In Conversation with Kickers’ Carol Hopkins

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One of the biggest and most respected footwear brands for both adults and children, Kickers has become a byword for quality and reliability. With both us and Kickers in the middle of a back to school frenzy, fashion and social media editor Ellie Craig took a rare five minutes out to chat to the label’s designer Carol Hopkins.

Back to School is a huge deal for Kickers, how do you make it feel fresh and innovative each year?
We always work as a team to research and share new ideas each season. We always want to move things on and offer our customers something new and exciting each year. Going back to school isn’t always the most fun but at least your shoes can be.

Kickers has long been associated with schools and students. What is it about the brand that makes it so popular?
Kickers’ roots have always been in cool and interesting subcultures and our iconic styles are adopted by the trendsetters of each generation. I think the red and green tabs offer a small form of rebellion in the monochrome world of school shoes. If you choose Kickers it’s a statement against boring school shoes.

How have you tweaked your designs over the years to cater for children’s needs?
We’re always evolving our designs through constant customer feedback through our website, social media channels and focus groups. We’re always keen to find out what our customers love and would like to change. We’ve spent a lot of time looking at how to improve the closures we use to make them age appropriate and user friendly. Comfort and fit are always a focus, if you wear our shoes every day we want to make sure they feel as great as they possibly can on.

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What is your starting point when designing a pair of school shoes?
We usually start looking into the trends for the next year, looking at what people are wearing on the street and finding out what our customer loved or thought could be improved in our current range. We travel for inspiration and attend trade shows to find out what the latest innovations in footwear are and think about how we can incorporate new technologies into our ranges.

Kickers has an instantly recognisable design style, how do you develop that and push it forward while staying true to its heritage?
We have an amazing archive that we’re really proud of and love to delve into for inspiration. There’s always something exciting in there to spark a new idea. It’s a fun challenge to work on such iconic product but make it fresh and relevant every season. I love trend research and coming up with new ideas to excite our customers and add my part to the incredible Kickers story.

If you were a parent, why would you choose Kickers for your children?
Why wouldn’t you choose Kickers?! They look great, are always comfortable and fit well, offer real value for your money and our back to school collections are packed full of innovative technologies. We’ve added Microfresh to all styles to keep feet fresh and you can also find Cushion Foam for all day comfort and scuff resistant leathers in a variety of our styles. The on-trend designs will keep your child happy and hopefully inspire them with plenty of schoolyard confidence.

Which pair of Kickers would you recommend to parents looking for new shoes for their children?
For infant boys I think Reasan Strap is an easy on single strap style with great sporty styling that is still smart enough for school, definitely one for active little boys who don’t want to waste time with fussy laces. For Infant girls I love Jiri Bar as it’s designed to be super lightweight and flexible. It’s a really sweet patent leather Mary Jane that’s easy on and off for independent little girls. The cute lilac lining, triple stitching and fleurette-shaped rivet make this style stand out from the crowd. For older kids you can never go wrong with the iconic Kick Hi, Kick Lo and Kick T for girls.

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