6 Feb 2008
Dazzling Designs(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 01,2008)
|Mega Perfect Development Ltd designs its popular line of skateboard shoes with professional skaters in mind|
Price is less of a concern than quality and versatility when it comes to the latest sports shoes, where design is king
Competition is fierce when it comes to sports shoes, which are increasingly to be found in all walks of life from corporate boardrooms to more traditional settings such as tennis courts.
Major international players have successfully diversified their sports shoe lines, encouraging Hong Kong OEMs and own-brand producers to follow suit.
Mega Perfect Development Ltd provides a perfect example of this versatility, specialising in models that utilise PU, action and full-grain leather to fit everywhere from the fairway to the deck of a skateboard.
Mega Perfect's Sales Director Alex Tsoi says the company's skateboard shoes range includes radical black-on-white designs with panels (76080) and flat soles with stacks of grip - perfect for skaters or those who just want to look cool.
"This range is designed with professional skaters in mind and we're marketing worldwide, mainly in Europe and the US," Mr Tsoi explains, adding that the shoes are unit-priced at around US$8 FOB Hong Kong per pair. "The US is a particularly big market."
The skater models are designed in China, where they have also proved popular, and the company's designers are constantly looking to update the line with new and exciting designs and patterns.
Mega Perfect's line of golf shoes, meanwhile, finds ready buyers in the US and Japan. "We're proud of our in-house designs and the quality of our products," Mr Tsoi adds.
Niche concepts are becoming increasingly popular, as Juniper Industrial (Rising) Ltd has found with its line of football trainers made of PU with TPR or rubber phylon with TPU.
Manager Ken Fok says Juniper's anti-cold football shoes made of PU with TPU nail soles (3324B) have a "flashy" appearance coupled with materials chosen specifically to handle cold, wet conditions.
Sister PU model (3336Q) has a phylon and rubber flat sole, making it perfect as indoor/outdoor casual streetwear - especially when it comes at unit prices of about US$6 FOB Hong Kong per pair.
Mr Fok says this kind of shoe does "very well" in European markets, as it is more suited to the cold weather. "We have developed the line over about five years," he avers.
Juniper has focused on football and refining its models. "Clients have asked us to produce baseball or basketball shoes, but the functionality is different and we find it is best to concentrate on what we do best," Mr Fok insists.
This year Juniper is focusing on football and outdoor sports shoes for men and women. "Our designs and materials are always of high quality and that is why our styles sell," Mr Fok claims. "Other products may sell cheaply, but these days the consumer focus is all about quality."
Taking a slightly different approach is Winco Footwear Ltd, whose X01 series of men's and women's sports shoes put an emphasis on comfort and durability, according to Merchandising Manager Kenneth Wong.
The sport 1 (X01-851B), athletic 1 (X01-788B) and athletic 2 (X01-791B) models feature sleek designs and smart appearances that make them perfect companions in the gym or street.
"The rubber sole is soft and provides good comfort for walking or as a sweat shoe for jogging," Mr Wong believes. "The design is perfect for the European market and suitable for neat casual wear, with prices starting at about US$5.80 FOB China per pair."
This season Winco has a new line of outdoor sports-oriented shoes and boots that are waterproof and therefore perfect for use in snowy conditions, or in more extreme outdoor sports such as rock climbing and other heavy outdoor activities. "There are heavy and light models suitable for use in the street or on the mountain, both low- and high-cut," he adds.
Mr Wong says a lot of research goes into all Winco's sports shoes, which are designed in-house. "We try to produce a wide variety and use top-quality materials, from PU to suede leather in the upper and soft strong rubber for the sole, to ensure maximum comfort and quality of appearance."
Hing Hua Industries (FE) Co Ltd has also built a successful reputation on its PU/mesh EVA phylon model HT-07170, a pair of durable, comfortable and smart trainers with mesh and PU lining combined with athletic soles that are in high demand in Europe and the US.
Sales Manager Jacky Ng says orders are still being taken on demand for the old line, but this year a new line with new synthetic materials superior to PU will be completed. "We are looking to open new markets and recently paid a visit to Dubai," Mr Ng reveals. "We also have our eye on the Italian market."
Hing Hua already markets to Europe, the US, South America and South Africa. "Markets are important because internationally it's getting more competitive," Mr Ng observes. "Other countries are gaining a cost advantage, so it's important for us to find new markets and look at providing the quality edge to new clients."
Quality has always been of paramount importance for Hong Kong manufacturers, who pride themselves on producing sports with the dazzling designs that prove irresistible to consumers worldwide.
TEXT BY JOHN CHURCH
Hing Hua Industries (FE) Co Ltd
Year Established: 2000
Year Established: 1987
Year Established: 1992
Mega Perfect Development Ltd
Year Established: 1995
Year Established: 1990