BASF: Investment in the footwear segment

BASF has announced new investments to strengthen its global footwear presence: opening new Footwear Development Centers in the USA and Thailand, launching a Footwear Innovation Center in Taiwan, and expanding the Footwear Development Center in Italy.

According to the company, bringing together a dedicated team of process engineers, footwear specialists and technicians coupled with the latest technologies and machinery, these centers will serve as a global platform to formulate and test new material innovations, refine processes and evaluate concepts in large-scale production environments.

A Desma injection machine in the Footwear Development Center in Wyandotte, MI, USA (Source: BASF)

Located in Wyandotte, MI, USA, the Footwear Development Center is a 2,000-square-foot lab that is fully equipped with advanced footwear machinery for outsole, midsole and unit sole developments. The center helps designers bring their visions to life and enhances customers’ speed to market by new material testing and prototype production via polyurethane direct injection molding. “Through the Footwear Development Center, BASF is helping customers drive innovation in the footwear industry and making the future happen now,” said Pete Zorney, Business Director Consumer, North America, BASF.

BASF also recently expanded its Footwear Development Center in Italy and has opened a new center in Thailand. Both feature new machinery with direct injection molding technology, as well as showrooms that highlight BASF’s experience in producing innovative products. “The Footwear Development Center located in Italy is considered a pioneer in the industry as it was the first that brought material expertise and innovation under one roof in this fashion and footwear hub,” said Thomas Bartz, Business Manager Consumer, Europe, BASF. “We now can connect designers and brand owners to material innovation and production, be it Europe, the USA or Asia. This has become all possible thanks to our footwear powerhouses across the world.”

A BASF employee pulls a shoe out of the mold on a Gusbi machine at the Footwear Development Center in Wyandotte, MI, USA (Source: BASF)

In 2020, BASF will also launch the Footwear Innovation Center in Taiwan to further strengthen its capabilities and customer co-development approaches in Asia Pacific. Strategically located in Taiwan, the center will give footwear professionals first-hand experience about how BASF materials can help develop future footwear using the latest manufacturing processes in areas such as comfort, performance, quality and design.

BASF recently introduced X-Swift, a multipurpose athleisure shoe featuring its performance technologies, in collaboration with Longterm Concept. The company will also present a new shoe concept that will be unveiled at the coming A+A Fair in Düsseldorf, Germany.

“With over 40 years of rich experience in the footwear materials segment, we are proud of our innovations, such as Infinergy, high rebound PU midsole or new thermoplastic polyurethane grades, which have transformed the footwear landscape. Our recent investments into this segment are a symbol of our commitment to the industry, and we look forward to developing more exciting innovations in the future,” added Andy Postlethwaite, Senior Vice President, Performance Materials Asia Pacific, BASF.