Philip Klein - Head of Footwear Team
Your role at FIDLOCK (FW):
Head of Footwear Team – Development and Design
Why join the FW team?
It was founded with Kerstin for the sales part and myself for the product part of the team. The reason was the growing interest in the footwear industry. With the first larger projects for the footwear field, we discovered the additional potential of the advantages that are typically known about the FIDLOCK concept. So, I was there from the beginning.
My motivation behind joining the team was that I wanted footwear to get the attention it deserves at FIDLOCK and there are so many possibilities.
And because I have always been keen on nice kicks. When I was young, I would have already given my last allowance for a pair of AF1 mid, fresh from the box – even if my parents didn’t understand it at all.
How did it feel to start and work a specified team/task force?
Definitely extremely interesting! You can put more effort into focusing on the actual application the fastener is intended for and get closer to the user and his needs.
However, we also faced challenges. We needed to get a lot more involved in and learn about the footwear industry, the special requirements and unique features. We had to face new questions like how a shoe is actually constructed and produced.
Also, the actual composition of the team, the new responsibilities and the establishment of FIDLOCK in the footwear world were and still are exciting challenges.
What would you say is the biggest difference between FIDLOCK FW and our other fields and fasteners?
As mentioned before, our development is focused on the predefined product the fastener will be used for and we mostly have a very specific application in mind – compared to projects for general applications, this aspect is often more distinct in our special team.
Additionally, I believe that fashion and trends have a much larger influence on the footwear industry than they have other areas which our fasteners are used for. Therefore, footwear has a faster pace than most of the other industries which often primarily concentrate on functionality rather than style.
However, this creates advantages and disadvantages: On the one hand, it can suddenly happen that you simply aren’t “IN” or trendy anymore. On the other hand, you often get the chance for crazy design ideas. Maybe the footwear industry is more open to experiments … at least, considering designs.
What do you especially love about FW?
We all wear shoes – a lot. And there are so many different shoes…and each pair gives you the chance for another style statement. (Often) even apart from the rest of your outfit. For me, shoes and a cap are definitely the most important elements to define a style.
Speaking as a product designer, they are a very interesting topic. The different reasons and activities for wearing footwear already make it an interesting application – and the immediate interaction with the user's anatomy.
What do you focus on most for the development/sales & service of footwear fasteners?
On the special functionality, fasteners require for footwear...obviously.
Most of our FIDLOCK magnetic fasteners are suited for diverse applications and developed with multiple scenarios in mind. The FW fasteners, however, were developed with the focus on shoes and their requirements. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t ideal for other applications as well – but special requirements such as loads and footwear-typical opening motions have a large influence. Additionally, the proximity to the user's body strongly influences the ergonomics of the fasteners. On top of that, special fitting options which are typical for the footwear industry have to be considered.
Finally, the aesthetics of the components also play a large role and should never be neglected.
Which fastener is currently your favorite for footwear and why?
The WINCH…because its special functionality allows so many new construction and design liberties and it it fascinating to explore them.
What would you say is the strongest argument to use FIDLOCK for footwear?
… the possibility to, often drastically, facilitate the users interaction with his shoe – be it opening/closing/adjusting…
…And most of us wear shoes quite often…