6 Feb 2006
Trailwear(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 01,2006)
Kong Cheong Int'l Trading Ltd's slip-, oil- and acid-resistant hiking shoes are made of oil-tanned, "crazy horse" leather, cambrelle, PU and rubber
One company that has been quick to make the most of the trailwear trend is Kong Cheong Int'l Trading Ltd, which produces work, safety, police, security, student, nurse and administration shoes as well as military boots.
An appointed supplier of safety shoes to the Hong Kong government, Kong Cheong produces more than 200,000 pairs each month at a 30,000-square-foot factory in Fuzhou on the Chinese mainland that employs 2,000 workers. "We have built a strong reputation for our safety shoes that comply with the EN345-1 safety standard," claims marketing assistant Zoe Wong.
Kong Cheong's slip-, oil- and acid-resistant hiking shoes feature cambrelle linings, PU and rubber outsoles and are made of oil-tanned "crazy horse" leather that is similar to nubuck.
The 15-year-old firm, which has its own Rockstar and Roadsun brands, sources materials including water buffalo leather from Southeast Asia and Europe.
Aimed at the low- to medium-end of the European, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian markets, Kong Cheong's prices range from US$7-19 FOB Hong Kong per pair depending on the materials used.
"Minimum orders of 500 pairs per style per colour are delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation," Wong adds.
Another company that emphasises quality while focusing on comfort is Taizin Co Ltd, which produces trail, hiking, athletic and steel-toe shoes that bear the Raker and Arc brands.
Taizan's major markets are in North America and Europe but the 18-year-old company has also found a niche in South America - particularly Chile.
However, as manager Benjamin Chau observes, different markets may have different design demands but today's customers generally prefer hiking boots made of cow suede leather combined with mesh.
"We use a special mesh from Korea, which allows for better ventilation, as well as phylon soles for better grip and rubber toe caps for extra protection," he explains. "Quality assurance is key and we produce top-quality, well-inspected products."
Typical of Taizin's offerings are the trail sandal-slipper converter with toe protection and the steel-toe hiker, which is made of genuine leather and boasts an oil-resistant sole.
They are manufactured at the company's 10,000-square-metre factory in Xiamen in the mainland's Fujian Province, which is both ISO 9001- and SA8000-certified.
Taizin's 680 workers assemble 180,000 pairs of shoes a month, using mostly cow suede leather and full grain leather sourced from the mainland, Korea and Taiwan.
Minimum order size is 1,000 pairs per style, per colour, which are available at FOB Xiamen prices ranging from US$4-15 per pair depending on materials used. "Delivery is 30-60 days after order confirmation," Chan notes.
Also with a niche market in Chile is Wang Fat Trading Ltd. "Our main markets are in Australia, Canada and northern Europe," explains proprietor Cheng Shan Moon, "but we're also doing business with South America."
The 16-year-old company produces a range of sports shoes, casual shoes, trailwear and sandals at its 7,000-square-metre factory in Jinjiang City in Fujian Province.
Five hundred workers produce an average of 90,000 pairs of shoes each month, mostly made from leather suede, action leather or synthetic materials such as PVC or PU sourced from the mainland.
Wang Fat welcomes minimum orders of 2,400 pairs per style per size, which can consist of two colours, for delivery 60 days after order confirmation.
Prices depend on materials, with men's hiking shoes made of leather suede uppers costing US$5-6 FOB Hong Kong per pair and men's sports shoes made with PU and mesh uppers selling for US$4-5.
Jumbo Holdings Development Ltd produces an equally diverse range of leisure footwear, including hiking, sports and canvas shoes, that is exported mainly to the US and Europe.
The 19-year-old company manufactures some 150,000 pairs of shoes each month, about 30% of which are hiking shoes with sports and canvas models accounting for the balance.
An in-house design team creates Jumbo Holdings' trailwear - although the firm also manufactures clients' designs and accepts OEM orders.
They are manufactured by 2,000 workers, who man three production lines at Jumbo Holdings' 30,000-square-metre, ISO 9001-certified factory in Dongguan on the mainland.
"Our current best-selling designs are made of full grain nubuck leather uppers with phylon outsoles," says sales executive Ruby Chau, adding that Jumbo Holdings produces ranges to suit all budgets but always maintains strict quality control.
"We focus on making our hiking shoes waterproof but with good ventilation," Chau explains, adding that FOB Shenzhen prices for trailwear range from US$9-13 per pair for minimum orders of 2,000 pairs per colour per style delivered 45 days after order confirmation.
Showing yet again that Hong Kong's footwear industry is committed to staying one step ahead of the competition when it comes to tempting trailwear.
WRITTEN BY SUSANNE PADILHA
Kong Cheong Int'l Trading Ltd
Rms 12-14, 6/F
Trans Asia Centre
18 Kin Hong St
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Meitac Int'l Enterprise Co Ltd
Flat H, 11/F, Blk 2
Hong Kong Garden
100 Castle Peak Rd
Ching Loong Tau, New Territories
Road Mate Int'l Ltd
Rm 2920, 29/F
34 Tai Yau St
San Po Kong, Kowloon
Taizin Co Ltd
Rm 705, 7/F
250 King's Rd