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Custom shoe company jumps on athleisure trend

Custom shoe company, Shoes of Prey, is tapping into the athleisure fashion market, with a new range of fully customisable contemporary fashion sneakers.

The online retailer yesterday launched three base styles, which customers can completely customise with their preferred colour and material for each shoe element, including upper, lining, eyelets, lace tips, platform height and monogramming.

Two additional sneaker styles will be revealed in October.

Shoes of Prey co-founder and CEO Michael Fox said the company has been actively exploring the sneaker market for some time, as demand for fashionable sneakers continues to grow.

“Launching sneakers signals a new and exciting opportunity for our rapidly growing business, and it’s a category we’ve actively explored for quite some time,” he said.

“The customer demand for sneakers has been growing exponentially in recent years and it quickly became a category for us to shape. We believe that now, more than ever before, is the right time to bring customised fashion sneakers to women around the world, enabling them to experience the luxury of customising their sneakers at an affordable price.”

According to data from retail technology company, EDITED, the number of new women’s sneakers arriving on the market in the first half of 2017 was up 159 per cent compared to the first half of 2013.

It’s part of the overall growth of athleisure, which in 2016 outpaced growth of the apparel industry as a whole for the third year in a row (7 per cent, compared to 4 per cent), according to the latest data from Euromonitor.

Shoes of Prey isn’t the only Australian online retailer looking to tap into the athleisure fashion market. P.E Nation and Stylerunner similarly appeal to style-conscious consumers who are fans of the sporty aesthetic.

Millennials, Gen Z drive demand for unique styles

But within the athleisure market, Katie Smith, ‎senior fashion and retail analyst at EDITED, said there is greater demand for really unique, attention-grabbing styles, such as bold colours and platform soles.

“This is all just a part of the shift in all consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, who want product that really asserts who they are, and feels hyper-personal to them,” she said.

This shift plays to the strengths of mass customisation companies like Shoes of Prey, as Jodie Fox, co-founder and creative director, is quick to recognise, citing the company’s mission to offer personalised and fashionable style options that cater to every woman.

“Today, sneakers are well and truly integrated into everyday fashion, and we’re seeing women become more accustomed to balancing style and comfort,” she said.

“Our range of contemporary sneaker styles were developed with the confident, stylish and unique woman in mind. We developed sleek silhouettes with smooth and clean lines for a refined aesthetic that’s perfect for dressing up or down, maintaining comfort without compromising on style.”

As with Shoes of Prey’s other shoe styles, its customisable sneakers can be delivered in one to weeks.

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