2021 Volume 38 Pages 43-61
This paper examines the historical development of the transparent-insole market, which has experienced growth since the mid-2000s. According to the previous discourse, the market grew as companies recognized potential demand among young women for the functionality and fashion value that transparent insoles could offer. Underlying that explanation, however, are the key questions of how those needs took shape and how entrepreneurs identified opportunities to push products into the arena. This paper thus expands its focus to the context prior to product rollout and the chain of actions and interactions by multiple actors evolving from that context for a fuller examination. A private organization’s calls for functionality over fashion—the latter of which had previously received priority in the shoe market—raised consumer awareness of foot health. Seeing that growing consciousness as a source of potential business opportunities, multiple insole manufacturers then began pursuing various initiatives, thereby sparking the emergence and growth of the fashionable transparent-insole market as an unintended consequence of a private-organization initiative. This paper examines the shoe industry since the 1990s, which has not featured prominently in previous research, to advance scholarship on the history of the shoe industry.