Get On The Good Foot
When it comes to apparel, promo has you covered from head to toe. Custom woven dress socks remain the most popular footwear with customers, but the range of brandable shoes – including name brands and high-quality dupes – is expanding.
“Socks are a super inexpensive way to brand,” says Amelia Madl, PromoCorner VP of supplier sales. “The shoes are obviously a little bit more expensive. They’re custom made. You have to be more specific when you’re ordering, because everybody has a shoe size.”
Cola Henderson, co-founder and operations director of MYLO Brand Studio in Omaha, Nebraska, said one of their first self-promos was handing out socks at networking events. “Socks are a lot of fun, and I think people always enjoy them and have some fun,” she says. “It’s pretty cost-effective and affordable, yet you’re still getting a really great product.”
Henderson loves that socks provide a useful apparel item without having to worry about sizing. She says a fun, eye-catching design is key to keeping your branded socks on recipients’ feet (and minds), and she appreciates that suppliers are great at coming up with clever ideas.
“The supplier partners that we have are just so good when it comes to design,” Henderson says. “You can send them not much of anything in a logo, and they take it and come up with some really cool concepts. They’re fantastic. To have design partners like that definitely makes our job easier.”
Although shoes take a little more effort than socks and even apparel due to the sizing challenge, it can be well worth it, Henderson adds. “People are going to love it, but it is going to be a little more work to make sure that it’s successful in the end,” she says.
Promo suppliers have expanded their kicks capabilities well beyond simple printed canvas sneakers in recent years, so there’s something for everyone.
“We’re seeing people want something a little bit more unique and different,” says Samantha Fullerton, a Canadian senior account executive with California-based distributor BAMKO, No. 4 in the PPAI 100, adding that Ugg-style slippers and Crocs-style clogs (beloved by Gen Z) have been especially popular. “I think that’s probably been the biggest push for shoes and footwear that I’ve seen in our industry in a really long time.”
She also suggests trying custom shoe accessories like shoelaces and charms (aka Jibbitz), as well as branded shoe boxes and tissue paper.
For a professional yet fun look, Madl says outfitting your team with matching custom sneakers is a great finishing touch for trade shows and other events.
“I just think they look really slick,” she says. “Anytime we have regional shows, all the board members have matching shoes, but with their logo.”
Here are just a few of the shoe and sock options promo has to offer:
Ordering can be as easy as 1-2-3 with Simpler Socks. Choose a templated design and one of nine colorways, then add your client’s logo for a custom look and feel without the complexity of designing from scratch. Add custom presentation elements like hang tags, belly bands/wraps or boxes for added impact.
Pop! Promos / PPAI 564497, S1
Add custom Clog Charms to The Clog, 100% custom printed shoes made of cushy molded plastic, for an interactive way to promote your client’s brand. For a customizable classic sneaker, check out The Smith. “I wore them every day of the trade show, and I did not have sore feet, which was amazing,” says Madl. “They are very soft and cushy.” One pair minimum order for both styles. Custom boxes available for an additional fee.
SOCK101 / PPAI 625402, S6
Custom sports socks are perfect for casual office gifts or team uniforms. These Cotton Athletic Crew Socks are made in the USA from USA-grown cotton grown. With added cushion at the heel and toe and compression in the footbed and ankle, this style is built for comfort and long-lasting wear.
Sock Club / PPAI 692671, S1
Beach resorts and leisure-minded brands can make an impression with Classic Flip Flops – especially with the optional logo sole footprint that literally leaves your imprint in the sand. Other upgrades include a branded nylon mesh bag and fabric straps with silkscreen or embroidery. For another comfort-minded shoe, consider Kozi Sherpa Slippers with a one-color imprint on top (or upgrade to a woven patch for full color).
Neet Feet (The Kanata Group) / PPAI 111063, S7
Choose from a variety of custom knit sock styles, such as athletic or daily-wear knee, crew, quarter and no-show. Daily Crew Socks, made of a cotton/poly blend with a touch of spandex for stretch, are the most popular and offer a custom woven design with up to six colors horizontally and 10 vertically (PMS matching available) and optional embellishments like fuzzy patches for animal designs.
Let’s Support / PPAI 717765, S1
For ski resorts or winter hiking destinations, opt for some ultra-cozy Merino Wool Socks, made in the USA and available in weaves designed specifically for ski or hiking boots. The hiking socks are soft, breathable and moisture-wicking, while the ski socks are padded in the right areas and super-comfy all over.
Custom Sock Lab / PPAI 824539, S0