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News

Calza Garver turns to Durastar for fashion footwear

Eastman Chemical Company : 09 July, 2002  (Application Story)
When Mexico
When Mexico’s Calza Garver looked to enter the fashion footwear market with a clear shoe product, they knew they needed to avoid the breakage issues experienced with the soles of earlier entries.

“We needed a clear, readily available product that would run on our existing equipment and would meet all of our performance requirements for a tough yet flexible product,” said Mr. Juan José Ramírez Espinosa, Calza Garver’s general manager. “Eastman Chemical Company’s DuraStar polymer DS1010 met our needs and more.”

Most of the earlier problems with clear footwear had been sole failure and were related to the adhesive bonding the sole to the upper, which resulted in a recall of several thousand pairs of shoes. A significant plus for DS1010 was the fact that a number of compatible adhesives were proven and readily available.

While durability and appearance are important, Calza Garver’s research showed consumer reaction begins with comfort. Along with good impact resistance and high elongation at break, DuraStar polymer’s lower flexible modulus results in a better match than competitive resins for shoe soles, providing a more comfortable, softer feel. Initial consumer scepticism soon gave way to a significant new demand for ViaNova shoes. Moving into the high season for summer fashion footwear, Calza Garver projects initial requirements of 20,000 to 30,000 pairs.

“Based on compatibility with established adhesives, ease of injection moulding and moulded product performance, we expected DuraStar polymer to be a good fit for this unique niche market,” said Ms. Lisa Shumate, Eastman’s speciality plastics market manager for consumer products. “What surprised even us, though, was the degree to which DS1010 complemented Calza Garver’s manufacturing process.”

An added benefit was realized once Calza Garver began moulding soles from DS1010. During the manufacturing process, polycarbonate shoes required three hours at 150C to release stresses in the sole. Calza Garver was able to completely eliminate that relaxation step, resulting in a production rate increase equal to one full line.

“We’re extraordinarily pleased with the results we’ve obtained with our ViaNova line,” noted Mr. Ramírez Espinosa. “Because of that success, we’re now in the process of acquiring new moulds for a novel sole design for the next generation of clear fashion footwear.”

Targeting the Mexican, Brazilian and Venezuelan markets, Calza Garver is currently the only manufacturer of clear plastic fashion footwear in Mexico.
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