PCIAW® Summit | Q&A with Lee Wilson

When the PCIAW® decided to hold the PCIAW® Summit, it was with the intention of providing the delegates of the event with the most informative, interesting and relevant presentations from industry experts across the globe.
We were therefore thrilled to announce that Lee Wilson, Last Fitting and Comfort Specialist, will be speaking at the Summit on ‘What’s in a shoe and how important it is to get it right… and left.’
Lee joined SATRA in 2003 and was primarily responsible for the testing of footwear upper materials to retail specifications and SATRA guidelines. In 2008, he started to specialise in lasts, fitting and comfort and eventually took charge of the fitting services that SATRA offers, including children’s footwear and associated discussion groups to help educate parents and children about the importance of foot health and footwear fit.
PCIAW® were extremely excited, therefore, to have Lee join the list of Summit Speakers to help inform the Summit attendees of the importance of proper-fitting footwear. We spoke with Lee to hear his answers to some of the most pressing questions from our members:

  • Can you give us a hint to what your presentation at the PCIAW® Summit will include?

It will focus on comfort and fit.  These two extremely important factors in shoe design are often overlooked, particularly in the safety footwear market.

  •  Why did you decide to work in footwear and what drew you to this industry?  

I wanted to get out of retail management at a major supermarket where I worked for a number of years and laboratory work was something that had always interested me.  When I saw the opportunity at SATRA I grabbed the chance and have not looked back!

  • Do you think there is enough awareness about the importance of performance and comfort of footwear?

Comfort, definitely not. Just because footwear passes a performance standard does not make it comfortable.

  • How is new technology affecting the design of footwear?

There is an increasing trend of using bio fabricated and sustainable alternative materials (e.g. recycled plastic or waste wood pulp) in the footwear industry at large.
PPE footwear has developed into far more than a means of protection. Progressive brands will not only want to conform to the latest legislation, but in many cases exceed it. They will also want their products to be durable, comfortable and possibly contain some element of fashion in order maximise their market. This will often mean pushing properties like water resistance far beyond the minimum legislative requirements. This has meant a growth in requests for advanced testing and subsequent development of advance whole footwear tests. Tests for determining breathability and comfort in different climatic conditions ensure brands can make and justify commercial claims backed with high-quality scientific evidence. SATRA continuously develops new test methods and machines in response to our customers’ needs who require test methods that are closer to real-world situations. For example, water in the real world will often contain sediments and sands that damage the footwear and components such as stitching. This has resulted in a new test method to replicate this situation and mimic the kind of returns the customers are experiencing in reality.
SATRA’s innovation and development department work with manufacturers of safety footwear to develop new tests to put new materials under rigorous testing conditions, some of which often end up as recognised test methods contained in specifications. We regularly work with our members to solve these problems and issues of new materials.

  • What do you hope delegates will take away with them from your presentation?

To take comfort in footwear seriously and look to improve their colleagues health and wellbeing to achieve maximum efficiency in the workplace.
Make sure you book your ticket to hear Lee’s presentation on the 18th June 2019 at the Montcalm Marble Arch, London by visiting our website here!
If you would like more information on the incredible work done by Lee and his colleagues at SATRA then please visit their website at https://www.satra.com/

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