receiving very positive market feedback.”

Footwear’s Third Eye

Shoppers seeking shoes that transcend traditional categories can peruse uin Footwear’s latest lineup for spring.

Ask uin Footwear about its debut of “travel shoes,” and the brand will emphatically explain the logic behind the launch. “Travel shoes are people’s ‘third pair of shoes,’ uin Footwear told FN. “Everyone needs three pairs of shoes in their life: The first is dress shoes; the second is sneakers; and the third is travel shoes.”

uin’s Toledo La Pedrera

The brand asserts that the “blue ocean of travel shoes has yet to be developed,” compared to other footwear segments that have already matured in the market.

Based on its own customer feedback, the brand said that “Our travel shoes are the ‘center-shoe’ in the crowd. In terms of outfit matching, shoes are an indispensable accessory.”

Its focus on art takes form in creating painted travel shoes with imaginative patterns “as a way of expressing fashion styles and personal emotions, making people become the focal point of their journeys. That is why we call them “center-shoes,” the brand told FN.

uin’s Toledo Cheer Up

To keep up pace in a chameleonic market, uin Footwear said that it plans to “Vigorously promote artist cooperation and cross-border co-branding to continuously improve brand value.” Part of its strategy is a partnership with the National Gallery, which launched this month and a continued effort to seek additional collaborations with artists around the world. Shoppers can peruse the latest from uin Footwear on its official website.

The brand aims to provide better service for its customers worldwide and establish a wider distribution network in the footwear industry to strengthen its global and local delivery capabilities, with a particular focus on the U.S. market.

“We hope to establish cooperative relationships with professional marketing companies to optimize brand expression and increase brand communication with U.S. consumers,” the brand explained. “By creating and sharing beautiful travel stories, uin Footwear brings pleasant experiences to travelers around the world and aspires to become a world-renowned travel brand that inspires passion and warmth in people’s lives.”

TOMS Sponsored By TOMS

Building Business to Improve Lives

TOMS discusses its approach to mental health awareness and female empowerment through impact initiatives in the footwear segment.
Learn More

Access exclusive content