News for the plastics and rubber industry. Macplas
Materials Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Trend colours in the ski boots market

Thanks to an in-depth research and color-finding project recently completed in partnership with Clariant ColorWorks, Francesco Franceschetti Elastomeri (FFE), a supplier of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) compounds now has an invaluable competitive edge in one of its primary markets - ski boots.


Beginning in June 2019, Clariant and FFE pooled their resources to conduct an exhaustive study of the Italian ski boot marketplace and the colours that boot makers use in their products. The outcome of this unique project would be a comprehensive report and guide, including five colours proposed for the 2021-2022 ski season, and it all started with fact-finding visits to a total of 13 boot dealers, ski shops and sports chain stores. This way, Clariant and FFE both developed a thorough understanding of the needs of the different types of skiers.


Next, the team visited the websites of 11 ski boot manufacturers, collecting a total of 499 images of individual boots presented in online catalogs. They focused on colours used in four key areas of each boot: the shell, the cuff, the buckles and accent areas and created a 3D colour map of nearly 2000 colour data points. This analysis gave the Clariant colour experts a solid baseline and understanding of the colours present in the market.


Each mood board featured lifestyle photos and colours to capture the spirit of the three target personalities. Five colours were presented, each named for a well-known ski resort. The same two base neutrals - a warm white and a dark silver grey with a greenish metallic effect - filled the colour space currently occupied by black and white. These were matched with a vibrant pure red, a tactile soft green and a tech-inspired metallic petrol blue to appeal to the three target skier profiles.


Today, the team of Clariant and FFE representatives are on the road, introducing boot manufacturers to the research data and the five colours, which are moulded into proprietary Spiralis prototypes using the actual Irfran plastic materials that Franceschetti sells for high-end ski-boot applications. Initial presentations have gone extremely well, with even designers and boot stylist, who already know quite a lot about colour, expressing surprise when seeing how colour could be explained not only technically, but also as a philosophy and as a story about the people who buy their products.


FFE and Clariant hope to make their ski boot colour forecast an annual thing in the future, demonstrating that the two partner companies not only supply materials but also understand the ski boot business and the needs of the manufacturers and the personalities of their target customers.