Research shows that “Subjective comfort data is there not a reliable measurement.” What should a brand do to measure comfort? Heeluxe has spent years determining what makes shoes comfortable and developing new measuring tools to quantify comfort. Here’s our tips for improving comfort measurements at your brand:
The “Big 4 for comfort” are Fit, Contour, Movement, Cushion. 10 years ago there were no technologies to measure the Big 4. Luckily, advancements in wearable technology allow the team at Heeluxe to measure the Big 4 quickly and accurately. If you are not reinforcing your subjective feedback with sensor data you’re going to misinterpret what your wear testers or customers are telling you—wasting time, wasting money, and potentially selling uncomfortable shoes. Let’s use an example, based on a true story:
-Shoe Brand ‘Hank’* recently completed their fit and wear testing of their newest ballet flat. 3 of their 4 testers said the shoe had bad cushioning in the ball of the foot despite “Hank” using a new premium foam. The brand spent 2 months making and testing new samples but no improvements. Luckily, ‘Hank’ reached out to Heeluxe for sensor testing of the ‘Big 4’. We measured the cushioning of the new ballet flat and it is fine—it’s actually much better than most shoes in our database. However, the fit of the shoe was much too tight over the big toe and medial forefoot. The brand made a quick change to the last, which made the fit better and wear testers LOVED the cushioning and comfort(…but didn’t even mention the fit difference).
Here’s the truth: subjective feedback is GOOD at identifying that a problem exists but TERRIBLE at narrowing down what the problem is. Sensors are GOOD at both identifying problems and locating what the problem is.
SENSORS = THE KEY TO COMFORT
Guess what: subjective feedback from online customers isn’t going to help you either. While it’s great to find trends in customer feedback, it cannot effectively identify a problem and propose solutions.
Beyond sensors, there are other important features in measuring shoe comfort. Identifying your target customer is critical. We’d all love for people of all ages, weights, genders, and nationalities to buy each shoe style—but that’s not what happens in the real world. Narrowing down your target market, then measuring comfort in 8 or more individuals that fit your specific target market, will provide you with the best data.
Comparing your shoe’s comfort to competitors is also valuable. A new style may be rated by your tester as the most comfortable in your line, but if it does not out-perform your competitor’s new styles you’ll never win in the marketplace. At Heeluxe we recommend a direct comparison to competitors that are top selling, have performed well in past testing, and have similar price points.
Want to learn more about measuring shoe comfort with sensors? Email Heeluxe and we’ll get right back to you.
* Of course the shoe company wasn’t named Hank. You know we don’t share companies data! But Hank Mardukas is very excited to make his Better Shoes Blog debut.