Designer Sneakers with a Mission. Trace is a Brand for Dissimilar Feet

Editorial • 16/09/20

Designer Sneakers with a Mission. Trace is a Brand for Dissimilar Feet

When you look at the designer sneakers by Trace you won’t see anything out of ordinary. A trendy minimalistic unisex design that comes in three colours and a speckled sole is barely a novelty. However, in the era when the brand statements and missions are what makes them attractive to the new generation of buyers, Trace designer sneakers stand out with its mission.

The concept was first introduced in the Meester Koetsier Entrepreneur Award by Naomi Kamphorst and Carine Martinelly, where it has won the Dutch duo a copious amount of money. It was then used to launch the Trace brand in August. So, what exactly makes these sneakers different? They are sold individually as well as by a pair. The idea is aimed to cater to people with dissimilar feet, such as people with a prosthetic leg.

The idea of the concept was born amidst a study project Martinelli and Kamphorst carried out in their final year of Fashion Business School. In a study group of ten, they have learned there was a person with feet of two different sizes, a girl with a height difference and even a teacher with dissimilar feet. This discovery laid a foundation to Trace. While shoes offering a platform to fight heigh difference have been around for a while, there was no solution for those who simply had feet in different sizes other than exchanging shoes with others via online forums.

And thus the mission of the duo became to create a trendy design the can be ordered separately in different sizes, additionally promoting sustainable production. That was the birth of the Helsinki designer sneakers that are made with vegan leather, 70% organic cotton and 30% recycled cotton canvas and recycled rubber. To give their mission even more weight, for every sale the duo has planted a tree via OneTreePlanted.

Primarily produced in Portugal, the duo mover their supply chain to Spain instead, having experienced communication difficulties with the previous supplier. This time to avoid disappointment not only did they find a number of suitable candidates online but actually flew out to see for themselves what their best options were.

Even with the designer sneakers launched, Martinelli admitted they carry on searching for most sustainable materials that could be sourced from Spain. Some things proved to be a challenge, such as soles made from waste rubber. However, the duo has confirmed they were able to afford nearly everything they needed with the starting capital of 10,000 euros their concept won.

The shoes were originally planned to reach their customers in March, but the coronavirus pushed it back and thus making people wait. However, this did not make the response any worse; people would still react very positively to the brand and eighteen pairs were sold in just first two days. Curiously, all of them so far have been purchased in the same size, but Kamphorst explained that selling shoes in different sizes isn’t the main idea of the brand; rather than a feature, it offers to promote fashion inclusion.

As for now, Trace is selling designer sneakers online only and their Helsinki shoe is available in sizes 35 to 45, with a white, camel and dark blue coloured heel. In the future, the duo hopes to release more designs and eventually open a physical store.

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