Within the variegated world of footwear, the children’s sector has a special place, which, while on the one hand follows trends common to that of adults, on the other hand lives by its own rules. So, what is the current situation in the children’s market and which shoe models are in greatest demand at the moment? We delved into this topic from the point of view of six companies dedicated to Kids products: Luck Company (China), Pablosky (Spain), K-Trend (China), Klin (Brazil), Orion Group (Italy) and Coriex (Italy).
THE CURRENT SITUATION IN THE CHILDREN’S FOOTWEAR MARKET
Assuming that the whole market has been suffering in recent years, referring to the shoe sector, perhaps the children’s market suffers less than the adult market. According to Pablosky, “the situation is quite good because children are constantly growing, so they often need new shoes. Also, in our experience, parents are more likely to pay attention to their children’s needs and look for the perfect match between clothes and shoes almost more for them than for themselves. For us, this means working in a healthy market”.
On the other hand, to obviate the need for different footwear for different occasions, “consumers are moving towards hybrid products, i.e. shoes that can be used in different situations, whether in the city or for outings” as Orion Group puts it.
There is a consensus among the operators interviewed that the situation in the industry is on the upswing compared to the past three years. Luck Company says: “With the reopening of China and the newfound possibility to travel and do business, we are more optimistic about a growing future for the market”. Agrees K-Trend who adds: “After three years we are finally back to exhibiting at Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, a fact that not only makes us happy but also shows how the situation is returning to normal. Or rather, to a new normality in which trade fairs like this represent an opportunity to maintain personal relationships and create further business opportunities”.
THE FOOTWEAR MODELS MOST IN DEMAND AT THE MOMENT
Keeping the focus on the coming winter season, the most popular models for boys and girls are boots and sneakers. In both cases these are mainly hybrid products that combine aesthetics and technical specificities. For little ones, this translates into anatomical and comfortable soles that take care of children’s posture from the very first steps, without forgetting aesthetically appealing inserts and colours. Such as the model presented by Pablosky (image 1), made entirely of leather, with a scratch-resistant material and a support in the heel area to facilitate walking. Or like the model by K-Trend (image 2): a very light shoe that is easy to wear, also thanks to its convenient strap closure. Similar features boast the Klin model (image 3), which focuses on wearing comfort and the child’s foot well-being.
For children aged ten to fifteen, footwear is required that can be used in the city, on the way to school, or in outdoor activities. The models presented by the Orion Group (image 4) are state-of-the-art footwear designed for sports as well as city use. They feature a thermal membrane that makes them suitable for low temperatures and snow, and a Vibram sole that allows for superior performance. But the aesthetic detail is not to be missed, as can also be seen in the women’s model by Luck Company (image 5), which features shiny inserts of sequins or glitter.
The situation is somewhat different for Coriex, which works with licensed brands and deals with cross product development, from footwear (image 6) to accessories. “We do not have one type of shoe that is more in demand than others. Our most important prerogative, in addition to making quality products in line with market trends, is to go in search of cartoon characters that are a reference for the little ones and to which they are most attached”.