SGS Considers Different Ways to Define Comfort in Shoes

SGS, the world’s leading provider
of testing and certification services, offers a comprehensive range of testing
services to help manufacturers develop high quality and compliant footwear
products for markets all over the world.

An important aspect of footwear
is comfort but that does not just mean softness. SGS’s testing capabilities cover
all aspects of comfort, including:

  • Water resistance & penetration
  • Drying times
  • Cushioning/shock absorption
  • Compression/energy absorption
  • Resilience
  • Odor
  • Insulation
  • Sole skid resistance

SGS is taking this holistic approach to shoe
comfort testing at a time when more and more people are buying their shoes
online and are therefore unable to consider whether a shoe is ‘comfortable’
before they buy.

The average human walks around the Earth four
times in their life
(115,000 miles). The
shoes we wear are therefore important to us and, as a population, we are
willing to spend considerable sums on buying fashionable and comfortable shoes.
This is demonstrated by the fact the average consumer spends USD 277.09 on
shoes in the US, the world’s largest apparel market.

Shoes that are uncomfortable are
easy to define because they lead to bunions, blisters, athletes’ foot, corn,
fallen arches, heel pain, joint aches, and in-growing toenails. It is, however,
more difficult to define ‘comfortable’.

Whether a shoe is comfortable has
a lot to do with performance. For example, a shoe worn by Captain Scott on his
attempt to reach the South Pole might be considered heavy and uncomfortable in
normal life but in the conditions he expected to face, it might be considered
comfortable. In fact, his specially designed shoes incorporated the latest
technologies but still failed to perform correctly, leaving the explorers with severe

Softness is not the only factor
to consider when looking at comfort. Manufacturers also need to consider protection
and performance. Modern shoes not only protect our feet, they also augment our
own abilities, and they must fit the job they are required to perform. For
example, Usain Bolt’s custom-made shoes needed to be comfortable only in terms
of a short sprint, but a waitress or waiter’s shoes need to be comfortable for
a long period of time.

When a manufacturer develops a
new shoe, they need to consider a range of comfort concepts. If they fail to
develop comfortable shoes within the parameters of the user and the task they
are designed to perform, then they are uncomfortable and will be discarded. In
the days of social media and online reviews, this can potentially be very
damaging for a brand.

SGS Clothing
and Footwear Comfort

SGS has
developed a range of testing services to help manufacturers produce high
quality, compliant, and comfortable shoes for their target markets. Testing
solutions include water resistance & penetration, drying times,
cushioning/shock absorption, compression/energy absorption, resilience, odor,
insulation and sole skid resistance.
Learn more about SGS
Clothing and Footwear Comfort

For more information, please

Paul Bridge

Deputy VP CRS Softlines

Head of Footwear Services



LinkedIn: sgs-consumer-goods-&-retail

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading
inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized
as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000
employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around
the world.

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