A dad of three is taking on the leading brands in children’s footwear after setting up a new boys’ school shoe range to solve his son’s constant battle with breaking school shoes.
Simon Locke, 48, a marketing director with UK-wide shoe and multi-retailer, BVG Group, based in Brecon, was so fed up of having to continually replace his son’s school shoes that he decided to tackle the problem head on by creating his very own indestructible shoe brand, using his experience in the industry.
Frustrated at wasting hundreds of pounds every year on shoes that were simply not lasting, Simon jumped in feet-first and founded ‘Treads,’ with the aim of shaking up the school shoe market and providing parents and children with a better product.
After his wife tragically died 10 years ago, Simon suddenly became a lone parent to three young children – a son and two daughters aged 7, 4 and 1 – and found himself taking on responsibilities he had not previously given much thought to, including buying school shoes for his children.
Like many parents, Simon opted for shoes from well-known trusted high street brands, believing that these would be more durable and hard-wearing but, despite their higher price tag, he found that his son’s shoes would regularly return home in various states of disrepair.
Simon said: “When it came to choosing school shoes, I instinctively chose the leading high street brands that have established themselves as the go-to names in the sector, believing that these would be high quality and long lasting.
“But, despite forking out more than £50 at a time, I found myself having to replace these shoes on a regular basis, sometimes in just a matter of weeks, due to issues with broken straps, worn soles, scuffed leather and stitching coming apart. The cost did not reflect durability and re-purchasing shoes became an all too familiar, increasingly frustrating and expensive cycle.”
With over 15 years of experience in the shoe industry , Simon set about solving the problem himself by developing his own indestructible, quality school shoe, drawing inspiration from the hard-wearing safety footwear found in the construction industry.
Simon explained: “I noticed that there was a real gap in the market for high quality, durable shoes that are built to last and take on the everyday activities of school kids. Children don’t just sit at their desks during school time – they play football, climb trees, scuff their feet on pavements and kick the shoes off as soon as they get home, all of which takes its toll. The problem is that the current offerings aren’t cut out for this level of wear and my experience with my son illustrated this.
“You only need to look at other sectors to see that this kind of durability is possible. This motivated me to create the ultimate school shoe, one that would stand up to the challenges of any school yard.”
Over two years of extensive research and development later, with the shoes having been rigorously tested by two school year groups, Treads launched to market, boasting a range of eight styles and sizes to suit boys aged between 6 and 16. Treads, which is part of award-winning UK retailer BVG Group, first established in 1991, has proven such a hit that a girls’ range is now also in development to meet the high demand from parents for durable school shoes.