U.K.-based footwear brand Strive is making a bigger push in the U.S. market, now that it has boots on the ground stateside.
In January, the comfort shoe brand opened its first U.S. headquarters, in Tampa, Fla. “We’re really taking a deep dive into the U.S. market now,” said brand manager Simone Mattei. “We’ve had sales managers here, and we have a factory and warehouse in Washington, but we see this as the official launch in the U.S.”
The company already operates across Europe, in Japan, India, Australia and Canada, and Mattei said it saw opportunity to grow further in the American market. But it needed a local team in “the same time zone” that could fully relate to the culture, he explained.
Over the past few months, Strive has been working to grow its roster of wholesale retailers. “We started with a lot of the mom-and-pop shops, and now we’re getting into some of the bigger accounts like Shoe Station. We also have Peltz Shoes [in Florida] and will be starting with Scheels this fall,” Mattei said, adding that the brand is also sold through QVC and HSN.
Strive, owned by LGB Medical in Stone, England, specializes in orthotic footwear featuring the company’s patented insoles with arch and heel support. The brand has received the seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
“Our slogan is ‘science without compromise,'” said Mattei. “Compared to some of our competitors, we don’t add more cushioning to our shoes just to make them feel a bit nicer — we do what’s actually good for you. We don’t lower our arch support just because compared to your regular shoes this feels a little bit different. We know what’s good for you and we stick to that.”
The brand is best known for its extensive sandal collection, which retails for $80 to $120. Mattei noted that Strive’s longtime best seller is the Capri sandal, which comes in nearly a dozen colors and materials and is priced at $110. Another new top performer is the Anguila, a multistrap wedge sandal priced at $120. The brand also offers slippers and closed-toe casual shoes and sneakers, and this fall will expand on its boot line by introducing tall knee-high silhouettes priced at around $160.
Mattei said Strive tends to cater to women looking for solutions to foot issues such as plantar fasciitis. And the Capri, he explained, has an asymmetrical toe-ring design that’s popular with customers because it covers bunions. “The technology is really what makes us unique; it’s who we are,” Mattei said. “Sure we look good, but that’s kind of the secondary benefit.”
To tell its story to U.S. customers, Strive is primarily marketing through social media channels, email and search ads. “We’re also doing some print and we might be dabbling in TV advertising,” said Mattei. “I’m still figuring that one out. That’s a little bit bigger than I had anticipated.”
The brand also has set up a referral program with podiatrists, where customers are directed to local retailers to purchase their doctor-recommended footwear.
Mattei said Strive tries to provide ample support to its retail partners. “Almost every month we have some sort of event going on to help with sell-through,” he said, “because we don’t want to just get the accounts — we want to make sure that they’re thriving.”