Sneakers - Follow-up to last week's 'local manufacturers must make sneakers' article
In the January edition of S&V Footwear & Leather Goods last week, the lead article was that if the SA footwear manufacturing industry is to grow, it must start making sneakers. Here are submissions from 2 people who say it can.
Shannon Proctor, BLP Rubber & Plastic Supplies
Cato Ridge, KZN, SA – Barrier to entry for most footwear developments in respect of rubber components remains the tooling cost.
BLP Rubber has and will continue to take a partnership approach to all new business whereby we can amortize the cost of the tooling over 24 months or finance the tool entirely based off a supply agreement. This has been done extensively where the volumes allow and the footwear manufacturer has faith in the future of the project.
The issue remains that the footwear manufacturers are not able or willing to commit to projects. BLP invites any manufacturer to engage with us on this front.
BLP has an in-house design team and a full CNC-equipped toolroom capable of making a range of footwear tools.
We are able to design the tool, compound, process and characteristics of any product to meet and exceed specifications.
Jirka Vymětal, SAFLIA
Cape Town, W. Cape, SA – I was with Conshu and when it acquired Sportshoe form the late Ben Stoltzman. Sportshoe mainly produced sneakers with Adidas as the main customer. We're talking of thousands of pairs a day. Some of the styles I recall were the Adidas Seattle, TRX, TRX Special, Boston, etc. Today these shoes would be classified as 'vintage' or 'retro' sneakers. Later Sportshoe was merged with Jordan (now part of Bolton) where this production even increased to include other brands such as Asics, Nike, Pony, Saucony, etc.
We also produced the Police and Prisons PT tender shoes, which would fall into this category.
Over the years I would say millions of pairs were produced.
The skills and capacity is still out there.
My opinion is that sneakers, by their nature, are not highly technical footwear - as opposed to serious running shoes which fall into a different category.
Surely we can make them locally again.