Comfort Profile: Earth Shoes

The retro brand is making a comeback.

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At Tucker, Ga.-based Abbadabba’s, buyer Jennifer Smith said the store appreciates having options. “Earth doesn’t compete with other brands — it enhances the whole wellness section of our store,” she explained. “I can offer my customers many different options, and they can decide what’s right for them.”

Paul Foley, manager of Foothills Shoes in Yuma, Ariz., agreed that when it comes to wellness footwear, customers’ needs are as specific as a brand’s technology. While Earth tends to appeal to older snowbirds in the area due to its shoes’ enhanced support, MBT draws a younger crowd with its unstable approach to walking.

Although Earth’s health and fitness benefits may be the motivating factor in a consumer’s purchase, the brand offers a diverse mix of product to drive sales. “The collection is broad in terms of classifications,” said Aznavorian. It ranges from athletic looks to exercise sandals. The core of the collection — which retails from $50 for sandals to $220 for waterproof boots — is casuals that transition from career to weekend wear.

“We outfit the consumer’s entire closet,” Morin said. Only 20 percent of Earth’s business comes from men’s, but Aznavorian said expectations are that this figure could double in the fall with the addition of office-appropriate dress casuals to the men’s line.

In a further effort to broaden its customer base, Earth has expanded its footwear offering targeted to the LOHAS (lifestyles of health and sustainability) community, with both vegan and eco-friendly styles. “It’s a secondary [market], but an important one,” said Aznavorian about the vegan offering, which accounts for 25 percent of the collection. The company’s eco-friendly push includes the use of BioFoam cushioning, made of 70 percent recycled material, as well as glue-free, post-consumer recycled content for packaging.

As it looks to share its wellness message, Earth is using its Website to connect with consumers. The site, which receives as many as 6,000 hits a day, features everything from videos explaining the shoes’ technology to information about the brand’s clinical research.

In addition, it serves as a link to Earth’s panel of fitness advisers and directs consumers to YouTube, where they can watch a teaser to the brand’s “Weekday Workout” video, due out in September.

“We’re setting ourselves up for broad shoulders to grow on,” said Aznavorian. He said the brand could branch out into other categories, including apparel, beauty products and even bottled water. “We believe the brand can be a true lifestyle of health and wellness.”


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