The market for athletic shoes has grown into a multi-billion dollar global enterprise in the last several decades. Athletic shoes comprise about 33% of a $48 billion market, growing annually (National Shoe Retailers Association, 2012)
Athletic footwear includes athletic, sport, and active lifestyle footwear for men, women and children. It may be performance oriented, outdoor oriented, or even casual, but is designed to aid individuals in sporting activities.
Athletic footwear is has evolved over the last few decades to also become a fashion statement. Basketball shoes, for example, are worn not just on the court, but as everyday "urban" outfits, thus drastically increasing the size of the market.
Odor in shoes, particularly those worn in sporting events in which there is heavy perspiration, are considered one of the most irksome issues for athletic shoe wear, requiring regular inserts, use of baking soda or other home remedies, and more than a minor irritant for consumers and professionals alike.
Odor in shoes is so problematic that there are dozens of products in the marketplace; ranging from carbon insoles to baking soda sprays.
The average human body has 3-4 million sweat glands. Although sweat is odorless, rapid multiplication of bacteria on skin starts to digest perspiration, thus causing odor. This is multiplied in damp areas that collect bacteria and perspiration, feet and shoes/socks as a prime example (Mayo Clinic, 2012).
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