Dan Egan and Eric Wilbur’s latest book Thirty Years in a White Haze tells Egan’s…
UK Sales Manager, Superfeet
Superfeet is a Premium insole company that was founded in 1977 with a mission to provide affordable orthotics & insoles to people around the world. Now they are an employee owned company with worldwide distribution.
Tell us about yourself……
My name is Toby Hill and I’m the UK manager of Superfeet. Before I joined Superfeet nearly 7 years ago, I spent 4 years working in an independent retailer. The most rewarding part of the job is working for a company that you know makes a positive impact to the people using the products while working with retailers to create a more personal fitting experience in store. The big (near) future project is working to bring 3D scanning technology and 3D printed insoles to the UK market, it is great to see a bright, personalised future for retailers and consumers alike.
Who are Superfeet?
Superfeet are a 100% employee-owned company with a big focus on ‘People First’. Founded in 1977 and built on an in depth understanding of biomechanics, podiatry, and engineering, Superfeet’s goal was to create an off the shelf solution that can change peoples lives at a much more affordable price. Our heritage lies in winter sports and was the foundation that built the business to where it is today.
What are the main benefits of using insoles/footbeds?
An insole can personalise the fit, the comfort, and the performance of anyone’s footwear. Superfeet work with the joints of the foot that dictate how the foot functions, this enhances the timing and efficiency of those joints. This in turn leads to less energy wasted, less movement of the foot reducing friction and a better transfer of power and edge control through the turn.
How are your products sold to consumers mostly?
Bricks and mortar retailers are the reason the brand has grown to where it is today and continues to be our primary focus. We know that a personalised fitting service is the best way to get our product under new customers feet and introduce them to the brand. This is why we have spent this year trying to promote specialist retail.
Can you use Superfeet in all types of footwear?
Yes! We know all our products can benefit all feet in all footwear. We have a variety of products for every type of footwear and try to offer the option of thicker/thinner, softer/firmer, more obvious/subtle under foot
Do professional Winter athletes use your products?
Yes, we have worked with the German National Telemark and Snowboard teams as well as supporting several up-and-coming athletes like Justin Taylor Tipton, Fynnlay and Cassius Loupis and Kirsty Muir
Would you say all top athletes use some kind of insole?
Yes, most will, the benefits of an insole apply to everyone regardless of ability.
Tell me more about your Ski Boot Fitting Training you do for retailers?
For a couple of years, we have worked with Colin Martin at Solutions 4 Feet to provide SuperFIT University to our retailers. The objective of the course is to allow retailers to develop their fitting process, better understand the benefit and fabrication of Superfeet Custom, learn new and enhance existing hands-on skills for fitting and personalising ski boots and strengthen relationships between retailers. It’s a small industry and being able to work together only makes us stronger
What are the benefits of custom insoles Vs out of the box?
Our off the shelf insoles are a great starting point to help customers understand the benefits of an insole in ski boots. However, our custom insoles provide the most personal fit to each individual. All our custom range are fabricated using our award winning fitPOD, this is a retail friendly adaptation of our medical Digitizer. By taking the foot off the ground we make the foot completely non weight bearing, this allows us to have complete control of the foot in it’s most natural position without the joints of the foot starting to open and adapt. We take the fundamental shape that makes Superfeet off the shelf insoles unique, heat it, vacuum it into the foot and allow it to set to the individual. The contours provide a closer fit to the underside of each foot, while personalising the fit around the heel to give the most natural fit and cushioning.
What makes Superfeet different to its competitors?
Every brand has their own USP on how they approach their products, and a choice of brands allows retailers to provide the best fitting option to cater for every customer. In the same way there isn’t one boot for everyone. Our understanding of biomechanics and podiatry are at the forefront of the development of our products and why they will benefit the customer. As a result, we do not create products focusing on arch height. There is no numerical value that determines arch height, it is subjective and based on experience while the role of the arch is to be able to flex and adapt. All our products help all arch heights because we focus on the joints at the rearfoot where the movement starts. By helping the timing of these joints, we naturally relieve the stress on the arch without having to restrict its movement.
How has Covid-19 impacted Superfeet & what have you changed if anything?
I think it’s fair to say everyone has been impacted by Covid-19. When the first lockdown was announced in March, winter effectively ended immediately for us, along with every other winter brand and retailer. This winter season hasn’t got going yet either. Fortunately for us we have products for the Outdoor and Run industries and have put a lot of focus into these sectors, with both having seen a lot success with more people getting outside and active from their own front door. Earlier in the year we worked on a collaboration with Nikwax and Falke to provide a bundle for independent retailers to offer to customers to help personalise and look after their kit. We have also increased our marketing activity with a big focus on independent retailers. We have shone a light on our independent retailers through our social media platforms and website by creating blog content highlighting what makes them unique. We will be continuing this into 2021 as well as creating other retailer-based content. It has also allowed us to change how we carry out training with more live video calls than ever before as well as creating UK specific training videos to allow us to be able as flexible as possible to each retailers’ requirements.
Superfeet is a member of the SIGB, what does the SIGB do for Superfeet & what more could it do for consumer interaction with Brands?
SIGB sits a portal for us to interact and grow the Superfeet business. It’s great that we can be involved with the ski test and slide and really aim to push the benefits of footbeds in ski and snowboard boots.
Lastly, where can people find out more about Superfeet?