BLOG IMAGE Stacey Head

Stacey Head, Managing Director, she wear

Stacey Head, Managing Director she wear has been busy innovating her women’s footwear, work wear and PPE range to make life easier, more comfortable, functional and inclusive for women. It’s unsurprising that she has a devoted customer base, who appreciate that she offers an inclusive clothing size range from 4 to 30, reflecting the significant diversity in women’s body shapes.

Completely eschewing ‘unisex’ options for women, she wear‘s product range is designed for women’s anatomy and extensively prototyped with real customers to incorporate their feedback.

she wear‘s new range includes a supportive everyday functional sneaker that comes with an Adaptive Fit pack to suit a wide range of foot shapes, and a new safety work boot with a midsole penetration plate (PR) designed for women in mining and construction.

The entire she wear safety range is also fully certified to Australian standards and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards, and tested to European (EN) standards.

Why are good shoes absolutely critical for busy women?

The vast majority of our customers are busy women who spend long days on their feet, so healthy and supportive shoes are critical to their overall body health. Most women aged 30+ have some kind of back, knee or foot issue with way too many years spent in the wrong shoes or uncomfortable high heels!

We only use quality, durable materials in our footwear, and shock absorbing footbeds and soles are vital to all day comfort, and all day support. That soft over-cushioned lightweight shoe, while feeling comfy underfoot, is actually really unhealthy for all day wear, as many athletic or fashion shoes are not fit-for-purpose as an all day shoe.  And in terms of safety work boots, so many women are wearing men’s or “unisex” boots which aren’t designed to fit the shapes and contours of a woman’s foot correctly.  Our feet are anatomically different to men’s, so our designs are specifically suited for women.

“Good” shoes are very considered in their design; quality materials, wider toe boxes for a more natural toe splay, shock absorbing soles, contoured and supportive footbeds and specifications built around different foot types, roles and industries (eg. a nurse or teacher needs a very different shoe to an engineer or a truck driver).

What did you learn from 18 months of prototyping your new she wear range?

We re-engineered the comfort and support from our safety boot introducing our first work sneaker range about 2 years ago, and had great feedback from women in various industries such as aged care and child care. We wanted to design a new shoe that was tailored to a more fashionable, streamlined everyday look without impacting on support, comfort or durability (not as easy as it sounds!).

So we prototyped several styles over an 18 month period and tweaked the fit, the materials and the style from feedback, and the She Supports kick was born from that! We love to prototype and sample our designs on “real” women – feedback is vital to our product development.

Tell us about your Adaptive Fit pack that comes with your new style She Supports?

We all have such different foot types, so we’ve introduced the Adapt Pack with the She Supports range.  The Pack comes with several key components to allow an adaptive fit – a 2nd (thinner) footbed which is designed to suit a wider foot, a gel pack for comfort from the get-go, and a 2nd set of laces (elastic no-tie style) to turn the traditional lace up kick into a slip on.

The Pack allows a wide range of foot types to suit the one style, and because all our footwear is designed with internal hidden depth, it allows an adaptive fit (which can be also perfect for growing teenage girls, women with bunions, orthotic wearers etc).

Tell us about your new penetration plate boot designed for women in mining and construction?

A penetration resistant (PR) boot, which provides maximum resistance against perforation of the sole by nails and other sharp objects, is becoming more commonplace on the larger Australian mining and construction sites. We were seeing an increase in feedback from women that they were being offered men’s boots due to the spec requirements and they were having issues with weight, comfort and fit. So we redesigned our top selling boot, and replaced the midsole with a metal fee penetration plate which allows a lighter, more flexible feel underfoot and is actually safer than the traditional steel penetration plate.

The metal free plate covers 100% of the boot, whereas a steel plate only covers around 80%. This means the boot also retains the status of airport friendly (we use a metal free safety toe cap), which is great for FIFOs, airport and security workers.

Your new range is certified to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards, and tested to European (EN) standards. Why is this important?

Safety is paramount to us, and we are passionate about keeping our customers safe all around the world! Our entire safety range is now certified to ASTM requirements, and our new penetration resistant (PR) boot also has an Electrical Hazard (EH) rating which is covered under the American standard. A great option for electricians.

You’ve expanded your PPE range and offer the most diverse and inclusive female workwear available, in sizes from 4 to 30. What are you offering now?

We are regularly shocked to hear women’s stories about their employers not offering an inclusive women’s workwear range, or traditional workwear stores who offer a very limited choice for women.  Our ethos has always been about offering women choice, in terms of style, colour, design and size. We offer the most diverse size range in the market, and we actively seek out new styles and brands that are offering something different to the norm.

When we launched she wear we had about 20 SKUs (i.e. footwear and a range of socks), we now stock over 2000 SKUs (footwear, socks, underwear, workwear, PPE, accessories), and that is a direct reflection on the feedback we receive and the communication we have with our customers.

We are passionate about diversity, equality and inclusivity so we want to offer as many options as possible. We’ve recently introduced a range of scrubs for our amazing nurses and also flame resistant (FR) workwear for women working in specialised industries.

We have some exciting projects in the pipeline, so we are excited to share our new products over the coming year.

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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Founder

Mother, wife, daughter, determined dreamer. Lover of books. Background in Human Resources leadership in global organisations.