We are strong advocates for your local independently owned and operated footwear dealer. The footwear industry is at a crossroads right now where footwear brands have put exceptional strain on those shops in our communities. You can buy anything from anywhere, and footwear is no exception. Companies (including footwear brands) are looking for growth for growth sake without adding value to the customer experience. The demands to have a brand “everywhere” is taking away from the value of being properly serviced as a customer and community. Brands are continually being launched and developed inside independent shops only to then become a commodity sold everywhere.
Independent footwear dealers are the source of innovation, service, and giving to their communities, but also need to benefit from their efforts. They are so much more than just a fitting showroom for national chains and online dealers. They are the place where you ensure your shoes fit. They are where you kids get shoes they don’t trip in. They are where you connect with other professionals as your life needs change. They are the ones who collect and drop off shoes to the local shelter.
Every person and every community has a unique need and we need independent footwear dealers to address those needs. You might not need our products, but you need your local independent footwear shop. We believe your feet are that important to your well being.
The Kneed Footwear® definition of an independent footwear dealer is an established brick and mortar retail location that primarily serves the local community through footwear and related gear. The retailer is not a corporate chain (but may be a franchise). They must be independently owned, where decisions are made at the local level, and not dictated remotely. The primary purpose should be to serve the community in which they live.
The less official litmus test is to walk into your local footwear dealer and ask “may I speak to the owner to express my appreciation?”. Although you may have to wait for them to get back into the store, the owner should be able to hear it personally.