Every shoe brand wants a potential customer to think their shoe is comfortable when they first try it on in a store or after an online purchase. After all, comfort is second only to style when it comes to influencing purchases. While cushioning, fit, and features like arch support are important for comfort, most brands ignore this shoe feature when designing for step in comfort:
Not what you expected to see? We were surprised when we first observed this pattern, too.
Turns of that our feet are very sensitive to temperature changes in various footwear. Specifically, we like shoes that do not heat up our feet as quickly as others. Here’s how we know:
One test protocol requires one shoe model on the Right leg and a different shoe model on the Left leg of a tester with various temperature gauges attached to their feet. They will then perform an activity (like walking, running, or a work simulation) for up to 30 minutes to analyze their foot temperature changes. A researcher will ask them “Which shoe is more comfortable?” every 30 minutes during this test. The result:
Testers will say the more comfortable shoe is the model with the lower foot temperature after wearing for 60-90 seconds.
More impressive finding is that when we ask testers if one side feels warmer they could not tell a difference!
What does this all mean and how do you use it to make better shoes?
Keeping feet cool in the first minute of wearing the shoe will improve a customer’s perception of comfort. Shoe brands need to be mindful of using materials and constructions of shoes that will keep feet cooler in this time frame (…and hopefully for longer periods, too!). Also, be aware of what socks are being used while trying on shoes in-store since socks play a huge role in retaining or venting heat.
Sounds cool? It is.
Learn more about temperature in shoes by reaching out to [email protected].