It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the feet are the foundation of the entire body. Until very recently, the only solution available to people who required some form of walking assistance was custom orthotics which are often costly to make, uncomfortable to wear and may not fit in very well with different shoe or foot sizes. However, now the Orthopaedic Shoes Market has begun to design shoes with custom orthotics built-in which are also stylish and cost less than a single visit to the orthopaedic!
Shoes, especially for the fairer sex, are less of a commodity and more of an object of self-expression. They can be bold, casual, business-like, sporty, laid-back or even sexy! However, as a person ages, they tend to prioritise comfort over style. Shoes meant for an older clientele will often focus on padding, comfort, and how they will enable the person to be at ease throughout the day. Sometimes, a person can even be advised by doctors to wear special shoes to recover from an injury or to provide additional support. This is where the Orthopaedic Shoes Market comes into the picture. Orthopaedic surgery is the medical speciality that concentrates on any injuries of the musculoskeletal system i.e. bones, ligaments, muscles, joints, tendons, and nerves. Orthopaedic shoes are designed to help a patient recover from any major injury or surgery and enable them to be up and about in the shortest possible time.
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Orthopaedic Shoes Market Drivers & Restraints
An ageing population in developed countries can be safely assumed to be the biggest driver of the Orthopaedic Shoes Market. An older person tends to have weaker natural shock absorbers i.e. feet. They might also suffer from balance or nerve sensation related issues. Orthopaedic shoes are specially designed to adapt to their foot with each step taken, while simultaneously protecting their heels fat pad from any injury. An increasing focus on health and fitness should also benefit the Orthopaedic Shoes Market. Sportspersons tend to get injured more often than the rest of us and they would stand to gain immensely from orthopaedic shoes as opposed to casual/ sports shoes. Since the latter focus exclusively on design, it can lead to discomfort at best or injury at worst for highly active individuals.
Another trend observed in the Orthopaedic Shoes Market is the blurring of lines between fashion and function. While the shoes worn by runway models might appear very stylish, they are often very uncomfortable to wear on a daily basis. Orthopaedic shoes, on the other hand, provide the optimum comfort while being fairly unattractive to look at. Now, the lines are nowhere near as well defined since both kinds of shoes have begun to meet at the proverbial middle ground! The main driver for this is the millennial generation who have begun to focus more on comfort than fashion. There may even be a sense of individuality and utilitarianism which makes them opt for Orthopaedic Shoes as they are considered to be ‘go anywhere, anytime’ kind of shoes. They can simply be stashed into a backpack and taken for a hike, walk or a long holiday – the so-called athleisure trend, which involves them giving topmost priority to comfort and skewing rigid gender norms altogether.
A major restraint in the Orthopaedic Shoes market is the comparatively high cost. Making a truly comfortable shoe with extensive padding and support is still relatively expensive. Orthopaedic shoes are engineered differently and the specialist brands making them are often smaller than the global biggies, which is why their output isn’t enough to drive down the price. While the baby boomer generation is more likely to be able to afford pricier shoes, selling them to cash-strapped millennials can be a major challenge for Orthopaedic Shoe manufacturers.
Orthopaedic Shoes Market Players
Some of the Orthopaedic Shoes Market players are New Balance, Dr Comfort, Mephisto, Propet, Clark’s, Piedro, Sole, Rokab, Orthofeet, Vionic, Apex, DARCO, Drew Shoe, Duna and Chaneco.
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