A pair of custom shoes seems like an indulgence or luxury, however medical conditions such as diabetes, club feet or amputations can often make it necessary. The rising prevalence of various conditions affecting foot and overall health has been driving orthopedic insoles sales. According to a report by Future Market Insights (FMI), the orthopedic insoles market is expected to surpass US$ 4.9 Bn by 2021.
Orthopedic Insole Market
Doctors have realized that a lot of physical problems can be rectified by modifying shoes. Back pain, bad posture, and flat feet, among other things, can all be fixed through the feet. The National Institutes of Health lists several foot issues for which custom-made orthopedic shoes are prescribed.
Custom foot orthotics are specially made to fit the wearer’s prescription specifications, considering the specific medical condition, the assessment of limb length and the measurements of legs and feet. This makes them more effective and efficient compared to mass-produced prefabricated foot orthotics which can be easily purchased from malls or drugstores.
Custom orthotics encourage natural, preferred motion so that there is no strain on the feet. In instances where customers require unique footwear for medical reasons, not all style requirements can be met. However, a skilled shoe craftsman can work with customers to design a fashionable as well as functional style.
Sustainability Concerns Impacting Orthopedic Insoles Sales
Sustainability is the new hot topic in the footwear industry, after decades of fast fashion and superfluous production chains. Along with customization, eco-friendly materials and ethical production are the other emerging trends. With brands constantly launching new products, collections & designs, sustainability is one among many deciding factors for brand value.
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Sustainable orthopedic insoles have been promoted by the release of several eco-friendly designs produced from recycled post-production foam. For instance, with its first insole back in 1997, OrthoLite introduced eco-friendly products engineered with game-changing technology that repurposed rubber waste. At Superfeet, sustainability has been incorporated into its latest product offering, the Me3D series. Me3D offers fully customized insoles produced from a 3-D scan that is then 3-D-printed to exact measurement (minimizing waste) as part of a collaboration with HP Fitstation.
Orthopedic insoles purchase pattern is dependent on the material, sustainability quotient and purpose. Functional orthopedic insoles are very effective in alleviating symptoms and establishing proper alignment. According to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, soft materials such as Neoprene, various open- and closed-cell foams or similar cushioning materials may be used in conjunction with functional foot orthoses to provide both support and comfort. Developing products with innovative and new designs and styles is one of the most common trends observed in the industry.
This change in consumer buying preference has encouraged the players in the market to stimulate innovation and expand the portfolio, tapping the unexposed segments of the industry and as a result escalating the demand over the forecast period.
In terms of insole type, prefabricated orthopedic insoles dominate the market. Prefabricated insoles are preferred for use by patients with diabetes and neuropathy. The forecast trend, however, reflects a promising growth scenario for custom orthopedic insoles.
Key Takeaways from the Orthopedic Insoles Market Study
- In terms of value, orthopedic insoles sales will significantly rise, exhibiting 10.4% CAGR between 2021 and 2031
- Higher prevalence of obesity in the U.S. will enable it account for nearly 85% of sales in North America
- Demand in U.K. is expected to rise considerably, facilitating y-o-y growth at a little above 6% in 2021
- Both Germany and France are expected to offer highly lucrative opportunities for growth
- Increasing focus on health and wellness will drive orthopedic insoles sales in Japan and South Korea
“Efficiency of 3D scanning and accuracy of the results with added advantages of time and cost reduction are expected to boost the demand for customized 3D printed insoles” says an FMI analyst.
Impact of COVID-19 & 2020 Market Analysis
During the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and because of the lockdown, orthopedic companies were unable to operate across the world which in turn impacted Orthopedic insoles demand severely. Moreover, there have been travel restrictions which possibly inflicted an adverse impact on the companies’ results of operations. However, since the resume of market, orthopedic insoles manufacturers started offering their customers various offers on prefabricated Orthopedic insoles to compensate for the already occurred losses. Above all, various strict guidelines have been imposed by the government to be followed by the Orthopedic insoles companies as a mandate in this pandemic situation.
Who is winning?
A few key players operating in the orthopedic insoles market are Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, Otto Bock SE & Co. KGaA, Bauerfeind aG, Mile High Orthotics Lab, Inc., Stable Step, LLC, Cascade Dafo, Inc., Birkenstock Digital GmbH, Steeper, Inc., A.Algeo Limited, Peacocks Medical Group, Aetrex Worldwide, Inc., Superfeet Worldwide, Inc., Digitsole, and Allied OSI Labs, among others.
The players are aggressively investing in product development with an aim to gain a competitive advantage. Besides this there is considerable focus on recent technologies. For instance, Covestro shared in 2019 that it has been focusing on the development of 3D printed insoles made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Such developments are expected to bode well for the market.