PORON Cushioning Blog Blog

PORON Cushioning Blog

A Conversation with HyTest® Safety Footwear – New USA-Made Collection with PORON® XRD™ Met-Guard

Posted by Nicole Perry on Monday, November 19th, 2012 | No Comments »

Ever since the economic downturn, we have seen a big emphasis on ‘buying American’ to support jobs in the USA.  As a result, many American-based brands have been joining the reshoring initiative and doing what they can do bring back domestic manufacturing.

HyTest® Safety Footwear is one of those brands.  HyTest recently launched a USA-made collection of footwear that is being manufactured at its Wolverine headquarters in Big Rapids, Michigan.

We are proud to share that the HyTest chose our PORON® XRD™ Met-Guard in its USA-made collection.  If case you’re not aware, PORON Cushioning Materials are manufactured in the USA by the Rogers Corporation based in Rogers, CT.  It is one the oldest public companies in America with a rich legacy of innovation and collaborative problem-solving with its customers since 1832.

Palmer Woods, HyTest Safety Footwear Operations Director, was kind to share some information on the company’s new USA collection.

Q) What prompted HyTest Safety Footwear to launch its new made in USA line?

We felt that there was a competitive trend toward having a USA representation as a part of our product line.   Union workers as well as others like to have a choice of USA made products.

Q) Can you give us a quick synopsis of the collection?

The USA collection starts with four styles: 6 inch and 8 inch steel toe electrical hazard protection boots, along with 6 inch and 8 inch metatarsal guard electrical hazard protection boots featuring the new PORON XRD Met-Guard.

Q) Is HyTest featuring American-made textiles and components for this line?

The USA boots are 99.9% produced with American-made textiles and components.

Q) How have you seen safety footwear change over the years?

Over the last 40 years safety footwear has changed dramatically in style as our lifestyles have changed.  The more traditional heavier styling and constructions have diminished in favor of lighter weight, more comfortable athletic, hiker, and casual styles for the lighter industrial work applications.  There is also more focus on a broader selection of footwear made specifically for women in the workforce.

Q) What are consumers demanding most in safety footwear?

Lighter weight, comfortable, durable footwear.

Q) What do you believe your customers most identify HyTest Safety Footwear with?

Premium footwear that is long wearing and the most comfortable in the marketplace.   A brand that can service nationwide and has styles in a broad range of  sizes and widths.

Q) What is the biggest misconception about HyTest safety footwear?

One of the biggest misconceptions (because we do not do much advertising) is that HyTest does not embrace a high degree of 21st century styling and technology.

The consumer’s perception of the PORON XRD Guard is that although it provides a comfort and lighter weight feature to the footwear, it may not provide the protection of the traditionally harder Guard.

Q) How do you challenge these misconceptions?

We address these misconceptions with steady limited advertising as well as using the power and depth of our exclusive dedicated distributor network and their sales organizations.

With regards to PORON XRD Met-Guard Technology, we have found that distributing test results and comparing them to the other types of guards is an effective way to promote the positives of the material.   Explaining how the PORON Met-Guard dissipates the impact energy appears to complete the closing of the argument.

Q) Where can consumers purchase HyTest Safety Footwear?

HyTest brand safety shoes can be purchased on the hytest.com website as well as from our 30 exclusive distributors who sell from over 200 mobile shoemobiles and 120 retail locations nationwide.  Each distributor also markets through its own website.

Q) Anything else you’d like to say?

HyTest supports the distributor network by procuring National Accounts nationwide and turning them over to the local distributor in each NA location to be serviced.  This enables us to act as one vendor to an account.

Many thanks and best of luck with your new Made in USA collection!


Nicole Perry

Nicole Perry

Global Market Segment Manager for PORON Comfort materials. Nicole has been involved in the Footwear industry for over 15 years. She also has over 25 years working with high performance materials including custom injection molded and cast polymers for automotive, apparel, electronics, equipment and medical markets. Nicole is passionate about bringing great technologies to market and working with companies that share the goal of helping people enjoy life no matter what they are doing. She holds an MBA from Nichols College.

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