Heeluxe’s Time Machine rapid durability test recently celebrated its 30 millionth step. To celebrate the occasion, here’s a list of the 5 most valuable things we have learned from testing the durability of 100’s of shoes.
- Upper Durability is as important as outsole/midsole durability.
In the last 5 years we’ve seen uppers made out of new knits and meshes in every style of shoe. While there is a lot to love about these materials, many of them stretch out during human use. This change in fit ruins the comfort of the shoe and erodes customer satisfaction. Luckily, the Time Machine simulates upper breakdown on these new materials so brands can fix a problem before the shoe goes to market.
- Eco-friendly foams aren’t sustainable if they aren’t durable.
The fastest growing request for the Time Machine is sustainable materials. Many brands are experimenting with new foams that have less negative impact on the environment, which is great (Heeluxe is based in the home of Earth Day, after all). However, we’ve seen many eco-friendly foams that have dramatically less durability than their standard EVA or PU foam. The end result is a shoe that wears out quicker and therefore is in the dumpster faster, which is not sustainable.
- Insole Durability makes a big difference in the long-term comfort of a shoe.
Insole quality has measurably improved since Heeluxe started testing them in 2010. There are now insole materials that show little to no breakdown after 150 miles of running on the Time Machine. Customers prefer these insoles because they are more cushioned and offer a consistent shoe fit. All categories of footwear need an insole that doesn’t compress with normal use.
- Wearable Tech must be durable!
When the Time Machine was built in 2014 we never imagined how much wearable technology would be embedded in footwear. One of the most commonly requested tests is for sensors, batteries, and other technologies built into shoes. A common test ensures the measuring tools will last as long as the customer will keep the shoe. We’ve also tested shoes to make sure wires won’t break, plastic housings won’t crack, and batteries won’t explode (note: we only did that once!). No matter what tech you’re using in shoes, be sure to test that it is durable!
- Customers care about durability…just don’t use it in marketing.
We’ve tested shoes that have no breakdown in materials after 1 year walk or 150 mile run test. This is great news for your customers and the environment—both appreciate a shoe that lasts longer than expectations. However, if a shoe is less durable than a customer expects they’re less likely to repurchase from that brand. The unfortunate truth is that we’ve never seen a successful sales or marketing strategy based on durability performance. Consumers trust that the shoe will meet their expectations for durability, they don’t want you to tell them that.
The Time Machine was the first “big” piece of equipment Heeluxe built to replicate human movement. Thank you to all of the brands that inspired us to build this magnificent machine and to the many more that have utilized it to make better shoes. If you’d like to learn more about durability testing please contact [email protected].